January 30, 2018
Salvation cannot be attained by keeping the law. Besides, it's impossible. Yet, all will be judged one day. True righteousness comes through "right standing" before God through trust in Jesus Christ's redeeming work on the cross.
12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
Law keeper. Law breaker. Which is better?
Surely keeping the law is better, right? The last ticket I received for being in an intersection a little too long seemed to prove that.
Yet in our relationship with God, the answer is NEITHER. In these verses, Paul was telling those in Rome that both law breakers and law keepers were in big trouble. In fact, they weren't just in trouble, they were perishing. Dying. Facing judgment.
At first glance, we could read words like "require" and "righteous" and think that following the rules (keeping the law) might earn us God's favor. Have you attempted to meet those perceived requirements only to reach the point of wondering, "How good is good enough?"
If so, you are in good company. Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in 1517, surely worked hard to produce good works. However, when he read the Book of Romans, Luther came to the startling realization that he could never be good enough. Are you like Luther, attempting to win God's acceptance based on your actions?
Or perhaps you are on the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you haven't tried to be the best of the best. Maybe you believe you are the worst of the worst. Just as we asked, "How good is good enough," now we ask, "How bad is too bad?" Do you think you are beyond God's reach because you've broken too many of God's commandments? You're not. The hardworking perfection seeker isn't accepted by God based on stellar performance. Neither is the most notorious sinner too far beyond the reach of God's grace. Your sin is not greater than God's grace. Your performance, whether sparkling or tarnished, does not determine your destiny.
All will be judged no matter what they've done—good or bad. God's standard is truth. The only favoritism God shows is to those who place their trust on Christ's performance on the cross.
This month's memory verse
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. What do your actions reveal about your heart attitude toward God?
2. What have you done that you think might just be too much for God's grace to cover? Will you ask Him to pour out His grace on that today?
3. How are you digging deeper into God's truth? See www.watermark.org for many great options.