Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Good News

The Good News About Sin

A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“For 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.” 
– Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)

I’ve written before how Romans is probably my favorite book of the Bible. I return to it again and again. Reading Romans steadies my steps when I’m feeling spiritually depleted, when my thoughts get clouded with too much cultural chaos, when I'm getting too much of this world and not enough of the next.

Consider Romans 8:38 (NLT): “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” How is that for a game-changer? When I’m desperate to grab some peace in the storm of a crisis or the quiet of existential dread, I remember this verse and know that, irrespective of all that, God is Provident and I am His.

The verse above is another foundational truth, one that I think is easy to gloss over. Many of us first came to faith in Jesus Christ at Vacation Bible School or Sunday School. We grew up “Christian”, so it was easy to assume that the adults around you were sinless superhumans who were naturally good. You may have even gotten the idea that there were “good” and “bad” people in this world. But it’s a lie. We’re all bad. It’s only through God's free and gracious gift of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ that any of us are redeemed. Even the most good, nicest person at your church was drowning in sin when God brought them to faith.

There is no way that we can rescue ourselves from sin. No one is immune from sin no matter how well they were raised, how hard they work, the number of good things they do—sin is in all of us. Paul here is addressing the belief that Jews were somehow closer to redemption than Gentiles. His point is clear: We are all sinners. I find some peace in that when I look at heroes of the faith. They struggled with sin like the rest of us. No one is born into this world naturally good. But Jesus can save any of us.

The other foundational truth here is that it’s by Grace alone that we are saved. There’s not a single redeeming quality in my person that leads God to save me. No, Christ’s sacrifice alone can save the human soul. 

There is a scene in C.S. Lewis’s book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, that has stuck with me for years. Near the end, we find Eustace, transformed into a dragon and desperate to return to the boy he once was, clawing at his scales. Regardless of how hard he scrapes, and the obvious pain that he causes himself, it’s only Aslan’s claws that can free him. It’s the same way with garden-variety sin in our lives. Only Jesus can free us. And there’s great freedom in that. We can give up our pathetic efforts and throw ourselves on His mercy and be saved.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for the sacrifice of your Son (Jesus Christ) to save us from sin and death. Help us to share this good news with the world. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

She began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. After publishing a few short pieces in her college’s literary magazine she took a long hiatus during which she embarked on a few different careers, got married, had three kids, and renovated an old barn masquerading as a house.

Her most recent work, The Redemption Road, finished the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty. She and her family live along the coast of New England.

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