Monday, December 9, 2013

None Righteous

Is anyone "good enough" to be considered righteous before God?  There are many who at least seem to agree that it is possible.  That if they successfully follow a strict moral code, the Law of Moses as an example, that they will have right standing before their god and will experience some version of paradise when this life is complete.  But Paul's argument in the early part of his letter to the Roman church is definitely at odds with that viewpoint.
As it is written:
   “There is no one righteous, not even one;
       there is no one who understands;
       there is no one who seeks God.
   All have turned away,
       they have together become worthless;
   there is no one who does good,
       not even one.”

Romans 3:10-12 NIV
After arguing for the better part of 3 chapters that we are all guilty of sin, he concludes with a series of quotes from the Old Testament, including the one above, that are clear in their assessment of our standing with God, even the best of us.

It would be easy to take offense at this passage, especially if you are one who tries hard to be good.  To be told that you are worthless and are not doing good is like a slap in the face.  I may not be perfect, but that is a far cry from being worthless.

But the problem with this is that I am judging my goodness by human standards of goodness.  Yes, I may be better than most people, at least according to some specific moral code.  But what if the requirement is 100% adherence to the moral standard you find yourself under, whether the Old Testament law, or your own conscious?  We all fall short of that standard, making us all losers.  None of us are righteous, at least in our position before God, the judge.

I am incapable of making myself acceptable to God.  No matter how hard I might try, I invariable fall short.  And that is true of every other person who has ever lived, apart from one.  But, as Paul lays out in the next few chapters of Romans, God has not left us to continue that futile effort.  Instead he provides us with a better way.


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