Equality- “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Romans 3:9-31 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written,
is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
If we would look to truly become unified in our society and culture, today’s text tells us one thing that we can all establish as truth and become unified around: “There is none
righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,” “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”; “Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” … by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. It does not matter if one is republican or democrat; conservative, moderate, liberal or progressive. It does not matter, the color of a person’s skin; their national or ethnic heritage. It does not matter what their gender or their preference. It does not matter whether they are rich, poor or in between. There is no 1% or 3%, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. What separates people, is what they do; how they respond to the knowledge of sin.
Some will deny that there is sin, even though they know that sin is in us all. In truth, what they do is that they establish their own laws regarding sin, rather than God’s law. They determine what is acceptable based on their own preferences and on their own desires. James 1:14-15 says: Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Establishing our own classification of sin does not change the fact that, the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) It is not our own rules which determine sin, but through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. Others will acknowledge their sinfulness and try to be a better person. They try to live according to God’s commandments. Yet try as they might, they still fall short; by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight. James 2:9-11 says: If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. For those who would dare to boast of their righteousness, saying that they have kept the law, Jesus ups the ante regarding sin, saying in Matthew 5:21-28: “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Who then wants to stand before God based on their own righteousness?
Again, we can all be unified and equal regarding our response to sin. The text says: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. We may never be unified in our political and social beliefs, but we can all be unified in this, that: God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Regardless of anything that we might use to separate ourselves from one another, Jesus is the propitiation, the atoning sacrifice for the sins of whoever will believe in Him. No where else in human philosophy or regulations does such equality exist. Matthew 19:25-26 says: When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You that You are no respecter of people; that You do not judge us according to the many ways that we separate ourselves from each other. But instead, regardless of who we are and what we have done, You judge us all equally, according to how we respond to the sacrifice of Christ for our sin. Thank You that no human philosophy or institution can create equality among people, but with God all things are possible,” through Christ the Lord and Savior of all. Amen.