As we continue through the book of Romans, we’ve seen the frustration of trying to be righteous by following a set of religious rules. It should be clear that our own self-righteousness is not enough to please God.
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
This verse makes it clear that it cannot be by my works. It’s apart, separate from the law. This means that I have to access the power of God in order to live righteously. Anything else is trying to put the cart before the horse. If my goal is to live righteously in order to walk in the power of God, then I’ve chosen a path of weakness and frustration.
And yet, so many people are trying to walk this very way. The Bible is clear on the outcome. So let me ask, what if I try to obtain righteousness through obedience to the law? What if I try my hardest to live up to what I’m told is right?
I can read my Bible daily, go to church on time every week, pray every day, and tithe. On top of that, I can make sure that I don’t lie, cheat, steal, walk in anger, gossip, or envy. What’s wrong with trying to live up to a godly standard with my own strength?
The problem is that self-righteousness will never gain access to the blessings found only in Christ. For that, I’ll need a righteousness that’s far greater than I could ever accomplish on my own. It could only be provided by God Himself.
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
The righteousness that pleases the Lord can only be obtained by faith. I know that this goes against what many people assume. They think that pleasing God is a hard, back-breaking burden. On the contrary, it’s something that God wants to bestow upon you freely.
The second sentence of this passage is very important. I know that we only like to quote the middle of it. In its entirety, it shows us a beautiful picture of God’s grace.
Paul is referring to what he talked about in the two previous chapters of Romans. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an ungodly sinner or a highly religious person. Through faith in Jesus Christ you can access this grace and receive His free work of justification.
This passage of Scripture makes it very plain. All of the sin in your past doesn’t make you too far away from this grace. In the same way, all of your religious works doesn’t put you any closer. We all start at the same level. We fall short of God’s glory.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
If I want a righteousness that grants me access to God’s presence, it’s only found one way. I can’t earn it or work hard enough to achieve it. I must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, be found in Him.
This is the only path to true righteousness. It was God’s desire, in His great wisdom, to make it as easy as possible for mankind to be saved.
Question: Why do we find it so hard to accept God’s free gift of righteousness?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi