“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood - to be received by faith” Romans 3:23-24
On June 13th 2000 a deaf couple stood before a judge in a Fairfax Virginia courtroom. Their landlord took them to court because they were behind on rent. The reason they were unable to pay their rent was because they were recently married which resulted in them both losing their disability benefits. At that point they had not found a way to make up for the missing debts.
The judge could not disagree. The landlord was due his rent and the couple were guilty of nonpayment. Justice could not simply be put aside. But the judge’s compassion moved him to do something before he passed the judgement on the couple. He left the courtroom and a few moments later returned with $250 in cash. He handed it to the landlord’s lawyer and said to consider their debt paid. The law had been satisfied and the defendants were considered just in the eyes of the court.
When Paul writes in Romans that “all are justified freely by His grace” he uses a word that is a key spiritual principle. Justification. ‘Justified’ is a legal status of a defendant before a judge. And similar to the story above, we will all one day stand before God and be declared either guilty or innocent. Since none of us (by works) can obtain the righteousness required to be worthy in the presence of God we must understand the gift of Gods grace. Each and every one of us stands guilty before God, completely devoid of righteousness before Him, BUT, we are declared just by a transfer of righteousness to our account from Jesus.
The story above reflects the grace of God. How he pays our debts in full. His grace is a gift given to us not because we are good, but because He is.
The penalty for all of our sin was satisfied by death on a cross. Jesus atoned our transgressions and satisfied the wrath of God. But you must choose to receive it. What if the couple in that courtroom had refused to accept the $250 needed to cover their debt? A gift does no good until it is received.
The judge in this story extended grace to people who would otherwise be guilty. Unmerited favour. Mercy that is neither earned nor deserved. It cannot be demanded, only offered.
Knowing Jesus as your Lord and Saviour results in a transfer of righteousness from Jesus’ account to you; it’s a free gift motivated by God’s goodness. It’s a display of God’s love for you, not your love for Him.
What will you do with this gift of Grace?