Romans 3:19-28

Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith.

He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Romans 3:19-28

Paul writes, “There is no distinction…”

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Last night I sat down on my chair, ready to flip the channel over to watch Monday Night Football, when I noticed the show that was already on. I guess the show was called “Botched” or something like that. It was about people who had received extensive plastic surgery, each seeking a particular “look”. One wanted to look like Justin Bieber, another had implanted muscles seeking to look like Superman, and a third had already received breast enhancements of comic proportions and wanted more. I couldn’t watch it.

This isn’t a knock against plastic surgery. There are many good reasons why that medical specialty exists. But what saddened me last night wasn’t the exterior looks that people were trying to achieve, but the inner brokenness that they were trying to escape.

There is no distinction.

Paul tells us that before God – the ultimate judge, authority, with the first and last word on creation – there is no distinction. All have sinned. All are loved. All of our brokenness has been caught up in the death and resurrection of Jesus. To know Jesus, to trust Jesus, to believe Jesus, is to be set free from the never ending death spiral of seeking our own justification, our own salvation, our own vision of ourselves.

There is no distinction.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, why isn’t it enough to know that we are loved and set free to love? Why do we search for love in the wrong places, search for salvation in the trivialities of life? Why do we reject the healing you would bring into our lives? Because of sin, our age-old rebellion. Our stubborn refusal to surrender. Our quixotic desire to go our own way. Have mercy on us. Give us anew the gift of faith that puts our eyes firmly on Jesus and sets us free to be who we are. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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