Who can say, “I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin”?
Romans 3:23–24 (NIV)
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Self-righteousness and self-justification abound today in every quarter. The sexual radicals say that sexual orientation, identity, activity, and expression are a matter of personal choice. It’s no sin to express oneself in a manner unlike others. Others make the moral equivelence argument: My misdemeanor is not as evil as the dangers of global warming or income inequity. Still others speak of the evil of illegal immigration while they justify paying immigrant workers (legal or illegal) a barely-living-wage.
This is no mere political observation nor a political commentary on any of these things. My point is that sin is rampant and often denied. And people of all kinds and stripes are trying to justify themselves. Still others are very willing to overlook their own sins while pointing to the sins of others.
“All have sinned,” says Paul. We’ve all “fallen short of the glory of God.” Proverbs tells us, “No one can say, ‘I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin.'” Our relief from this is not in self-justification, self-righteousness, or denial of facts. Relief is in Jesus Christ alone. Through him, through faith in him, we are justified. We are declared righteous for the sake of Jesus’ redemptive death and victorious resurrection from the grave.
Here’s what became of sin: it wasn’t denied. It wasn’t excused. It wasn’t equivocated. It was taken into the body and soul of Jesus Christ, punished and atoned for and nailed to the cross on which Jesus died. Those who seek refuge in him and in that wonderful grace are declared righteous. What we could never do for ourselves God has done for us in his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Thanks be to God!