A devotional thought from George Robinson for “Numb to the Word”
Romans 3:21-22: “But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed—attested by the Law and the Prophets—that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe.”
Martin Luther spent much of his life trembling at the thought of God’s righteousness. He knew that if God is righteous (or just), then He must punish sin. And Luther knew that he was a sinner deserving God’s punishment.
But as Luther studied Paul’s Letter to the Romans, his trembling in fear turned to trembling with delight. Luther came to realize that Paul was not referring to a righteousness God demands from sinners trying to earn His favor but rather a righteousness that God provides for sinners who trust the Savior! This understanding changed Luther’s life.
All of the Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets) attests that God provides for us what He requires of us through faith in Christ. God’s righteousness for the believer is not the harsh condemnation that we deserve but rather a generous gift that He gives. “Justification by faith” means that God has dealt with our sin in Christ on the cross. His justice was executed in that “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Tremble at the thought!
Pause and Reflect
• Have you ever feared that secretly God is going to condemn you in the end?
• What does the gospel have to say to this way of thinking?
• How might this way of thinking actually diminish the work of Christ on the cross?
• Pray: “Thou hast given me to read my pardon in the wounds of Jesus, and my soul doth trust in him, my God incarnate, the ground of my life, the spring of my hope.” [Arthur Bennett, ed., The Valley of Vision (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 132.]