July 30 I Saturday
“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…the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” —Romans 3:10-12, 17-18
Scripture is brutally honest about the sinful condition of humanity. The opening verse of this devotion tells us that nobody is righteous, and no one fully reflects the image and glory of God. Paul elaborates in Romans 3:12-16 that humanity has become absolutely worthless, deceitful, poisonous, cursing, bitter, barbaric and brutal. Only through God’s Law do we become aware of the reality of sin’s presence in our lives, and our inability to fulfill all the righteous requirements of the Law. Paul writes, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:19-20).
How then can we ever attain a righteous life? By our own ability, we can never achieve it, but here is the good news: God does not leave us in our sinful state. Knowing the condemnation of man and the destiny of man, God sends a solution to our problem. Romans 3:21 reveals the answer: “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.” A righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law has been made known to us, as we recall what Jesus says in Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” Jesus Christ Himself is the righteousness of God, given to all who believe in Him.
Romans 3:22-24 continues, “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.” Jesus lived the perfect life that we could not live and He died the death that we all deserve. Taking the condemnation that we all deserve, He bore it on the cross and exchanged our sin with His righteousness.
Paul writes, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). May we marvel at how God loved the world so much that He gave His One and only Son—He gave us His righteousness.
Prayer: Dear Almighty God, thank You for Your indescribable love, that You would give Your One and only Son to die for sinful humanity. My righteousness does not come from my own ability, but by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.