We’re continuing our look at Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He’s speaking about those who think that following religious rules makes them better than others.
In my last post we saw that there’s an advantage to being religious. At least you have access to the Scripture. So, you have a foundation to eventually build your faith on.
Paul now talks about some arguments people have who think that their good works will save them.
But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” Why not say — as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say — “Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is deserved.
This is the problem with looking merely at good works. We can’t judge by outward appearances. It leads us to some wrong conclusions.
“I’m only human, so I’m not perfect. That should bring out God’s perfection even clearer. So, I shouldn’t be corrected when I do wrong.” That’s a human argument that flies against the teaching of Scripture.
I’ve heard it said in many different forms, but it all comes down to the same theme.
“What do you expect, I’m not Jesus.”
“Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”
“It doesn’t matter as long as you try your best. God can’t judge you for that.”
“If I were God…”
All of these are based upon human logic and the desire to justify ourselves. In reality, they fail to take into account the power of the Holy Spirit who wants to work in us.
The fact is that God is going to judge everyone based upon His righteousness. It has nothing to do with what we, as human beings, think about as fair.
If we’re in Christ, then we receive the “not guilty” verdict because of His righteousness, not ours. Without Christ, no matter how many good works we’ve accumulated, we’re condemned.
But that’s not the end of the story. Even as believers we’ll be judged on our obedience. That’s how our rewards, or lack thereof, will be determined.
That brings us to the second half of the above passage. It’s the old saying that the ends justify the means.
It doesn’t matter how I accomplish it, as long as I get the right results. Paul is clear. That kind of thinking is condemned by the Lord.
I’ve seen this tactic used in many different ways throughout my years as a believer. I’ve seen churches that have used prostitutes to attract the unsaved to hear the Gospel. Others promised a big bank account if you come to Christ.
Paul goes through all of this because he’s trying to make a point. There is an advantage to being religious – you have a basic understanding of who God is. The problem is, what you do with this knowledge.
The important thing is to follow through on everything that the Bible teaches us. We need the whole revelation of the Lord.
Then we’ll rest upon the salvation that’s only found in the name of Jesus Christ. After that, we’ll submit to the working of the Holy Spirit in us to perfect true righteousness and holiness in us.
Question: How has the Lord changed you since you accepted Him as your Lord?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi