“Now we know that whatever the Law says it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the Law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the Law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” (Romans 3:19-28 ESV)
I wonder how many times in his lifetime the light dawned on the apostle Paul as to how God saves us. For one so zealous in finding his righteousness before God based on his own efforts (see Philippians 4:3-6), to have that whole works’ system nullified and replaced by Jesus Christ and Him crucified had to have been a source of frequent amazement—and joy!
It’s funny—but not really—how we too can be leaning on our own sense of self-worth and big deeds to get us right with God. We want to please Him; we want to add something to the ledger, something that helps make us right before God, but it’s just not in us. If it was, Jesus dying on the cross for our sins would have been pointless.
And this is exactly what Paul discovered.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:7-11 ESV).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, deliver us from ourselves and the delusion that we can earn our salvation. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. What “discoveries” have you made in life that occasionally come back and surprise you?
2. How does a person’s redemption come through what Jesus Christ did?
3. Do you ever secretly struggle with trying to somehow “earn” your salvation?