Even though none of us actually plays by the rules (according to Romans 3:10, 23), we still try rather hard to do so. We’ve all sinned and fallen short, but in our broken condition, we just keep on plugging away in hopes that in eternity all of our trying and fighting and working will somehow qualify us for heaven in God’s eyes.
Most of us find ourselves living a rules-based life. We have an assumption that our Creator will someday evaluate our performance to see if we’ve measured up to His standard. If we’ve been mostly good, we’re in! But Scripture is clear that God has already evaluated our performance. And the bad news is that He has already concluded that we don’t measure up. So that issue is settled. We can stop trying, stop fighting, and stop working.
When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, he expounded significantly on the subject of the grace of God. In chapter five, he proclaims that, “since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” (Romans 5:1 NLT)
Think about those words. We have been made right in God’s sight… not by our trying, working, and fighting, but because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
Instead of struggling to produce a strong performance, we can fling ourselves at the foot of the cross and trust in the mercy and grace of God to save us and sustain us. Let me challenge you to make an enormous and monumental shift in your life – from performance-based living to grace-based living. I can stand before God in my own righteousness, and I’ll never measure up. Or I can stand before God in the righteousness of Christ and be accepted on the basis of His performance.
John Phillips points out about this passage that there is a difference between our standing and our state. We live in a state of struggling and progress. But if we’ve trusted in Christ alone to save and sustain us, we have a right standing before God, regardless of the state in which we find ourselves.
To have a right standing with God – to stand confidently before Him someday – trust in the performance of Jesus Christ on the cross when He paid the penalty for all of our sins. Enjoy the journey of a grace-based life!