Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.
Romans, Chapter 3 introduces us to the beginning of the so-called Romans Road. Paul takes the reader through several stops and outlines the basic plan of salvation. It begins with the definition of the human condition — we are all sinners — and leads us to God’s plan for our salvation through Jesus, the Messiah.
Paul first quotes from the Psalmist, who imagines God looking down from heaven upon mankind: “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalms 14:3, NIV).
In his own words, the Apostle says it this way: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, NIV).
Jesus freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.
On the journey of this pathway to heaven, every single one of us must ultimately make this confession: We are sinners. The word “sin” means to miss the mark, like an archer who’s arrow falls woefully nowhere near his intended target. There is no way that any of us can be as holy as God is holy. Paul is not pointing fingers at other people’s behavior either, for he says about himself in the letter to his pupil Timothy: “Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy.” (1 Timothy 1:15, MSG).
Our first stop on the Romans Road is your problem and my problem too! We are human beings, created in God’s image, but we are not divine. We will never become God. There is nothing we can do to earn our way into His presence. Yet He is fair; He gives us all a choice: “God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.” (Romans 3:22-24, CEV).
We are sinners… But God! Jesus welcomes us all! He sets things right for us. It’s a pure gift, which is undeserved since we are all sinners. But thanks be to God and His grace! HE sets things right! Always! And, indeed, we can be so very thankful! And humbled that He loves us.
“God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear.” (Romans 3:25, MSG).
Yesterday we talked about “dialing in” to God’s frequency; turning our hearts and ears to intentionally listen to Him and His ways for our lives. Like a child who must crawl before he walks and walk before he runs, it begins with this first step. We must admit to God that even our best actions are flawed. As humans we are sinners.
So does this mean we are free to not “do right?” Paul asks and answers this same question: “Does emphasizing our faith invalidate the law? Absolutely not. Instead, our faith establishes the role the law should rightfully have.” (Romans 3:21, TPT).
Some may ask, why? Why is it that none of our best attempts to follow God’s decrees are good enough for God? I believe it’s because it sets Jesus apart for who He is… 100% man and 100% God. He is the only one who never sinned. So, it is only through the recognition of His sacrifice, only through Jesus that we are truly free.
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.