Thursday, December 12, 2013

Justified and Redeemed Through Christ.

Paul spend the first part of his letter to the Romans dealing with the futility of trying to obtain right standing before God via one's own efforts.  Whether the Jews by following the Law, or Gentiles who follow their conscious, all of us fall short of God's expectations and are worthless.  But fortunately God does not leave us in that condition, acting on our behalf to take care of the righteousness problem.
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:21-24 NIV
Paul tells us that God's righteousness has now been made known and given to us.  No longer do I need to depend on my own efforts to be righteous, or to have right standing with God.  Instead, I am able to experience his righteousness, a righteousness that is available to everyone who has faith in Jesus; all who believe.

It does not matter what my background is, the color of my skin, the level of my education, my social standing, or religious upbringing.  All of us are equally in need of a right standing before God, one that we are unable to attain for ourselves.  All of us have sinned; an archery term meaning to miss the mark; and we have missed the bulls eye of God's glory.

In the passage above Paul uses two terms to help describe what God has done for us.  The first is justified, a legal term that is the equivalent to a judge's verdict of not guilty.  In Paul's day, bribing a judge to get a favorable verdict would not have been uncommon.  But in this case the verdict is freely given at no cost to ourselves.  It is an act of God's grace, or his favor directed towards us.  God declares me to be righteous, because he wants to, not because I have paid him off.

The second term here is redemption; a term that was used for buying freedom for a slave.  God has bought us, who were slaves to sin, and set us free from that bondage, and into the liberty of sons of God.  And the redemption price was in what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Even after all this, I have the option to continue to try on my own, or reject God altogether.  But why would I?  He has done it all for me, and all that is required on my part is faith in what Jesus has done for me.

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