The Rapture is getting closer by the day. The Church's days on Earth are clearly numbered and whether we're taken up this year or not it's certainly not too soon to prepare. With that in mind we'll begin a study of Paul's Letter to the Romans, the Gospel according to Paul.
Paul continues his view of the world’s spiritual condition. Remember, he’s not writing about believers here. His intent in this introductory survey is to show that everyone needs the Gospel, whether Jew or Gentile. But I’m going to treat some of this as if it applies to us as well,
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.
Paul spent the better part of three chapters showing us man's desperate need for a savior. Any righteousness we can earn on our own is clearly inadequate to meet God's standards. We need to acquire a righteousness equal to His in order to dwell in His presence.
Having had a righteousness from God imputed to us by faith apart from the Law, we now have the choice to live a life of holiness. No longer enslaved to our sin nature, we can rise above any self-destructive behavior that has caused us, and those around us, sorrow in the past.