“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded.” (Rom 3:23-27) NIV
Have you ever delved into the mysteries of God’s grace? There is no room for misinterpretation here. We have been justified through and through by the merits of Jesus’ blood. Salvation is bestowed on us by His grace. It is all God’s doing. The only part we play is to graciously accept His gift.
The problem with us humans is that we like to have a part to play. Many among us insist that we can’t be saved unless we work hard at becoming a better person, which can only be done once Jesus lives in our hearts. We forget that: “Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded.” (vs.27)
It’s all about God’s grace. We are the ones who rebelled against Him. We are the ones who wandered away, planning on an independent life far from Him. He is the One who initiated this costly reconciliation. He is the One who paid the price for our rebellion, extending His hand towards us with a reconciliatory embrace. It has nothing to do about what we do. In fact, even though our actions tell us otherwise, all we do while pretending to be godly is to err farther and farther from Him!
At the time this devotional was written, several weeks had gone by since Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. He had begun his walk in New York, on the US side of the falls, and ended up in Ontario, Canada. He was filmed by literally thousands of journalists, and was broadcasted to the four corners of our planet.
As soon as Nik stepped onto Canadian soil, two things happened: He was hugged by his biggest fans, his family; and he was greeted by the Canadian border patrol, asking him to show his American passport!
Nik could have argued with these officials. He could have said, “Come on! You know who I am! I am the one who walked across the Falls on a tightrope. I literally brought hundreds of thousands of tourist to your town. I deserve to be welcomed into Canada with open arms. I don’t need to show my passport!”
But Nik isn’t that kind of a guy. He graciously handed over his passport that he had carefully carried in his back pocket during his stunning performance, and when the border patrol him asked the purpose of his trip, his response was simple: “To inspire people.”
No matter how grandiose they may be, our performances do not ensure us free entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. Just like Nik Wallenda, we need a “passport”. And our “passport” is called grace. It can only be obtained by having complete faith in Jesus, the Christ. He is our guarantee, He is our passport. He is the One who carried us over the chasm into eternity.
“I left it on earth.”
“Too bad! Your real passport is in heaven. Access denied. Next please.”
(To access the entire “Radical Grace From the Book of Romans” devotional series, please click here.)