But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Is therer anyone out there who honestly believes that they have the right to stand in the presence of God? Is there someone who thinks that they are good enough to have favor with God? What about for even just one day? Can we say that even for one day? Can we stand before God and say, "Surely You remember that day I took that mission trip and worked on that home for that poor family?" Even on a day like that can we say that we totally gave ourselves to the Lord, with no thought of malice or self? That we did not argue about how things need to be done, or our mind wander about the cute person next to us, or just that self-righteous idea of, "Okay God, you owe me one now."
We are wicked, and the Law and the Prophets testify to this. If you don't believe me, just read the 10 commandments. How many have you kept? If your score is not 10 out of 10, you have failed. How many have you kept when you extend that idea that even looking lustfully at a woman is adultery? Forget about murder, when Jesus says that even calling someone a fool puts us in danger of the fires of Hell? Not only does the Law show God's righteousness and perfection, it reveals our unrighteousness and imperfection. (Not a wildly popular sermon topic, but a topic the Bible does not shy away from.)
So what a wonderful gft and revelation when we discover that the righteousness we do not have is given to us through Christ! Given. As in we don't deserve it, we did not earn it, but we can possess it. We all fall short, but through faith can be justified freely though the redemption that came by Jesus.
And if that were all that there were to it, it would be a great ending. But it isn't. You see, the word faith does not just imply a head knowledge, but also conveys the meaning of "a conviction." So it is not just believing that saves us, but the change that takes place because of the conviction of our hearts when we see what He has done for us in giving us His righteousness.
That is what I want and need to see more of each and every day.