Monday, February 5, 2018

Just Like Everyone Else

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 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. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26 NIV)

Judging has long been a problem in the church.  Outsiders, those who do not humble themselves before the Lord and acknowledge His authority over their lives, have often been ridiculed and disdained within the walls of church buildings and in the living rooms of believers as they study God’s Word.  The adulterer, the sexually perverted or promiscuous, the liar, the cheat, the drunkard have all been looked down upon from the lofty perch of arrogance and self-righteousness.

All who judge in a way that is condemning (see Luke 18:9-14) forget or fail to recognize their own sinful condition.  Paul says ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Thus, the playing field is level.  There are just as many sinners inside the church as outside.  The only difference is those inside have accepted the grace of God which is given freely to all who have faith in Jesus.  

So the belief that somehow we who are inside the church are better than those on the outside is faulty because our relationship with Jesus is based not on what we do or don’t do, but on the grace of God.  Until we recognize that, we will be prone to the trap of judging.

The reality is we are all sinners in need of God’s grace.  The only true difference between followers of Jesus and everyone else is we have embraced His grace and walk in faith.  They are still left to account for their own sin; we are justified by the righteousness of Jesus.  
Today, recognize you are just like everyone else in the world—a sinner in need of God’s grace.  And understand accepting His grace doesn’t make you better, just forgiven.

© Jim Musser 2018

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