Romans chapter three builds a case for the revolutionary idea that God demands perfect righteousness from us. All of us have sinned, and God’s wrath against sin is enormous and should never be underestimated. But God supplies what He demands by conferring the righteousness of Jesus on those who believe. This gift is called justification.
Our best attempts at goodness will never please God, who sees every act of human goodness as a filthy rag, compared to His own righteousness. Even the best of lives—filled with charity, philanthropy, and service—is tainted and unsuitable for entrance into heaven. Only God has a plan that will save us and take away the stain of our sinful natures and attempts for self-salvation.
Religion can prevent people from understanding the truth about themselves. Religion can breed the pride that says, “I’m okay.” In Romans chapter two, Paul addresses the religious elite of his day, and shows how ceremony and ritual had insulated them from God’s analysis of their hearts. Self-deception is especially deep when expressed in religious terms. Let’s discover why we need rescuing so badly.
Jesus once spoke of a coming judgment of the nations designed to separate the sheep from the goats. When He spoke of this in Matthew 25, He made it clear that there are only two destinies for any of us. Let’s think carefully about the future, and why today is the day to believe on Christ.
Many of us have the idea that God owes us His favor. After all, we’re Americans. But as we run the race of life, let’s ask ourselves if God owes us anything. After examining the evidence, we might conclude that what He owes us is judgment. Let’s consider what God thinks of the USA.
The blessings of God are bestowed on people and nations that follow His commands. His judgment takes many forms, like natural disasters and the deprivation of personal freedoms. Let’s take a look at more forms of judgment that are very evident in America now.
Sometimes it seems that the bad guys keep winning. Terrorism and mayhem are everywhere. Some ask: “Is God still in control?” But we must remember that justice delayed is not justice denied. There will be a day of reckoning for both men and nations. God doesn’t ignore national sins and will hold a country accountable for its actions and attitudes.
Some think random chance dictates what happens on planet earth. But believers have this perspective: The Bible reveals God as more than just a bystander. He actively determines the fates of nations. God superintends what we consider history; and ultimately nations rise and fall at God’s will.
The American ideal of free speech is in tatters. Now, it's only free if you agree with the mainstream media. Freedom is in mortal danger even when we worship, as police knock on church doors like they did in Nazi Germany.
Terrorism. Famines. Assassinations. What does God have to do with the events we read about in our newspaper? When things seem to slip out of control, don't forget this: The God who made the nations is moving them into position for the climax of this present age.