Grace For All

August 16 — Romans 10:1–4

Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. (Romans 10:3)

Have you ever known someone who was zealously wrong about something? They are confident in what they believe and try to convince others that their way is correct, but in the end it is proven that they were simply wrong. Paul speaks of the Jews as being zealously wrong. He states that their zeal “is not based on knowledge” (verse 2). Instead of learning about the righteousness that comes from God, they chose to try and develop their own brand of “righteousness” based on a lot of rules and laws.
Unfortunately, there are some Christians who follow this pattern today. While the Gospel declares that we are saved by grace through faith and that this is not from ourselves, but is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8), some still try and work up enough “equity” with God to be counted righteous. By what they do (good deeds) as well as what they don’t do, they believe they can attain God’s favor.
Before we shake our heads and thank God we are not like that, consider another direction some people go. Some acknowledge that they are unable to make themselves righteous and fully believe Romans 10:4 when it states, “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” However, these same people often tend to cheapen the grace God shows them by failing to even attempt to live uprightly. By accepting and even practicing many things that the world accepts as normal yet stand in contrast or direct opposition to the Word of God, many Christ-followers have zealously, yet wrongly, proclaimed their liberty in Christ. How is this kind of living any better than that of the legalistic person? Both grieve the Father as neither trusts Him to really change them.

God is a God of balance. He makes a way for us because we cannot make a way for ourselves. At the same time, he provides the means for us to change — change our hearts, our attitudes, and yes, our behavior. While accepting and nurturing these changes does not save us, it does help us become more like Jesus. And that is and should be the goal of any believer in Jesus Christ.