Finally we are done talking about the negative!! For the last three chapters Paul has launched a shock and awe campaign against our egos. We can no longer assume that we are inherently okay. No, Paul has made it quite clear that we are messed up. He's won the court room argument. The jury agrees with him. Time for sentencing… with our heads bowed in misery… awaiting judgment.
And then God, the judge, says… "AND NOW THE GOOD NEWS!"
What? Wait a second… for the last dozens of verses we've been learning about our wretchedness… how convicted we stand. What Good News could there be?
God's big "But" is the Good News.
At the crescendo of our despair, at the most dramatic moment, Paul's letter-book shifts gears.
You stink and are messed up… BUT everything is going to be okay!! 🙂
Why? How? What the…?
I am so amazed by the Gospel. Just when sin sinks in… it is lifted up and thrown off. We don't have to face the fate we deserve. Our sins may have amassed… but the tumor can be removed. Just when we were most wrong… Paul says that God has shown us a way to be made right.
And the Good News is that we don't have to keep God's pattern. In fact, God doesn't expect us to even be able to keep his laws. God knows we are going to mess up the laws… so God offers us a way to be made right without constriction to lawful obedience.***
Yes. Really. We can be made right through a way other than being a perfect citizen.
Faith in Jesus.
And to whom does this "right-making" way apply?
Any one. Or, technically I suppose, any ones. You. Me. Him. Her. Them. Those people. Any.
No need for the law. Just faith in Jesus.
Now we're gettin' somewhere!! I'm starting to like Romans again!!
Romans 3:21-22~~ But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
*** Note: Please do not assume that I think we can avoid trying to follow God's pattern. The ironic thing about the Christian faith is that we are condemned by our inability to follow God's law, we are justified by Jesus' ability to make us right, and we are proved justified by our active pursuit of God's law. We are not saved by works, but Jesus is shown to be alive within the good works that we pursue.