Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. (Rom. 10:4)
ON A CAR RIDE home after school, a young boy asked his father a simple question: “Have you ever broken the law?” At first the father scoffed and quickly answered no, but the more the father thought about the question the more he realized he had in fact broken the law many times—driving a bit over the speed limit here, a quick text while driving there, a quick trip to the local store without a seat belt, etc. The father answered “no” so quickly because he initially thought the question was focused on major crimes. Concerning those matters, the father could claim to be without fault.
In this passage, Paul exposed the fatal flaw of the Israelites at that time: self-righteousness. He desired that they be saved. He desired that they turn to Jesus, but they held tightly to their claim of righteousness according to the law. Earlier in this letter, though, Paul empathically noted that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Any claim of self-righteousness is simply false.
But Paul had more to say. Though we cannot be righteous on our own, Christ himself has fulfilled the law on our behalf and enables us to be truly righteous through him. This message is truly freeing. You can let go of your endless pursuit of self-righteousness and find it in him.
On this New Year’s Eve, seek to find your righteousness in Christ.
Mark Moore is the spiritual formation pastor at Faith Legacy Church in Sacramento, California, and an auxiliary professor at William Jessup University.
© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.