Righteousness, Being Right With God, For Free
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
There is an easy urge to think more highly of ourselves than we should. We think we are a good person because we let that junky car into traffic. We care about issues on the news so we are on the right side of controversies. We stand up straight because we didn’t do such and such a sin…this week.
That sounds stupid, doesn’t it?
Just as stupid is carrying around a burden of not-good-enoughness. Try harder, work harder, strive harder are not part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul explains in Romans that there is a disconnect from our works and our righteousness. If you want to try to make your righteousness come from your works, you’ll either end up prideful, depressed, or delusional. You’re either good enough (no you aren’t) or not good enough (that part doesn’t matter) or your lying to yourself if you want to live the Christian life that way.
Blessed is the man whose deeds are forgiven. That is the smile in our face at a baptism or while we sing a song of freedom and forgiveness. All of our sins that we’d ever commit are completely washed away by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our sin doesn’t count once we are in Christ and it was God who put us in Christ by faith.
So we celebrate our freedom. We can have joy in a world of not-good-enoughness that we walk in righteousness. We can tell others the real Gospel. Not the bad news of “you’d better try harder” but the good news that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were successful in their mission to save you and to bring you into God’s family.
That’s why Easter is such a big deal. If it weren’t for Easter, our sins would weigh us down. If it weren’t for Easter, our not-good-enoughness would be an issue and matter.
But Habakkuk was right; the righteous will live by faith.
So, for the next several days, we’re going to celebrate our freedom by preparing for and celebrating Easter. The next week and a half the daily Bible reading will be about the last month of Jesus’ life from the Gospel of John. Join us and let’s celebrate that victory and the righteousness Jesus bought.