TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Ecclesiastes 7:20

We have a problem. A serious problem. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it a crisis of epic proportions! Let me explain. Righteousness is the required state of being to live in God’s good graces. We humans must be righteous in order to share a relationship with God in the here and now and to dwell with Him for all eternity. But the Scriptures have some bad news for us: we’re not. Not even one of us comes even close to being righteous.

Take it from the preacher of Ecclesiastes who says, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (7:20). The psalmist agrees with this reflection: “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one” (14:2-3). Let’s fast-forward to the New Testament and to the apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In it, he repeats the psalmist’s sentiment: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10-11). A few verses later, Paul concludes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23).
This is quite a predicament. This is a problem of boundless magnitude. Righteousness is necessary for communion with God, but it’s nowhere to be found in humanity. What we most desperately need we ain’t got! (Pardon my grammar.) We’re not righteous and we have no feasible way to make ourselves righteous. Our situation seems hopeless.

It seems hopeless until we finish Paul’s thought from Romans 3:23. In that verse, he observes that everyone is a sinner, that everyone comes up far short of God’s glory. But then he says that everyone can be “justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (3:24). We cannot make ourselves justified or righteous. We are incapable of ascribing righteousness to ourselves. It must come from an outside source. It must be the result of divine power. And according to Paul, it has and it is. The righteousness we so desperately need comes from God Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. Our problem is solved. The crisis is averted. May God be praised!

Today I will…remind myself that I am not as good as I think. I will live humbly, knowing that I cannot make myself righteous. I will live gratefully, knowing that the only one capable of bestowing righteousness on me actually has through the ministry of His one and only Son.