On a recent Wednesday evening, as the teens were filing into the teen room for class, I raised my hand to give one of the boys a simple, straightforward “high five.” But on this particular night, our “high five” was anything but simple and straightforward. I’m not quite sure whose fault it was (his), but somewhere in mid-air someone (he) took their eye off the prize, and the two of us completely and utterly missed the mark! What should have been a modest greeting, unnoticed by surrounding onlookers, quickly turned into an awkward, “hope-nobody-saw-that” kind of situation. It was pretty embarrassing for all parties involved (but mostly him).
I got to thinking about this idea of “missing the mark” in other areas of life, and I was led to Romans 3:23 where Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You see, we all have a very BIG problem – one which has plagued humanity ever since Genesis 3. And every single one of us has this same affliction; we all have a SIN problem. What’s more, Isaiah the prophet mentions how “your iniquities have separated you from your God” (59:2), and “we all, like sheep, have gone astray” (53:6). I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to stray from Him; I want to stay near Him.
Since you have this SIN problem, and you know all the sinful things you’ve done throughout your life – what’s your plan? How do you plan to deal with your problem? Perhaps you’re thinking, “I’ll just work it off. I’m going to try harder, and be a good person.” The truth is, not only do we NOT have the capacity to be good, or righteous, but Isaiah also says, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” to God (64:6). Essentially it’s saying that our desire to erase sin by “being good” is actually offensive to God! There is nothing we can do to save ourselves from this SIN problem!
Praise the Lord that Romans 3:23 doesn’t end with a period! Paul continues his thought into v. 24 – “…AND are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” You see, the essence of the gospel is God doing for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). No wonder they call it GOOD NEWS!
I know many of you have already received God’s free gift of grace, but perhaps you haven’t been living like it. Perhaps you’ve allowed yourself to continue being controlled by your SIN problem, or have simply become complacent in your walk. I encourage you to draw near to God, and remember 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”