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“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Rom 3:22-24) NIV
Have you ever woken, suddenly in the night, in a cold sweat, as some distressing thought came flooding into your mind to wrestle you from sleep? Many of us have experienced such moments of sudden fear and trepidation that disturb our quiet slumber.
In the Old Testament book of Job, one of Job’s friends recounts how he was once troubled by a haunting spirit which passed over his face, as he lay sleeping, and a ghostly whisper crept through the night silence to bring a terrifying realisation to his ear. The low, penetrating voice asked: “Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?” (Job 4:12-17).
For those who trust in their own righteousness, this is a most disturbing thought. Job himself considered that he was a righteous man and this had been his one remaining source of comfort and personal pride; a solid rock, amidst the storms of affliction, upon which he hoped to stand before his maker (Job 19:23-27). Now, even his righteousness appeared to be a very slippery foundation.
“All have sinned...” the apostle Paul reminds us, “...and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23). “Who then can be saved?” the disciples once asked Jesus (Matt 19:25).
The apostle Paul brings us the reassurance we need, when he explains that although we cannot trust in our own righteousness, there is a righteousness which comes from God “through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom 3:22) and that we are therefore “justified freely by his grace” (24). It is in his righteousness that we stand.
What a blessing it is to rest in the knowledge that, as we remain in Christ, we are free from all guilt and our sins can no longer beset us.
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