Change of Focus

Romans 3:9-20 (ESV)

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

I skipped the last part of Chapter two and first part of chapter three, because we have looked at the same concepts a lot lately. This one wraps it up. Neatly. The principle here that I want to look at is that this passage points out clearly that we are all sinners and in need of redemption, because as the last verse points out, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” The Law was given, not to justify, but to show us that we cannot be justified by works.

An old psychology trick is for the professor to tell his students NOT to think about elephants. What do you think the class thinks about? That is correct, pencils. No, they of course think about elephants. Because the Law teaches us about sin, we think about the sin. Then we do the sin. Even though we know better, the more we think about it, the more we desire it.

So now what do we do? Think on better things. Think about Grace. Think about mercy. When we dwell on the gift of God–eternal life–we will desire it. If we desire God’s gift of life, we will focus on the things that please God.

We need to change our focus to please God. I want to do what is pleasing to Him. This is how we meditate on positive things. Just as thinking about sin will lead us toward sin, thinking about grace and mercy will lead us toward positive things. If I focus on holiness, I will grow toward holiness.

My prayer for each of us today, is that the Lord would lead us toward Himself more each day. Lord let me meditate on You and Your holiness. Let me grow in Grace, living the way You want me to.

by Virgil Stripes

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