Links Daily Devotional

Our Common Condition

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… (Romans 3:23, NIV)

Adam Scott didn’t mean to do it.

That seems plain enough now. No world-class golfer would throw away a chance to win a major championship by his own choice.

But one bogey after another and Scott found himself on the outside looking up—up in stature and in final position to the victorious Ernie Els.

The difficulty when it comes to making an assessment of our lives is that not too many of us actually set out to sin. Not too many of us mean to miss the mark. But we do. Paul himself expressed deep frustration over this in Romans 7. “I have the desire to do what is good,” he wrote, “but I cannot carry it out.”

In a way this makes us so vastly different than James Holmes, the accused 24-year-old shooter of scores in a Colorado movie theater last week. His horrifying sin was premeditated.

But here is the trouble: whether by plan or not, his actions and ours wind up together in the circle of sin. Together we miss the perfection of God. Together our actions condemn us.

That would be altogether unacceptable, of course, if God graded on a curve, if he lumped the goods, the bads, and the worsts into separate piles. In that view, there’s no way those who really try to live right belong with those who unleash such terrors on the world.

But God doesn’t grade subjectively. He has a singular standard: holiness.

To our minds even this would be too great a weight for us to bear. Why would he make us in the flesh, weak to resist sin, and then tell us that we are not good enough? That’s a fair question with regard to the question of fairness!

But God is better than fair. He is utterly just. He calls us to the finest standard, and then he makes a way for us to meet it. Look:

…and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24)

It’s true, painful as it is: we’re sinners. No better, no worse, just sinners. Until, that is, we take God up on his stunning offer. He is willing to forgive all our sin if we are willing to step into a different circle, the circle of the redeemed—if, that is, we are willing to stand with Jesus. When we do that, we are justified faster than the time it takes to miss a ten-foot putt. We are justified to the glory of God!

Jeff Hopper

July 24, 2012

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