I promised yesterday that we would see the miracle that was God’s gift to us; Jesus’ sacrifice. This is the gift that God had been waiting throughout all of time to deliver. The ONLY gift that could make right what once was wrong.
Paul begins by sharing that God’s righteousness didn’t depend on the Law. The law was given to man to be able to measure himself against God’s standards. God’s righteousness went beyond the standards He gave man and is completely separate. God didn’t need to “live up to” the standards He set, He WAS/IS the standard.
The Law and the Prophets simply stated the standards in terms we could understand. They also stated that there was more needed than man could provide. And they promised that God would make a way for man. Because God is righteous and we are not we had no way to truly reach Him. He gave the Jews His Law to bring them close to Him but they were still separated.
Through sin, man sold himself to Satan. That sale came with a price and that price is death. We were no longer God’s children but Satan’s. In order for us to be freed from Satan we had to be redeemed, bought back. The only currency acceptable was that of blood.
Through the Law God arranged for the temporary bargaining price through animal sacrifice to atone for sin. This was like paying the interest on an interest only loan. The principal never went down. We were still in bondage to Satan. No matter how “good” we were, we were never free of our final purchase price. There is nothing we can do to earn our way out of this bargain.
We couldn’t redeem ourselves. God couldn’t redeem us Himself because He could not be in the presence of sin. So we needed an intermediary. God promised from the beginning that He would provide one. The ONLY one suitable was His Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was able to take on the form of man while still maintaining His character of God. He was part of both worlds and therefore the only one capable of standing in between the two. HE paid the price of death for us and presented God with the receipt for that payment; our pawn ticket.
Our acceptance of Jesus’ substitution for us through faith is our only way to life. We didn’t earn it through our works. We didn’t receive it because we were extra special. We were given it as a free gift of grace; God’s unmerited favor. Jesus paid that price for us even when we were at our worst. Jesus even paid that price for the Hitlers and Mousselines of this world IF they would have accepted it. He paid it for each and every one of us that CHOSE to accept that free gift from Him by faith.
Paul cautions us though that the free gift from Jesus doesn’t end there. Because of His gift we are to give back by living within God’s boundaries, His Laws. We don’t have to follow every rule that men added to His Law but we are to conduct ourselves in ways pleasing to Him. The Ten Commandments still stand as our benchmarks. Yes, we will at times fail to meet even these ten but that is where we turn back to Him and seek forgiveness again. Without the repentant heart and faith in Christ Jesus, all the good works in the world mean nothing. And that repentant heart drives us to follow His statutes.
Father God, thank You for Jesus. Lord Jesus, thank You for taking my place. I had NO way to redeem myself. I know I fall short of Your standards more times than I care to mention. Please help me draw closer to them and You each day.
Thank You Lord that You didn’t let MY behavior separate us forever. Thank You for Your promises throughout time that spoke of Your intent. Thank You that You ALWAYS keep Your promises. Thank You that my heart is stamped with Your image and “paid in full.”