Grace sits easily in the chair that sin once occupied.
Our lives are a mess. Your life is messed up, my life is messed up. It’s the reality that results from sin. Sin sits so easily in our lives, sin is so natural for us it would seem we were born with it. We weren’t, we are born totally innocent. It would be immoral for God to count sins against a child who had never sinned, who couldn’t sin. They haven’t learned to sin . . . yet, but the world will get a hold of them to the point that they will eventually sin and be guilty before God.
And that guilt is why we have all the trouble in the world that we do. Sin effected more than our souls, our spiritual side, it affects our natural world as well. That is why things are going from bad to worse. That is why more diseases are discovered every generation. That is why the earth and nature are in such turmoil. We sinned and the whole world has been effected by it.
Romans chapters 1, 2 & 3 tell how those with different relationships with God are guilty of sin.
- The Gentile, the non-Jew, those who have no relationship with God at all are guilty of sin because nature itself, our own bodies tell us there is a God but we ignored that fact and lived as if there is no God. Life full of what is immoral according to God’s character, filled with the me-tude. It’s all about me, whatever I want, whatever I feel, I will do and it’s ok. I’m my old god in one sense. I make my own way, my own decisions and live by that (Romans chapter 1).
- The Jew, who knew better, who had the law of God, who knew to honor God alone, to honor parents, to be faithful to their spouses, to not lie about their neighbor and more, they are guilty of sin because they too have sinned. They found ways around God’s laws, they avoided the relationship they had with God and they are guilty of sin within their system of religion (Romans chapter 2).
- To sum it up, Paul writes in Romans chapter 3 that every individual is guilty before God. The non-Jew and the Jew alike. The Gentile who didn’t know God and the Jew who did. And even the Jew who did is responsible for their sin individually. God’s promises and protection in the past had to do with dealing with them as a nation for the sake of the world, but they were always individually responsible to God. Everyone is guilty of sin. “All have sinned and come short of God’s glory” Romans 3:23.
What’s the use then. If we are all guilty, what does it matter if I live for God or not. And it’s not as if God is out to get us with lightning bolts or flipping his finger at us and going, “F-U!”
This is actually when grace comes in and shouts, “Here I am!” God’s not out to get us, he wants to have an intimate relationship of love, grace, mercy, and openness with you and with me.
Read Paul’s words from Romans 3:21-31…
21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justified of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Where then is boasting? It is excluded? By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is He not the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 31Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
(New American Standard Bible)
This grace, comes through YOUR faith in Jesus. God’s grace overrides sin’s power and effect. It not only sits easily where sin sat, it moves sin out, grace destroys sin. In fact, we are told that when our sins are forgiven, God blots out the record of our sin, as if there is an actual book that each of our sins has been recorded in and God uses “Wite-out” to cover over the record of our sins so that he can forget them and will not hold them against us because of his grace that comes by faith that is propitiated by Christ Jesus’ blood shed on the cross.
And God’s grace rests in our lives with merciful forgiveness so that we are not guilty.
I had a “Mandrake the Magician” game when I was a kid. It was based on the Mandrake comic book. I don’t remember much about the game except that there were these cards that had clues hidden on them. The clues were red and the there were these blue markings all over the card to hide the clue. You had to look through a view finder of some sort in order to see what the clue was. It was red. The red somehow washed the blue out and the clue in red was easily seen.
Christ’s blood given to us by God’s grace applied to our lives reminds me of the hidden clues and the view finder of the Mandrake game. Our sins cover our lives and when God looks at us all he sees is sin. When Christ’s blood covers us, our sins, though they are still a part of our past are not seen because God sees us through Christ’s blood. His blood covers us and gives us God’s grace in our belief.