Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saints or sinners?

“But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, ...” Romans 3:21-24 (NRSV)

Jerry Bridges, in his book, The Discipline of Grace, brings up a thought to ponder. Are we saints or sinners? According to the scripture above, we are both--saints and sinners. We become saints by keeping our eyes on the righteousness of God, and continually keeping our eyes on God's righteousness is always a work in progress because we are sinners.

God uses our sinfulness to glorify Himself. This continual washing and renewal of our souls is possible only when we keep our eyes on God's righteousness, which glorifies Him. If we do not recognize our own sinfulness, then we fail to look to God for our righteousness. If it is only our sin that we look at and fret over, then our focus is on ourselves; we fail to seek God for our righteousness, and He is not glorified.

Driving a car provides an analogy to this dual responsibility that we have of recognizing our sinfulness and sainthood. Where should we look when we drive a car? Should we look at the speedometer to make sure that we are driving within the speed limit law, or should we look at the road to make sure that we navigate our car safely? The answer, of course, is both. Apart from cruise control, it is difficult for us keep at a steady, safe speed without monitoring the speedometer. In addition, we would not even be able to hold a driver's license if we claimed that we faithfully look at the road once each time we drive. We must recognize the need to perform both of these duties continually in order to drive a car safely. It is the same with our Christian walk. We must continually recognize our sinful state and God's grace through His glorious righteousness in order to live as saints.