Friday, September 3, 2010

Righteous vs. Unrighteous

Proverbs 24:16 For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

This verse is so heartening to sinners like myself. I can't tell you how often I need to come to the ocean of free grace and drink away my failings and shortcomings. Many people are so gifted at so many things, yet I seem to only be an expert at letting God down, failing in righteousness, and reverting back to my struggles and sins.

I can't tell you how many times a day I must come to the well and withdraw grace and forgiveness for my failures, it often seems an almost consistent and never ceasing need of God's mercy. I will say that I find verses like Romans 8:1 and Proverbs 24:16 helpful to ward off the shame and guilt that seems to plague my so constant failures.

It is so beautiful and liberating that the difference between the righteous man or woman and unrighteous isn't an issue of moral perfection. It isn't a difference of less failures and sins. It isn't an issue of tally marks for good behavior, it is a heart issue of desiring God, desiring to be with a clean, pure Savior in spite of all of my garbage and filth. It is the desire that drives us to rise again and be with Him after our 7th or 10,000th failure. The righteousness comes not from having less failures than the unrighteous, it comes from God and is displayed by rising again after every fall, every failure.

As one who loves God imperfectly, one who can't seem to get it right so much of the time, how freeing it is to realize that there is no shame, no condemnation, no guilt anymore in Christ. That has been lifted, that guilty verdict was already delivered to me and carried by my Jesus in AD 33. Now no matter how many times I fall, there is always enough grace to allow me to relinquish shame and guilt, to stand up once more through the Cross, and to rediscover the infinite treasure that is Christ.

Want freedom, don't strive towards moral perfection, strive to recognize the magnanimity of Grace in Jesus and display that Grace by depending on Him for the strength to rise again, and again, and again.

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