Sometimes I struggle when I read the Bible. It sorts people into two
groups: the righteous and the wicked. It says God blesses the righteous and
punishes the wicked. That sounds kind of good, right? Justice. We should
all want that. My problem is, I often don’t feel like the righteous guy.
When I read: don’t covet (don’t want something that belongs to someone
else), don’t lie, love God and people, and on and on in my mind, I hear:
“fail, fail, fail.” And even when I try to improve, I’m never quite as good
as that righteous guy. I’m pretty wicked.
Does this mean I need to watch out for God’s punishment? What do I do? This
is when Jesus helps me. Hey, He’s our Savior for a reason, right?
Jesus hung out with a lot of wicked people: adulterers, fraudulent tax
collectors, sinners. I’m like, Yeah, I’m one of those sinners! It makes
you wonder, why would Jesus hang out with them? If God loves the righteous
and is mad at the wicked, why wouldn’t Jesus avoid them or bring on some
lightning strikes? The Pharisees, who worked hard to follow God’s commands
and felt pretty righteous, wondered the same thing. They asked Jesus what
He was doing. Jesus replied, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but
the sick .I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Matthew
What? Jesus says He’s here for the wicked? Yup. Jesus is the Savior. He
came to help people. Guess who needs help? Wicked sinners! And guess who’s
a sinner according to Romans 3:23? Everybody! Guess who’s righteous?
Nobody! (Not even the Pharisees.) The amazing truth of the gospel is that
Jesus Christ, who never sinned, took our sins on Himself when He went to
the cross, and then He rose from the dead, so that in him we might become
the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). No matter how wicked we
are, in Christ, we become the righteous. He takes our sin and gives us His
righteousness. What a Savior, huh? Carlita Southworth
Read Matthew 9:9-13. What did Jesus say to the people who thought they
were wicked? What did He say to the people who thought they were righteous?
Jesus freely gives us His righteousnessit’s not something we have to
earn. And once we’ve put our trust in Jesus, we don’t have to sin anymore
because the Holy Spirit in us enables us to turn away from sin and follow
God’s good ways. How might Jesus be inviting you to follow Him today? What
might it look like to follow Jesus out of love and gratitude, not
obligation or fear?
God made him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in him we
might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)