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A dilemma many people face is the ability to accept themselves. This can be difficult because we are keenly aware of our faults, failures, and fears. For those who believe in God, the problem is compounded because if we don’t accept ourselves, then how could God possibly accept us? In one of the oldest books of the Bible, Job wrestled with this dilemma,

In truth I know that this is so; but how can a man be in the right before God? (Job 9:2)

The Apostle Paul, provided an answer to Job’s question:

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,  (Romans 3:21)

Paul declared that our righteousness is based, not upon our performance, but upon Christ’s atonement to pay the penalty for our sins.  Paul used the perfect tense that emphasizes that our righteousness is a completed event with ongoing implications concerning our salvation. Jesus, the holy Lamb of God, was crucified so we can be declared righteous and be accepted by God. People don’t fully appreciate the good news until they understand the severity of the bad news. All of us have been infected by sin:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

The word sin conveys the idea of missing the mark and our consequent falling short of God’s standard. The present tense describes mankind’s continual state of falling short of God’s glory. Later on in this epistle Paul described the pervasiveness of our sin and the efficacy of Christ’s redemption:

So then, as through one offense the result was condemnation to all mankind, so also through one act of righteousness the result was justification of life to all mankind. (Romans 5:18)

We were born with a sin nature and we sin daily in word, thought, and deed. We cannot save ourselves – that is why we need a Savior. The good news is that Jesus has paid the price for our sin:

being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:24)

The word justified means that we have been declared righteous through the redemptive work of Jesus. Paul used the word gift to indicate that it is not through our effort or achievement, but it is an act of God’s unmerited favor. God accepts us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us as we are. We are justified in a moment and we are sanctified over a lifetime.

The word redemption signifies the price that was paid to deliver us from a situation in which we were unable to liberate ourselves. This is the good news. We were under the penalty of sin, but God has delivered us through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross. Are you enjoying the freedom that God’s gift of grace brings to you?

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