Today marks the halfway point of the 2016 summer Olympics. Despite the fact that I’m dead tired because I’ve been staying up way too late, I have had so much fun watching the competition. These athletes are truly amazing. I watched the US take gold in the women’s gymnastics team competition earlier this week. As I jumped on ESPN.com to see what the sportscasters had to say the next morning, I saw an article about Gabby Douglas’ hand position during the medal ceremony. Her patriotism was being questioned because her hands were at her sides, instead of having one hand on her heart like the other gymnasts. Really? Can’t we just celebrate the victory? Nope. Typical 21st century America – we had to find a way to make the 2012 women’s all-around champion, who tirelessly trained, overcame setbacks, fought her way back on to the 2016 team, then helped 3 first time Olympians win a gold medal, feel like she wasn’t good enough.
Our scripture in the first half of Romans 3 left me with a similar feeling today. Not good enough. I am a Christ follower. I pursue righteousness. But verses 13 and 14 describe my words and actions more often than I want them to.
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:10-18).
It is true. On my own, I am not capable of living up to God’s standards. I am not good enough. But read on, the second half of Romans 3 shows us there is still hope for me and there is hope for you. Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins so we could be righteous in God’s eyes. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:22). This is great news.
My analytical mind, however, still wrestles with the question why. Why would God offer sinners salvation through faith alone? May I share with you a few insights I found incredibly helpful this week as I read through the Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale House Publishers)?
- Faith eliminates the pride of human effort because faith is not a deed that we do.
- Faith exalts what God has done, not what we do.
- Faith admits that we can’t keep the law or measure up to God’s standard, we need help.
- Faith is based on our relationship with God, not our performance.
God’s plan keeps our focus on him, not on ourselves. Makes total sense. The masterful plan of a perfect God.