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Mid-Week with Christ
October 30, 2019

Guilt-Free by Trust in Jesus

Romans 3:5-6, 19-28

5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? ... 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
 

Prayer for the Day

 
Lord, keep us steadfast in your word. Curb those who by deceit or sword would wrest the Kingdom from your Son, and bring to nought all he has done. Amen.

One of the most liberating feelings in the world is to be told that we are in the right, and that we are without any doubt the innocent party. The accusations leveled against us have turned out to be fraudulent and a hoax. The traffic ticket is thrown out by the judge. The boss admits that you were right, and she was wrong. Your spouse admits he had it all backward and that you had the right read on the situation. You no longer have any reason to feel guilty or conflicted: you feel fantastic, because you are free.
 
We all want that feeling so badly that, even when we suspect we might be guilty, we try and justify what we have done. We were only speeding because we had an important appointment that couldn’t be missed. We only lied to our friend because we didn’t want to hurt their feelings. We only plagiarized that paper for school because we had to spend time with a sick parent. But all excuses leave us, inside, with the knowledge that we really are guilty. Our excuses may fool others, but they can’t fool our own consciences.
 
The apostle Paul knew that he had kept the law given to Moses. He had kept kosher; he had participated in all the festivals; he had been zealous for God. But he still couldn’t find peace with the Lord. How could outward behavior liberate his heart and conscience? Who would set him truly free? How could he truly know he was right with God?
 
Paul found his answer in Jesus Christ. In his own Son’s life and death, God reconciled all people to himself. Trusting in this promise put Paul’s conscience at peace and set his heart free. Nothing we can do, no obedience to law or earthly excuse can set us right with God. Peace is found in knowing that God has made us right with him in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in our place.
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