My righteousness is like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) . . .
And I’m okay with that.
Nothing I do will ever cause me to measure up . . .
And I’m good with that.
I am not, cannot be, good enough (Romans 3:10) . . .
And I actually find peace in that.
Not because I want to be bad . . . to sin . . . to mess up . . . quite the opposite is true. I want to be clean, right, and good. But the reality is, I could outwardly be the best person in the world, and my heart and soul would still be stained with sin.
Paul called himself the “chief of all sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), and in Romans 7:15 he said, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
So how can all this be good? How can all this bring peace? It can’t. The fact that we can never do enough, perform well enough, be clean enough to earn our way into God’s favor is not the “good news”. But here it is. Jesus . . . Jesus wiped all the sin away. Hanging on that cross over 2000 years ago, He took it all and redeemed us. The weight He carried, the sins of all of mankind for all time, wasn’t just a tremendous weight, it was utterly and completely crushing. It separated Father from Son as our Savior cried out “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). But while it may have killed Him, it did not defeat Him. In that moment, my sins and your sins were covered by the blood of our Savior, and on the third day, He rose again.
That is the “good news”!
That brings enormous peace.
That is why I’m okay with not being okay.
Because when that, not so quiet, voice starts echoing through my mind, “You’re not good enough . . . if only they knew . . . you mess up and then mess up again . . . ” I don’t have to stand in defense of myself. Jesus stood for me. I don’t have to fight it or try to justify. I don’t have to perform more or try harder in hopes that the good will somehow outweigh the bad on some great cosmic scales of justice. Spoiler alert: it will never happen. I just acknowledge it. My own righteousness is as filthy rags, but I know a man, who is also God, who gave all to redeem me. And where my good-ness utterly fails, His perfection and righteousness forever triumph.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26
The grace and goodness of my Savior cover every fault and every sin, and spur me on to do better and be better. Not because I’m trying to earn my way, but because I’ve been given so much and loved so deeply despite my filthiness. It’s that grace and goodness that cause me to desire to live a life marked by redemption and obedience . . . a slave not to sin but to righteousness.
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:15-18
Our goodness starts not with us but with a Savior.
Our salvation is not our own to earn but His to give, and ours only to accept.
It’s that simple, and yet, it’s that complicated. Nothing we can do . . . no performance . . . no good deed . . . will get us where we want to be.
So the question is, “Do you know my Savior?”
Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.