October 25

Romans 3:22b-28

“For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” vss. 22b-24

Through the centuries, as believers have read Paul’s letter to the Romans, they’ve taken verse 23 of chapter 3 to heart, and have used it as the great leveler. Yes, indeed, all of us are sinners, from derelicts to saints, and there’s no use denying it. Many of us grew up making that confession within five minutes of sitting down for worship, “I am by nature sinful and unclean, I have sinned against you by thought, word, and deed.” It’s become our identifying mark, useful as an excuse in most every circumstance, and we’ve used it often. And of course it’s true–but we forget that it’s only the first half of Paul’s sentence! Yes, all have sinned, but all are now justified by his grace as a gift! Our sin is in the past! Our present and future are full of grace! So why do we keep claiming sin as our identity? Why not confess on Sunday morning, “I am cleansed and restored. I am good and merciful, created in the very image of God.” Are we afraid of raising people’s expectations of us? Granted, there are advantages to using sin as a cover, but it’s such a dismal way to live. It’s like hiding in darkness instead of rejoicing in the light–and it diminishes what Christ has done for us.

Thought for the Day: What happens when I tell others how wonderful I am?

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