Two years ago as I was driving to church for Easter morning services, I had this great insight: I can’t do anything to take back the resurrection of Jesus. I can’t do anything to screw it up. It’s already happened, and I can’t do anything to take it back.
You may read this and think, “Um…what’s your point?” But this was really good news for me, because I typically have what I call an “Anti-Messiah” Complex. If a Messiah Complex is when someone thinks they’re a savior of something, then an “Anti-Messiah Complex” is when someone thinks they’re going to screw everything up. That’s typically what I think of myself. If there’s something that can be messed up, I can do it!
I thought of this as I was reading Romans 3 this morning. Romans 3:3-4 says, “What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar…” A point I think the author Paul is trying to make here is that our unfaithfulness to God can never invalidate God’s faithfulness. Can I do anything that takes back what God has done? Can I do anything to make God give up on me or not forgive me or stop loving me? Paul says, “Absolutely not!” There is nothing any of us can do to get God to stop caring about us, loving us, or pursuing a relationship with us. Nothing. This is what it means to say that God is “faithful.” God never fails, never stops, never gives up.
Verses 21-25 also talk about the faithfulness of God and how God’s faithfulness through Jesus makes it possible for us to be in a right relationship with God. There are many people who pull out verse 23 to talk about how sin makes us incapable of a relationship with God. It says, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory…” However, the same people rarely point out that the sentence continues in verse 24, “But all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus.”
The word “righteous” simply means to be in a “right relationship” with God. An important point Paul is trying to make is that no matter how badly we’ve screwed things up, through Jesus God treats us as though we haven’t. Through Jesus, all people in all times and all places and all circumstances in all kinds of situations can have a right relationship with God regardless of who we’ve been, of what we’ve done, of how we’ve messed up. Thank God for that!