Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Rom. 2:12-16, “12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.”
Paul’s not giving us much hope that we can gain salvation by anything we do; he’s pretty clear we cannot.
In describing these two types of people he is encompassing all of humanity. He wants us to understand that we are all guilty and inexcusable before God.
In verse 13, Paul turned to the Jews. He wanted them to know that having the law was not enough. If a person relied on it alone, they would fall short because the law demanded perfect and continuous obedience. Simply knowing what the law said did not make a person righteous; God does not give eternal life or justification to people just because they perform good works. However, to those who believe (trust) in Him and whose conduct reveals their regenerate hearts, he justifies.
Simply put, to justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God. We have no hope in doing this on our own. The point is clear in the text…we can’t earn God’s favor (our justification) by anything we do. We are marred and broken.
I was raised as a Catholic; my parents had me baptized when I was an infant. They made sure I was in church and that I went through catechism, but the truth is…none of those things did anything to justify me. And that was Paul’s point when he talked about those under the law…the fact that they heard the law read weekly in the synagogues didn’t take their guilt away.
For the believer, our righteousness comes by placing our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. It’s His sacrifice that allows God to see us perfect and unblemished. In fact, He sees His own righteousness when He looks at us. What an amazing and humbling thought to ponder!
You know, you don’t have to point out my imperfections or blemishes. I know how dark my heart can be at times! I don’t have to look back more than an hour to see how far and how quickly I can fail to meet God’s righteous demands.
The good news is that I don’t have to live in fear of God’s eternal judgment. Because of Christ’s justification, the peace of God can rule in my life. It is this same justification that allows believers to have an assurance of salvation.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).” Let that truth soak in for a bit. Think about what it means to be at peace with God. Think about what it means to have the righteousness of God given to you as a gift, an undeserved gift.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.