“For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
Are you a Mizzou fan or a KU fan? A Royals fan or a Cardinals fan? A new resident of Concordia or part of a multi-generation family? Are you a democratic or a republican? We like to make distinctions in our lives based on numerous things. We make distinctions based on our culture; we make distinctions based on our economic status, on our sports allegiances. You name it; we probably will make a distinction based on it.
Why do we do this? Often times it is because we like to feel good about ourselves and at least equal to, if not superior than those around us. We put ourselves in groups and aspire to be in these groups and then feel good about ourselves because we’re not a part of all of those other groups that we consider to be inferior. Maybe you have heard a conversation like this: “Who do you cheer for?” “I’m a Mizzou fan” “Oh, good, at least you’re not a KU fan.” I’ve heard this one on numerous occasions. Fill in any of the categories you can think of and you’ll probably find someone having the same conversation.
Paul dealt with distinctions in his time too and we hear about them in our reading for today. He was writing to the church in Rome that was made up of both Jews and Roman citizens. The Jews believed that since they had the law and the heritage through Abraham that they had superior status in the churches. But Paul has something else to say about them and about all people. After building his case for three chapters he finally delivers a knockout punch to the idea that there are superior and inferior people before God. Our text today says “for there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No distinction. How about that? We are all on the same playing field. Whether you are a Mizzou fan or a KU fan, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, life time resident or brand new to the community, it doesn’t matter we are all sinners and have all fallen short of God’s law and of his glory.
Fortunately for us the story doesn’t stop there. Otherwise it would be pretty depressing. Paul goes on to say that we are justified by God’s grace as a gift through the redemption won by Christ Jesus on the cross. This is great news! No matter what groups you identify with, God sent his son to die on the cross for you. Jesus rose from the dead for you to win your salvation. Through baptism, God adopts us as his children and makes us heirs of eternal life. Heir of eternal life through Christ Jesus, now there’s a distinction worth having!
Let us pray:
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for sending your son Jesus into the world. Help us to stop making distinctions in our lives in order to feel superior than others. Help us to show love to others as you have shown to us so that they may come to know the forgiveness and life that is found only through your free gift of grace. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen