22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)
This is another passage that scares the theologians. It speaks of righteousness that comes from God to all who believe in Jesus.
In religious churches, this passage will only be used in evangelistic rally to induce people to become Christians and members of their church. After the victims (converts) became Christians, they were told that God expects them to be righteous. Being righteous means obeying the list of dos and don’ts from the church.
Whatever the variation on the meaning of the word “righteous” among religious churches, the common denominator is, it is something we must do to please God or he might give us some thorns in the flesh to show us his sufficient grace.
Yet, the above passage tells us otherwise. Being righteous is not the result of what we do or what we have done. It is a gift, given to us the moment we believe in Jesus. Verse 22 tells us very clearly that righteousness comes from God and we receive it through faith in Jesus. So, it has nothing to do with whether we have sinned or not sinned.
Verse 23 to 24 elaborate further on the issue of sin. All of us have sinned and fell short of the glory of God. However, Jesus’ works at the Cross, had caused us to be justified freely by his grace. This means the moment we believed, God sees us as righteous regardless of all our actions: past, present and future. Whatever sins you have committed will not make any difference.
Here is the shocking part. If you are a Christian, you can sin all you want. God still sees you as righteous and your place in heaven is still guaranteed. Those who cannot comprehend this truth will use the term “cheap grace” to persecute true Christians like myself. Regardless of their persecution, the truth prevails. The above passage has made it clear.
This also means that when you see true Christians like myself not living in sin, it is because sin is no longer my nature. I am not threatened nor blackmailed into living holy life. I live holy life because holiness is my nature. This is the true Christian living.