Did you know Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” is actually the middle of a sentence? Here is what that entire sentence says beginning with verse 22b:
There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
In the same breath Paul calls us sinners then points us to grace. I love the word “freely” in that sentence. We are all sinners and we have all been given a gift. Not a wage, like Paul explains in chapter 4. A costly gift, yes. It cost Jesus his life to pay the penalty for my sin.
But he offers it to me freely. The righteousness he bought is mine for the taking. He redeemed me through his precious blood. It’s a righteousness I can’t earn. It’s forgiveness I don’t deserve.
Go back to 3:22:
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to ALL WHO BELIEVE.
I am almost done with my Christmas shopping and in fact, have most of the presents already wrapped. I love buying for my loved ones and carefully pick out things I believe they will appreciate. They aren’t paying for those gifts. I don’t spend more on the ones who were nicest to me this year. These gifts are an expression of my love for them. And it would hurt me deeply if those gifts remained unopened after I gave them.
That’s kind of what happens when, faced with the truth of our sinful state, we walk away from God’s grace. He bought our forgiveness and is handing it to us with open arms. My prayer is that you won’t let that gift go unopened.
As I was writing this this morning the words from an old hymn kept running through my head. Some of the words are these:
Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin.
How can my tongue describe it? Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burdens, setting my spirit free.
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me!
Gracious Jesus, thank you for going to the cross and paying the debt for my sin. Thank you for freely offering redemption to me, a sinner. I pray that each one who reads this today will accept your gift. And may we who know you as our Savior make you Lord of our lives. May we live today out of grateful hearts and serve you with love.