Do you feel bad about yourself? ∙
No one does good, not a single one. – Romans 3:12
23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark (Michelangelo).
We often find ourselves wondering what other people think about us. We are naturally afraid that we will not measure up to some real or imagined standards of others.
Do you feel bad about yourself? The Father has a simple solution for this. Instead of measuring ourselves by other people’s standards, or even our own, we are to measure ourselves by His. When we recognize how far short we fall, we feel far worse!
There is a major difference between feeling relatively bad about yourself and feeling absolutely bad about yourself. When you feel relatively bad about yourself, then you can try to improve yourself and improve your condition. But when you feel absolutely bad about yourself, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. This lays the foundation for a triumphal resolution.
Paul pushes the boundary and logically takes us to a dreadful conclusion. Paul does not say that we were merely sinful, depraved, or sick before we become children of the King. Rather he says that we were dead.
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins
When we evaluate ourselves in light of the Father’s standards, we fail to meet them. We are inadequate. There is no longer any question about where we stand. We see things as they really are. We recognize and acknowledge that we are dismal failures. We stand condemned. There is nothing we can do to improve our condition.
As condemned people, we are in desperate need of the Father’s love, mercy, and grace. Paul reminds us we were not on a friendly basis and making vast improvements when the Father intervened. Rather, we were the Father’s enemies and thoroughly alienated from Him. In response to our somber condition, He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for us. He intervened to resolve the worst part of our darkened and human condition. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ brought about reconciliation. He removed the barriers between us and the Father.
Romans 5:10 While we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.
The Father provided a major paradigm shift for all of His children. We stood helpless, completely and totally in the wrong and condemned. He unilaterally declared us to be righteous. And so we are! We are now bathed in the righteousness of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21 for God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Romans 3:24 God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
REFLECT & PRAY
You don’t drown by falling into water. You only drown if you stay there (Zig Ziglar).
Father thank You for lifting me out of the miry pit and placing me on solid ground.
Suppose you are walking in rather swampy woods. Suddenly you find yourself a couple of steps into quicksand and rapidly sink up to your neck. First, you have to find a way out of the terrifying and deadly mess in which you find yourself. Second, you have to get cleaned up. All the muck and mire covering you from the neck down has to be removed.
That is exactly what the Father has done! He has removed us from the miry pit, the ugly mess we made of our lives. Then He made us thoroughly clean as if it had never happened at all. We are no longer sullied. All the spots and blemishes are removed.
In a sense, we have been put on trial and found guilty. We stood condemned. But the Father did something totally wonderful and astonishing. We have a whole new legal standing. Through faith in Christ, we have been justified and declared righteous by the Father, once for all. The result of this is that children of the King no longer live under the fear of judgment and the wrath of God but we have peace with God. This is is not merely a subjective feeling but an objective reality (ESV notes).
The enemy focuses on the old mess we used to be and rubs our noses in it. The Father focuses on our redemption and cleansed lives. He encourages each of His children.
This provides us with an unexpected, yet delightful opportunity. We can continue to focus on and recall to mind the dark failures of our lives, or we can focus on the clean, pure righteous redemption He has wrought.
Darkness or light, death or life, condemnation or acceptance, the choice is ours.