(To access the entire “Radical Grace From the Book of Romans” devotional series, please click here.)”The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:23-25, NIV2)
Everything has consequences and even ignorance can lead to trouble. Take, for example, not locking car doors when exploring the backwoods. In Colorado someone just did that. To make matters worse, that someone left a peanut butter sandwich and a deodorant stick on his back seat. Guess who likes peanut butter sandwiches and possibly even deodorant sticks? You are so right: black bears!
Somehow a black bear sniffed the odor of that sweet-smelling peanut butter sandwich, and to his delight, he found out that the vehicle containing it was not even locked! Somehow that bear succeeded in opening one of the cars door. And why not? With such motivation in sight!
The bear was able to eat his sandwich inside the car, but once finished, he found himself somehow locked inside that vehicle. To make matters worse, he accidentally shifted the car into neutral, which caused the car to start rolling down the hill. In the end the bear was trapped inside that vehicle for more than two hours, and no other peanut butter sandwiches were to be found. You can imagine that he was not in a very good mood!
But neither was the owner of that vehicle!
Ralph found his Toyota Truck smashed at the bottom of the hill. He had to enlist the help of the rangers to release the bear, but once he could inspect his truck, he found the interior completely destroyed. That’s what happens when an angry bear finds himself in a locked car! I suspect that Ralph will be more careful about locking his car in the future! After all, he did learn that everything has consequences, even ignorance!
We, too, have to confront the consequences of our own sins, but with that in mind, I need to ask you: Are you righteous?
This is quite an interesting question and most people would immediately answer “No”!
So, you don’t think so? Yeah, we indeed have all fallen short of the glory of God, even when we ignore the fact that we have done so.
Amazingly though, God sees us as being righteous!
How is that possible?
Just like a bear that is attracted to sweet-smelling peanut butter sandwiches, God is attracted to each one of us. He loves us so deeply that He devised a plan to save us, even though we are the ones who had wandered away from Him!
We are righteous, not by our own merits, even though at times we may tend to think very highly of ourselves, but through the sacrifice Jesus has bestowed on us, a selfless sacrifice that took his life away. He died on a cross, nailing our sins on that self-same cross. All of our sins. From the past, from the present, and even from the future have been buried for good, forgiven by the Most High Himself! Amazing but true!
Three days later Jesus rose from the tomb, guaranteeing that we are truly forgiven and are now completely justified in the eyes of our loving Heavenly Father. Faith in the One who paid the price truly pays off. Thanks to Him, we now stand righteous in the eyes of the Lord. Righteous! Can we believe that!
No effort of ourselves would ever qualify for such a designation. It’s all thanks to Jesus, Jesus our Saviour, Jesus our Redeemer. Jesus who justifies us, even though we really don’t deserve it. He is the One who truly loves us.
Even though we may still fall at times, we are no more attracted to the smelly, disgusting sin-plastered sandwich. Why? Because we have discovered that our Heavenly Daddy loves us unimaginably!
Where did I leave my peanut butter sandwich? I better make sure my car is locked! Who knows what could happen!
(To access the entire “Hell’s Tactics” devotional series, please click here.)