Righteousness and Peace; November 2, 2020

Romans 5:20-21 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul’s logic in this whole passage seems a bit convoluted at times, but the upshot is that Jesus broke us out of the whole cycle of sin and death by taking sin and death on Himself to give us the gift of righteousness (the exact phrase in the Japanese) leading us to eternal life. There have been a lot of theological arguments over just what Paul meant by “The law was added so that the trespass might increase.” My take is that human beings do stupid things even when there are no rules against them, but when rules are in place to protect us from our stupidity, we turn around and want to do those things! Adam and Eve had exactly one prohibition, and they turned around and violated it. The term, prohibition, is closely associated in America with the only constitutional amendment to be passed and then repealed, the 18th, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages. It lasted only 13 years, and in the process significantly increased alcohol consumption in the US. A Wikipedia article states that prior to Prohibition, bars were almost exclusively for men, but after it was repealed, women flocked to bars as well. That’s the result of trying to legislate righteousness. Ultimately, the only real answer is the gift of righteousness by faith. After all, a person can be completely sober and still be headed for hell! This hardly means that laws are meaningless, but it certainly means that they aren’t the ultimate answer.

Just yesterday the Lord reminded me of His ultimate answer, bringing the song, The King is Coming, to my mind, and that was a blessing indeed. However, I’ve still got to live through the daily slog, so to speak, until that time or until He calls me home. I need to remember that God set His salvation into motion at Calvary, and absolutely nothing can stop it. I need to be intentional in receiving His gift of righteousness, living it out in obedience to Him. If I will do that, He will use me to draw others to repentance and faith as well, so that they too may receive the gift of righteousness for eternal life. If I will focus on obedience and availability, generated by faith and love, He will take care of everything else, and I have absolutely nothing to be anxious about.

Father, You know about the devil’s attacks on my peace better than I do. Help me stay focused on Christ indeed, so that what You spoke through Isaiah may be fulfilled in me: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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