By faith

Today’s readings are 2 Chron 27 and Romans 3:21-31, and at first reading, they might appear to be saying almost contradictory things. Compare 2 Chron 27:2 where it says of Jotham, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord,” and Rom 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. How can we reconcile these two apparently different views of righteousness?

While these passages appear to be opposites, they are actually in significant agreement. It would be wrong to read into this brief summary of Jotham’s rule as king that he was justified (that is made right with God) because he did what was right or because he was somehow without sin. There is a clue to what verse 2 means, in verse 6: “Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God.”

As we flip over to the new testament we see that God has always saved his people through faith, not by works at all. It was Jotham’s faith that made him righteous, not his righteousness that made him faithful. In verse 27 we read that “the law requires faith”.

Verse 22 tells us that “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe”. Righteousness is not of our own doing, it is given to us if we believe. Paul spells this out further in Galatians 3:11 “Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because ‘the righteous will live by faith.’”

Lord help me to live by faith today. Help me fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

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