But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known…through faith in Jesus Christ…justified freely by his grace…redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Little Words are Important
Text messages are really convenient and helpful…until they’re not. Sometimes they are sent in the heat of the moment to hurt and wound. Sometimes autocorrect takes over and produces a sentence that is confusing, funny, or potentially harmful. But maybe the most frustrating and maddening are those texts sent in haste where a little, but very important word is accidentally left out.
Husband and wife have been feuding and giving each other the silent treatment. When the tension has reached its climax, she writes, “You said some hurtful things…I am mad at you!!!” But what if she meant to write: “You said some hurtful things…but I am not mad at you!!!” Those two missing words are really important. They change the meaning of the text entirely.
Small words in the Bible can be very important too. In the middle of chapter 3 of his letter to Roman Christians, the apostle Paul writes these two very little, but very important words: “But now…” He has just used much ink laying out the situation in which all human beings find themselves when it comes to their standing before God. God sees blatant godlessness and bold wickedness in some cases. In others, it is hypocritical judging. In many “religious” hearts he views prideful, but blind and worthless self-righteousness. He witnesses people who concur with his law, written in every human heart at birth, yet go against conscience. He sees others who know his law by heart and sin anyway. The final conclusion? No one is righteous before God. Everyone is accountable before God, but all they have to show is a ledger full of sin and disobedience.
What shall we do? How can we fix it? The truth is we can’t do anything. “But now…” God himself enters to fix it for us. Where we are unable to produce the righteousness he expects, he brings it to us and gives it to us. Where we fail at keeping the law through our own strength, he tells us that this gift comes through faith…in Jesus Christ. Where we have failed, he has emerged victorious. He has joined humanity, putting himself under God’s law and keeping it…perfectly in every way. He has given his innocent life in our place that we might be justified, declared “not guilty” in the Judge’s courtroom. He has paid the price that sets us free and makes us whole, forgiving our sins and freeing us from the chains of sin and death. Two small words that change everything. Hang on to them!
Lord God, we thank you for your Word. We thank you for bringing it to us and pointing out the little words that make such a big, eternal difference for us. Help us to hold on to these words and trust them for our comfort and confidence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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