Romans 3:21–24 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
“Pastor, I’m troubled. I’m not righteous, and as I read the Bible, it keeps saying that God will bless the righteous. Pastor, I’m in trouble.” The man was clearly distressed. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop himself from sinning. Neither can we. How can we hope to be righteous? How can we hope to enjoy any blessings, especially forgiveness and eternal life, if we don’t live the way God wants us to? Martin Luther felt the same way early in his life.
There was once an insurance salesman named Max. He was a good salesman. If one of his clients missed a premium payment, Max quickly mailed him an empty envelope. Then Max called him a few days later and asked if he got a letter from him. The client would say that he got an envelope but there was nothing in it. Then Max would say, “That’s exactly what you’d get if you needed your insurance today, because you haven’t sent in your premium.” Max said that the person always sent in his payment after that.
We might accuse Max of using pressure to get money out of people. We could also say that Max was honest. He was simply letting people know that they weren’t covered by their insurance policy if they didn’t pay their premiums. But what if, instead of sending an empty envelope, Max sent the money for the premiums to the people? Then they would have what they needed. Their debt would be paid in full. They would have insurance coverage.
That’s what Jesus does for us. We don’t have the righteousness we owe God. So Jesus gives us what we owe. Jesus paid our debt in full when he died on Calvary’s cross. We have eternal life insurance. Paul explained that the Bible (“the Law and the Prophets”) lets us know about this righteousness that comes to us from God. It doesn’t matter who you are, all people have sinned and all people are justified (declared righteous) in God’s sight. God declared the world righteous because of what Jesus did. Don’t worry about being righteous enough. Through faith in Jesus, you possess his righteousness.