The Weight of Me
Romans 3:22 …The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
It is not essential that a person fail radically to understand his or her need for God, but I think it helps. The one who has not made many obvious mistakes in life, or the one who thinks they have not, will not likely appreciate the import of today’s passage. In a culture where self-esteem, self-actualization and identity are worshipped as gods, it is an affront to claim that we are all broken. Who are you to tell me that I am defective?
Yet, this is what Paul spent the first three chapters of Romans explaining. We are all a mess. None is righteous, no, not one (3:10). For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (3:23). Contrary to our culture, Paul taught that our identity (flesh nature) is defective and prone to self-destruction. The greatest, but not most obvious, injury we cause ourselves is simply to pursue self to the exclusion of God. We do not all go to treatment, but we all pursue self instead of the God we were created to pursue. Though not all see it, we all suffer from the same condition and the same need for God. We are all being crushed by the weight of ourselves.
To this, Paul breathed these blessed words of hope. The righteousness of God is available to you. Though you followed self to destruction, God will now, because of the cross, see you as perfect. You are now made spiritually alive. This is what Christ’s substitution offers those of us who are suffocating under the weight of our own failures. He offers absolution and restoration.
I can recall a time when I just could not see my desperate need and so I did not desperately cling to this reality. I saw salvation as something I would appreciate only after death. As eternity was far off, I saw little motivation in it. Not to worry, my defects eventually caught up with me and got me where I needed to be. My personal failures opened my eyes to the reality of my brokenness before God.
Paul’s message was that though our defects vary greatly, our predicament does not. Thus, not everyone needs to go out and make a new disaster of their lives. We all are already there in some way. If we are honest, we can see Paul’s reality that we have all chosen self over God. We have not all lost our jobs due to our failures, but we have all sinned and fallen short of God.
As not everyone sees their need, not everyone appreciates the profound gift of the absolution found in Jesus Christ. This righteousness offered to us does not just mean life after death, it means life now. Through Christ, we may be forever returned to the condition in which we were meant to live. We may now live in intimate communion with the God who made us.
I do not have to go out and make a disaster of my life to appreciate this, but the disaster does help me see what God has done for me. God has saved me from the crushing weight of me.