Tuesday, October 11, 2011
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 KJV).
Religion—from the Latin “religio,” meaning “to bind anew”—is man’s futile attempt to make himself right with God. Mankind naively believes that his religious performance makes him “righteous,” in good standing before God. This is actually self-righteousness.
We cannot work for our salvation because we always break the simplest rules of God’s Word (one lie, one curse word, one evil thought, and so on). Our sin prevents us from reaching God’s standard of righteousness (“rightness”). Compared to church members, atheists seem evil. Little, sweet elderly ladies appear to be less sinful than prison inmates. While you appear less sinful than others, others appear less sinful than you! Still, we are all guilty sinners in God’s eyes and according to God’s standards.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is none righteous, no, no one” (Romans 3:10). We are not perfect. No matter what we do, our performance may exceed others’, but it will never be good enough for God.
Yet, today’s Scripture declares the wonderful news—before we lied, stole, coveted, and cursed, Jesus Christ died to save us wicked, unrighteous humans. The Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins on Calvary’s cross. He died to save us wretched humans because we all fell short of God’s glory. None of us could fulfill God’s righteous standards (the Ten Commandments, for instance).
God did not die for the righteous, but for the self-righteous unrighteous. Why? Only because He loves us, despite our evil deeds! Praise God that we can now inherit eternal life by trusting in the finished cross work of Jesus Christ. We can now be made “the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through Christ’s cross work on Calvary, the self-righteous unrighteous are made righteous.