Scripture Reading — Romans 3:19-26
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known.
—Romans 3:21 —
Martin Luther reasoned, “God is holy and just. I am a poor miserable sinner, no matter how hard I try. How can a holy God possibly love a sinner like me?” Luther tried to do everything possible to earn the mercy, love, and forgiveness of God. But it was never enough.
Luther was honest with himself. He did not minimize his sin, as if it made no difference to God. Luther saw sin for what it was, separating him from God. He desperately wanted to come near to God.
Freedom came for Luther when he began to understand the words of Romans 3. Prior to this point in the book of Romans, Paul explains that the entire human race is guilty and condemned before God’s judgment. But then Paul says, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known.”
God came up with a way to make the sinner righteousness while also satisfying the requirement of the law. Sin had to be paid for with death, so Jesus, the Son of God, stepped forward to offer his own perfect, righteous life in our place. And now God credits us with Jesus’ perfect righteousness. “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus … to be received by faith.”
Those words brought Luther face to face with the loving God. Have you met this one true God? Are you justified by faith in Christ?
Thank you, Jesus, for taking our place and paying for our sin so that we can be restored to life in God’s presence. Amen.