“No one will be declared righteous in [God’s] sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 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.” (Romans 3:20–23, NIV 1984).
My Musings – No one ever has, or ever will be found righteous according to God’s standard of righteousness by observing the law. This would be a righteousness from ourselves and not from God. The law merely sets the standard and makes us aware how impossible it is to measure up, to hit the mark.
But we all miss the mark (“fall short“) of that standard through our own efforts. For even the most ” inconsequential” sin has the gravest of consequences. For if we are guilty in even one point, ever so “minor” we are just as guilty as if we were guilty of all. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10, NIV 1984).
But now, “through faith in Christ,” there is a righteousness that God freely provides that is “apart from the law.” It is available to “all who believe,” the “small” law-breaker and the “big” law-breaker. “There is no difference.” For “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'” (Romans 10:9–13, NIV 1984).
But “if Christ has not been raised, [our] faith is futile; [we] are still in [our] sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17, NIV 1984). If we are still in our sins, we are still law-breakers and can never be “declared righteous in God’s sight.” “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:20, NIV 1984). This is the “righteousness from God, apart from law.“
My Advice – “The wages of sin,” what we have “earned” by being law-breakers is “death.” But the “gift of God [the righteousness from God] is eternal life [through faith in] Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NIV 1984). It’s a gift, that pays for the wages we earned. Accept the gift.
Inspired by First Baptist Church- Sycamore’s April 12, 2020 Easter sermon.