The Defense Rests

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Everyone knows this verse but we don’t admit to our intent when we quote it.  Since I’m the only person I know well who sins I will tell you the reason I quote it.  When I have fallen into sin, I quote it.  When I feel the judgment of others, I quote it.  When I desire to sin, I quote it.  When I’m corrected, I quote it.  When people compare me to others I quote it.  When I compare myself, I quote it.  When I’m challenged, I quote it.  Every time I quote it, there is something missing in my heart; genuineness and authenticity. But what is at the bottom of my heart is self-justification and my thirst to be right, having the approval of others as well as of myself. When I quote that verse there is a sense of not being wrong or responsible for my actions.  I really don’t think what I am doing is wrong and nor do I think it warrants asking for forgiveness or even requiring forgiveness. It is in this moment when we use scripture as a defense to not obey God but to continue in sin  All of this comes from an unrepentant heart filled with unbelief and faithlessness.  I’m covering my pride and arrogance about my so called goodness by judging others to be sinners or worse sinners using God’s words to do so.  I’m using the verse to justify my secret unrepentant heart.   You will never catch me repeating the following verses.

Romans 3:24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faithThis was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

This word from God takes the mistaken power of blame shifting and “who is the worst sinner” away from me.  All of my efforts of trying to defend myself by reminding everyone else of their faults and hiding mine is gone.  It’s gone because Jesus Christ has declared that we are justified, approved of, reconciled, forgiven, made new, and set free by grace which is a gift.  It is all done through Christ who is our substitute. But we can’t received it by no other means other than faith.  We say we love truth but we never want all of it unless it’s sweet to the taste. If I loved the truth I would take it all.  The truth of the matter is that I don’t believe it when I’m justifying my sins.  I don’t trust God’s word because I think God is trying to get over on me. So I don’t repent at times because who was what i was doing wrong and how can faith really fix me?  My main concern is my body, food, clothing, shelter and pleasure; faith ain’t helping that.  Our hearts are overcome with unbelief and we refuse to admit it.  We don’t even confess this guilt that is within us because we can’t believe that we are actually feeling guilty about something that seems so natural and pointless.  Our moments of arrogance proclaims that sin is more important, more lovely and loving, more enjoyable, more satisfying and more faithful than Jesus Christ fills us up with pride.  The grace Jesus gives and the loving rebuke he places on us is like pouring hot coals on us as evil is repaid with good.  We are cheating wives caught in the act by the devoted husband.  So, I ignore it like I didn’t do anything wrong and have no need to feel guilt.  I blame God and say its his fault because He made me this way.  So “Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” is the ace in the hole that I keep.  As long as everyone else is doing it and they seem to be doing ok, it can’t be wrong right?
The word repentance has no place in our Christianity because there is nothing wrong with us.  Especially, if God actually took a look at other people in this world.  We feel like if he actually did that then He would owe us some rewards for all the good behavior.  So don’t talk to me about asking for forgiveness for my sins when what I did was justified because of what someone else did or didn’t do.  Plus, God already said we all have sinned so why are you focusing on me?  I do this and I do that, I serve here and there, where do you serve? what do yo do?  Just tell me that I can let Jesus into my heart when I’m ready and that I don’t have to repent of anything first because really why do I have to; right?  We all do it?  I just need God to do something for me and as long as He knows I’m human and that I’m going to sin like everyone else, I think we will get along fine; right Jesus?
Christianity simply does not make sense until you have faced the sort of facts I have been describing.  Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness.  It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness.  It is after you have realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power – it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk. When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor. When you have realized that our position is neatly desperate you will begin to understand what the Christians are talking about.

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
But here is the problem, when Christianity becomes “something to do”, we have already walked away from Christ boldly lifting up the god of us.  We just use Jesus to cosign our cause. At times we regulate our behavior depending on upcoming desires.  The closer to the time we need God to “come through” the better we control ourselves.  We are trying to use God and we use Roman 3:23 to keep God from putting us in time out or taking away our toys.  Being Christian is a fad, a label, a branding, a validation, a inspection sticker, and a necessary evil.  It is all these things when are hearts are unrepentant towards God.  Like a bratty grandchild we climb up on grandpa’s lap flash our big eyes after we have done the unthinkable and ask him for money to buy ice cream.  No regret and no remorse for the evil deeds we have done with the blood still on our hands.  The paint the crime clearer, our sinful hands are covered in the blood of Jesus Christ and the nails are in our back pockets still.  We have to put down the hammer to open our hands to receive money from grandpa.  Sweat is still running down our faces from lifting the cross up.  And yet the coldness of our hearts are content with murdering an innocent man as we see nothing wrong about our sins.  We simply kill Jesus for the joy of murder because he need not die for us how have no reason to repent. We don’t want God’s love and the grace of Jesus Christ.  We want grandpa because he loves us enough to look the other way.
What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like, “What does it matter so long as they are contented?” We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven — a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all”.
C. S. Lewis
Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking  and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
When we quote those words of “we all sin”, we are covered in fear and we stay guilty with no defense and no defense attorney facing a life sentence of wrath.  We either don’t have the love of God or don’t know that we have it because of wavering faith in Christ’s finished work.  The Gospel of Christ casts out fear because it is God’s love for us that presents the good news of an eternal verdict of Not Guilty!  We don’t defend ourselves because the enemy, the world and our flesh don’t have a case against us.  Plus there is no evidence to prove that we are not MADE righteous by Christ and are saved by grace through faith because the God who brought us to court, made the case against us; threw the evidence out and Son of God paid for the crimes by serving our sentence of death.  Throw your hands up in joy and surrender; to Christ.


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