May 21

…sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4, KJV

We all too easily measure our righteousness, and therefore our rightness, with God by little rules we have kept. We have a well-ordered life without lies or crimes. The danger is that we become satisfied with a life that does not ‘transgress’ our code of conduct. But sin is not failing in some personal standards; it is failing to meet up to the standards set by God for human conduct. God has set these standards in the Law of Moses, and then shown them lived out perfectly in the Person of His Son. God has put within us a conscience that trembles at the example and lifting up of Jesus, as we realise that we so completely fall short of God’s righteousness. We have sinned, and we do well to name it as sin. But the lifting up of Jesus causes us not only to tremble but also to believe, for He is not like the Law. He is not cold, impassive and made of stone. He has brought the righteousness of God within our reach. God in Christ, the perfect man, reaches down not to condemn but to save. Christ is God’s righteousness, and He gathers us up and lifts us to Himself, enfolding us in that marvellous strength that washes and empowers. Don’t measure your life by some petty rules, but measure yourself by your relationship with Jesus.