Romans 3, Psalm 46
As noted in the last two days of reading Romans, Paul highlights the evils of disobedience, especially Jewish disobedience to the laws given by God to Israel. Thus pleasing God is straightforward. Lets just obey God, trusting that our Lord wants us to thrive and would command only that which is best for us. If life were only so simple! For we are told today that “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10) When Paul quotes the Psalms, he isn’t simply making a statement about what we do, but rather what we are (not) capable of doing. Namely, we are incapable of refraining from sin, for sin is a power that infects all of us and even the larger system (aka the world) in which we live. Paul in fact calls sin a “power” (Romans 3:9) that rules over us, Jew and Gentile, such that our evils are great, one and all. So what then can we do? Where can we find hope? Paul tells us, “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:25) That one word atonement answers the question of what has been done about our disobedience. Our former sins are covered over, and in Christ, we can trust whatever we do will not seperate us from God’s love. On the cross, the one obedient man bore the penalty of our sins that through faith we might be justified and made righteous (Romans 3:22). The significance of those two concepts: “justified” and “made righteous” is too great to discuss at length on this blog. We do well to remember that justification and righteousness are given to us as gifts through faith. So what we need most is not something we can achieve, namely the obedience that puts us at peace with God. Our peace with God is given us because of the execution of our beloved Savior, to whom be all praise, glory, and honor forever. Amen.