Let’s figure out what’s right with God, what is correct, what is true…the problem is that the best answer for what’s right with God is not that helpful, because the most comprehensive answer is EVERYTHING. That’s too much to grasp.
I see Romans chapter 3 as a challenge to look at God’s interaction in this world in a positive light… focus on Rom. 3:21-26. What’s right about God, what is it about his character that makes him approachable. What is it about God’s desires that make us acceptable. Rather than conclude that EVERYTHING is right with God, I find it more helpful to take a few good and positive truths about God, so I can have a better chance and grasping the rightness of God, the good and positive, the awesomeness of God. I think that you will find that God is incredibly personal, he is engaged in this world, he has provided a solution in order to have a good relationship with us.
Knowing what’s right with God gives us incentive to embrace God, to grow in our faith, to love God, to serve God. We live in a skeptical world, a world that doubts, a world that rejects too easily, a world that takes the easy way out by believing in nothing! Romans three is a cry to move from being a skeptic to an embracer, to enlarge our grasp of God – Yes we are sinners, but the rightness of God overshadows the wrongness of the world. The rightness of God is big enough to trump the sins of the world! The rightness of God is worth knowing. What’s right with God?
A simple outline for this message: Work our way through Rom. 3:21-26 and I’ve tried to find a simple everyday word to describe what’s right about God….
**** 21 But now God's way of putting people right with himself has been revealed. It has nothing to do with law, even though the Law of Moses and the prophets gave their witness to it.
What’s right with God? God is TRANSPARENT. No hidden agenda…hidden agendas are common, trying to figure out what people really want, what is being hidden. Probably everyone of us is scrutinized by others to see if they can figure out what the hidden agenda is. People around Sumas want to know what I really want, are my words straight-forward or is there something sinister, a trick… That is what people do with God, only on a much larger scale and far more profound: Who is God? Is he real? Is he personal? Does he care? What does he really want?
What’s right about God is that there is no hidden agenda. People will test him, try to figure out what God is really about – go ahead and take the time you need, God has patience. But in the end, you will discover God is transparent, he is who he says he is, has the power that he proclaims, motivated by love… God's way of putting people right with himself has been revealed….
**** 22 God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. What’s right about God? SIMPLER THAN WE EVER IMAGINED. Knowing God is not complex. You don’t need a college degree, don’t have to come from the right family, don’t need the right background.
Some relationships are so complex… some relationships are so conditional… with God its simple. Not a matter of accomplishing the right thing. Faith means to believe in God even when everything does not add up as far as the eye can see. We can learn about faith from a child. Here’s a story that makes me cry:
David, a 2-year old with leukemia, was taken by his mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman's prognosis was devastating: "He has a 50-50 chance." The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear and pain--the mother's ordeal can be almost as bad as the child's because she must stand by, unable to bear the pain herself. David never cried in the waiting room, and although his friends in the clinic had to hurt him and stick needles in him, he hustled in ahead of his mother with a smile, sure of the welcome he always got. When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap--a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that, because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. "If it hurts, remember it's because he loves you," Deborah said. The procedure was horrendous. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, "Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for my hurting." (Monica Dickens, Miracles of Courage, 1985.)
A life of faith is to believe in the face of reasons not to. To hold on… simple faith, simple belief. What’s right about God is that the way to know him is simple: faith, believing in God even when your own life is out of control.
**** God does this to all who believe in Christ…: STANDARDS, GOD DOES NOT FORCE HIMSELF ON YOU. It’s your choice. God is no tyrant, for those who choose to believe it is an incredible step of faith. He demands nothing, but gives you a true choice. The words of Eleanor Roosevelt ring true: One's philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.
to all who believe in Christ God is a God of standards, giving you a choice.
**** 23 everyone has sinned and is far away from God's saving presence. ACCEPTS EVERYONE. God casts a wide net… I’ve heard one of the objections of Christianity is that the way is narrow. It’s true. The Bible does say the road is narrow. The Bible does say that to have a right relationship with God you need to have faith in Jesus Christ, to accept his death for the forgiveness of sins, to believe that he rose again and lives within all those who invite him into their hearts. God does have standards and does not force people to accept him. But the flip side is that everyone is eligible. Everyone is a sinner and is therefore on the same playing field as everyone else. The road is narrow, but anyone is welcome to walk the road. This is no exclusive club. What’s right with God…
**** 24 But by the free gift of God's grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free.FREEDOM GIVER 25-26 What’s right with God is that he gives freedom, liberation from worry, from the need to control, the need to know, the bondage of having conditions to make you happy,
**** God offered him, so that by his blood he should become the means by which people's sins are forgiven through their faith in him. RESTORER. What’s right with God is that he restores. The only thing more amazing than God’s creation, is when God re-creates us. He restores us. When a house is too far gone it is much easer it tear it down and start over, with God, you are never beyond restoration. Never beyond hope. I had a conversation with a mother this week in which she absolutely refused to give up on her son no matter how far he was removed from making good choices, no matter how much his life was compromised, many in the community have given up, she has friends that tell her she needs to make different decisions, but how much I have learned from her as she refuses to give up and will continue to believe that God will restore him. We even took some time imagining what her son will look like when he once again commits his life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and what an awesome person he will be when he gives his life to God….she refused to give him over to Satan, refused to give up on him. How much more God, he is in the restoration business… I had a friend that enjoyed restoring old cars, junk that looked like nothing hauled from the dump, and the gleaming red convertible when he was finished. That’s God. What’s right with him is that he restores.
**** God did this in order to demonstrate that he is righteous. CONSISTENT: WORDS AND ACTIONS MATCH. HE WANTS TO BE OBVIOUS. In the past he was patient and overlooked people's sins; but in the present time he deals with their sins, in order to demonstrate his righteousness. In this way God shows that he himself is righteous and that he puts right everyone who believes in Jesus.
A teacher gives mixed messages to students, parents sometime respond harshly and sometime softly to the same action. That’s part of being human. Not so with God, he is consistent, he follows through, he is relentless…
We strive to be consistent: A brief, simple, but expressive eulogy was pronounced by Martin Luther upon a pastor at Zwickau in 1522 named Nicholas Haussmann. "What we preach, he lived," said the great reformer. Follow me home, look over my shoulder, and you’ll find inconsistencies in my life… but with God, he is dependable, he is consistent, he is consistent.
What’s right with God? Transparent, simple, standards yet everyone is eligible, freedom giver, restorer, consistent. God is a whole lot more than these truths, but these words are a beginning to understand… What’s right with God is that he is personal, he accepts us as we are, he has provided a way for us to be changed that is incredibly simple. Test God and see if this is not all true just as the Bible says. When you are ready, he is waiting for you, and will receive you, restore you and give you true freedom.