The gift had to be free. Paul made clear to the Romans that for the relationship to be restored, it could never be dependent on our ability to attain it. People are a terrible lot! We are all sinful and yet, when we look at our lives, we somehow find a way to grade ourselves on the celestial curve. Paul was the ultimate example. From the time of the death of Stephen, Paul was on a rampage to blot out this blight against God’s chosen people. Persecuting, killing, and ripping families apart. Yet, Paul felt like he was doing all the good.
Then, when Paul finally met Jesus, reality set in. So, when, in this chapter, Paul emphasizes there are none righteous; he is pointing fingers at himself. In that reality, Paul also found freedom for the first time. When Paul realized how desperately hopeless his acts were, God was able to assist him in understanding how great the sacrifice and how complete God’s grace was.
Only then could Paul finally understand that God wanted restoration for all. He was not limiting the gift just to His chosen people. In fact, Paul finally grasped that it was God’s chosen people’s job to be the nation of priests that brought the Gospel of our Savior and His gift to all peoples. That was quite a revelation to the Jew of Jews and Pharisee of Pharisees.
Same story for us! We get all “I’m glad I am not like those stinking sinners!”–much like the parable of the two men praying at the temple (Luke 18:9-14). Then, reality sets in and we realize that we are the worst and the lowest of sinners, or at least I do. I know better! And still I do stupid stuff. I think of how self-righteous I must be and grade myself on the curve. But, then, God says to me as he did to Paul–THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS; NO NOT ONE!!! It is God’s grace and kindness that saves and redeems us. It is also His grace that allows us to walk alongside others and lead them to redemption.
Bottom line, we need to get over ourselves and make this journey all about the Lord and His grace in our lives!!!
God Bless You
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.