over now, and many are already back in the world of classes, teachers, books,
assignments, and of course grades.
Some of us,
on the other hand, have passed the years for formal education, but many older
people have chosen to go back to school and take college courses in areas of
personal interest or job enhancement. Whether still in school or out of it,
we’re all well acquainted with the pressure, anxiety and fear that formal
education can generate in us as we strive to measure up and make the grades we
can take on that same sense of anxiety and worry if we measure our personal
worth in terms of achieving a “grade.” Christian writer Henri Nouwen put it
says: “Yes, I love you if you are
good looking, intelligent and wealthy. I love you if you have a good education, a good job and connections. I love
you if you produce much, sell much
and buy much.” There are endless “ifs” hidden in the world’s love…. The world’s
love is and always will be conditional (The
Return of the Prodigal Son, p. 42).
world, and often even in our homes, love is based on our behavior. Life has a
way of teaching us from an early age that when we are good, our parents,
teachers, bosses, spouses and even many of our friends love us, but when we
aren’t so good, they don’t.
But it is
not the same with God. God does not withhold his love until you measure up. He
loves you all the time – before your sins, during your sins and after your
sins. “While we were still sinners Christ died for us,” Paul wrote in Romans
5:8 and 10. But God does not leave us
in our sins. Jesus came not only to be the atonement for our sins, but also to
be our righteousness.
Paul wrote to the church at Rome: “But
now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is
attested by the law and the prophets. This righteousness from God comes through
faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:21-22). God not only
forgives our sins, he also provides the righteousness we need—the righteousness
In short, we
are saved because God is righteous, not because we are righteous. God’s
righteousness, Paul says, is displayed in his act of transforming us sinners
into his own forgiven and redeemed children in Jesus Christ – something we
experience only through faith. Jesus already made the grade for us; our job is
to turn to him and follow him.
the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who
believes,” Paul wrote in Romans 10:4. Jesus does it all, start to finish. He’s
the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
Tkach, speaking of LIFE.