“None is righteous, no not one.”
I read these words today and it was a humbling reminder to me. It’s easy to get on our high horse when “somebody else” fails. To judge them, to discredit them, to criticize them with flair. But wait, what did that verse say? That no one is righteous, no not one?
But, I’m not a really sinful person. I mean, I didn’t abuse anyone, I didn’t cheat the government, I didn’t attack the capital…ahem.
Or am I? Did I flub the numbers on my taxes just a smidge? (Liar) Did I wolf down that extra slice of cheese cake when I was already full? (Glutton) Did I look twice at that girl’s/or boy’s behind at the mall and think a few bad thoughts? (Fornicator) Did I disparage in my minds that person at church that really just gets on my nerves, God love ’em? (Spiteful)
There is none righteous. No. Not. One.
The whole chapter of Romans is pretty rough on us humans and what utter failures we are. Thankfully it doesn’t end there.
The next chapter talks about faith. The faith of characters in the Bible who failed over and over again, but whose faith saved them. Read it through, and then focus on the last couple of verses.
22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
I love love love this. We are all broken. Broken from birth. God knows this, and so he doesn’t just leave us there in our brokenness. He made a way out through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who took in OUR sins. He counts our belief, our faith as righteousness. But faith shouldn’t just leave us there, in the midst of our brokenness.
Keep reading, all the way through to chapter 6… don’t skip 5, it’s important.
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
And from verse 12 to the end
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Sin is NOT our master. It is strong and the devil is wily and will twist sin so that it seems small and unimportant. Does the thought “It’s not that bad” seem familiar? Don’t let it slip by. We should be continually, continually evaluating ourselves against the Word of God. Read Paul’s letters, read the words of Christ in the Gospels.
The Bible is a Sword to help us defeat sin. Sin will always try to creep in, trying to uproot us, fill us with self-pride, try to lessen its importance. We fight back by humbly allowing the Holy Spirit to correct, to prompt, to show us our failings through the TRUTH of God’s word. It’s So important, so freeing and also continually teaches us how little, petty and hurtful our judgements of others can mean.
Let us not judge others, but instead, judge ourselves, continually falling into the beautiful forgiveness, mercy and grace that God offers. Only then can the sweet love of Jesus flow through us and out to others who are also struggling…Just. Like. Us.