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Romans 3:23-24, Justified by Grace

Good or Bad?

Are you a good person? 

This would be a good time to take a moment to really think about this.

If yes, how do you know? 

If no, why do you think so?

Real talk -- this is a trick question. I don't believe there are any such things as good people and bad people. I think we are all just people. Sometimes we make good decisions. Sometimes we make bad ones. Sometimes we behave impeccably. Sometimes we behave reprehensibly. The depth of my bad choices is no worse than any other's, and the height of my good choices is no better than any other's.

This perspective has made me a much more patient person. (Believe me, this was a challenge! Years ago, a few months into my pastoral internship, just when I was starting to feel proud of myself for being impossibly patient with the stupid, slow people, my supervisor suggested that I'm a pretty impatient person and would do better to work on it.)   :(   Now, though, it's hard to judge others (mostly) for their flaws because I am acutely aware of my own. I can now offer patience and kindness to people because I would want the same in return, and I would deserve far less than I desire to attain.

This reading from Romans says just that. We fail. A lot. We are so flawed to our core, there is no way to earn a spot in heaven -- it's simply impossible. Thankfully, we don't have to. Our eternal home is already waiting for us. Not because we are good enough to go, but precisely because we are not good enough to earn it. It's a gift. One we don't deserve. One we can't attain for ourselves. It is a gift, forged in blood, that we will never be worthy of receiving. And that's exactly what makes it so precious.

Romans 3:23-24

For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. 

Earlier Event: September 4
Revelation 17, Woman and Beast
Later Event: September 5
Revelation 18, Fall of Babylon