Glad I took some time tonight to read this again.
I find myself meditating on the following verses in Romans 3:
19 Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. 20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
We are to do good deeds, and I suppose doing what the law commands was (and is?) considered “good deeds”. But the thing he’s trying to get them to understand that doing what the law commands, even if we could follow it completely and without fail (no one can), is not what saves us. The law exists only to show us how guilty we really are.
What I read about the Pharisees back then tells me that they took great pride in following God’s commands. It seems like this was their focus. The laws are complicated and lengthy. I imagine them sitting around for hours debating and discussing every little nuance. Yet, what’s important is to know that God sent Jesus to die on the cross as payment in full for all our sin. I still know there are many people thinking that if they can just do more GOOD things than BAD that they’ll be okay. Without accepting & believing that Jesus Christ did what He did, it doesn’t matter how GOOD you have been.
Paul really clears it up in the following verses in the same chapter:
27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
It’s so simple. But it was so different than anything they’d heard.
Lord, how I wish I could simply obey and never fail you. But I know that even when I do fail, you are willing to forgive me. It’s hard to grasp the depth of your love for mankind – especially someone like me. But I’m grateful. Help me to keep my eyes on You so I can continue becoming more like you on this journey you have me on.