Have you ever watched as a fireman held a firehose pumping water at full blast? Now imagine trying to drink from it. That’s how it felt today as I read through Romans 3-8. Trying to choose what to share with you is like condensing Niagara Falls down to a teaspoon! In these chapters, God’s word pours over our soul. If the soil of your heart is hard, it will bounce right off, but if your heart is ready and willing to hear, it goes down deep to your roots and refreshes you in the grace that is able to save you.
We hear a lot today about justice. Social justice. Racial justice. Economic justice. People want their “fair share” of what they believe they deserve, and they want it distributed by the rules of “fair play.” Everyone wants justice. The problem is, justice will never be achieved for everyone because our society does not accept the rule of absolutes. We have done away with the bottom line, redefining justice as what makes sense for “me.”
The gospel is the only true system of justice because only God is truly just. Looking in from the outside of Christianity, you might think that Christianity is unjust, in that only people who measure up to God’s rules get into heaven. We could say that about every other religion, but not the gospel. The gospel levels the playing field. Nobody gets into heaven by their own standard of measure. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23). God’s standard is completely fair because all are equally unrighteous.
Paul says in 3:21-26, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. In other words, whether you are a law-keeper (a good person who tries to follow the rules) or a complete heathen (make your own rules and anything goes if it makes you happy), you are on level ground. All fall short of God’s glory, which is to say, no one measures up to God’s standard required for entry into the eternal kingdom.
This is why the gospel is good news for everyone. ALL are invited to receive the GIFT that God sent to us wrapped in a tiny baby in a manger. Jesus, His own perfect Son, lived a sinless life and paid the price of sin (the wages of sin is death) for all mankind on the cross. He did this so that we could receive His righteousness in exchange for simply believing and receiving. “All are justified freely by His grace” (3:24).
“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (5:8)
“Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” (4:8)
“God will credit righteousness for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (4:24)
God settled His own justness at the cross because Jesus truly paid for our sins, making mercy and grace available for those who don’t deserve it (i.e. all of us). Do you want justice? Justice is the “morally right and fair state of everything.” That means you get what you deserve. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take mercy and grace every time.