A person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
What makes someone a good Christian? Is it the fact that they are in church almost every single Sunday? Or that they give ten percent or more of their income to the work of the church? Or that they always seem to be helping a neighbor in need? These certainly are wonderful fruits of the Christian faith, but they do not make someone a good Christian.
In the apostle Paul’s day there were some who thought being a good Christian meant keeping certain Old Testament laws like eating the right foods, observing the right holidays, and being circumcised. Unfortunately, they began to think that doing such things somehow contributed to their salvation. They believed that their obedience to certain laws played some part in being declared innocent of their sins before God.
Being a good Christian has never been about keeping God’s law, and if it were, none of us would be good Christians. “A man is not justified by observing the law,” the Bible says. That’s because the law demands 100 percent obedience 100 percent of the time. According to God’s law, even one slip-up means total failure. God’s verdict in his law on mankind is absolutely true: “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).
This is why we so desperately need Jesus. He is the only one who perfectly observed God’s law, and he did it in our place. He died for all our failures to keep God’s law. Through faith in him, we are declared not guilty before God. We are connected to Christ in his death and resurrection and set free to live our lives in thankful obedience to God’s law. Not to be good Christians, but because through faith in Jesus, we already are.
Dear Jesus, help me to continually see that my obedience to your law has nothing to do with my status before your heavenly Father. Lead me to trust in your righteousness alone which becomes mine freely through faith in you. Amen.