Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
Romans 3:19-24 (NIV)
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
God gave the people of Israel a lot of laws to follow, but we usually only focus on the 10 Commandments. They are guidelines to live by, but here, Paul points another reason why God gives laws: to expose sins! (See verse 20). Every time we feel unworthy, that is the law telling us we are not good enough. In this sense, laws might be from God, like “Thou shall not lie” or they might be social “laws” coming at us every day that tells us we are not pretty enough, smart enough, or successful enough. It might be a self-imposed shame that our Christmas decorations are not Pinterest-worthy or we see that someone on Facebook posted another perfect picture of their perfect family being perfectly sweet and loving and it makes you feel like a failure. The law weighs us down and kills us. It tells us that we must either be perfect or give up trying altogether. Then Jesus steps in and gives us His righteousness and His perfection simply because He loves us. We do not need to be perfect or live up to some culturally or self-imposed ideal! As the Apostle Paul puts it, we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.” You are loved… No strings attached!