Right with God

Michael Andres

Read: Romans 1:16-17

For in [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith. (v. 17)

A culture of shame and guilt hangs like a fog all around us: social media comparisons, body-shaming, teen suicides. Many are collapsing under the pressure of social performance. We all yearn to know how we can be accepted.

Martin Luther tried to be a super-monk: sleeping on stone floors, waking early to pray for hours, fasting, and self-flagellation. But it was never enough. Luther felt he always fell short of God’s expectations and saw God as a demanding lawgiver.

Luther had always seen the righteousness spoken about in Romans 1:17 as God’s holy character by which he condemns us. But he had an epiphany: he began to understand that this passage spoke of the righteousness of Christ which counts for us, on our behalf. It is an “alien” righteousness—not our goodness but Christ’s—which is given by grace for free, merely received by faith. Luther extolls, “I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God . . . Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open.”

Are you still trying to perform socially and morally to please others and God? Experience the freedom that comes from making, by faith, the goodness and grace of Christ the ground of your acceptance by God. —Michael Andres

Prayer: Merciful God, I rely upon your gracious work in Christ alone for my sweet acceptance by you.