“Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin’?” Prov. 20:9 (NLT)
The Apostle Paul has an answer for the question raised in Proverbs 20:9, “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure and free from sin’?” In Romans 3:10, Paul declares, “No one is righteous – not even one.” You don’t have to be a theologian to understand what he is saying. As much as our culture would like to dismiss it, sin is a problem. It’s a problem for us all. Later in verse 23, Paul adds,
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
But, wait! Before you retreat in hopelessness, there is a positive presupposition to this negative reality. If we’ve all fallen short of God’s glorious standard, then, there must be a glorious standard that God has placed before us! In fact, the word “sin” is an archery term and simply means “missing the mark”. When an archer sins, he misses the bull’s eye, the target set before him. God has a target, a bull’s eye for each of us to hit. He calls it His glorious standard. He has purposed a glory for each of us that can only be experienced when we deal with this problem of sin. But, how? Thankfully, the third chapter of Romans doesn’t end with verse 23. In verses 24 – 26, the Bible says,
“Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous.” (Wait – What? How could we as sinners be “declared righteous”?)
“He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those wo sinned in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He declares sinners to be right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.”
Knowing that we could never absolve ourselves, God dealt with the problem of sin in our lives. That’s the good news! We can experience the glory of being forgiven and rightly related to God through faith when we acknowledge our sin, turn from it, and accept the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. None of this can be achieved by our efforts or merit. It is a gift to be received!
“He declares sinners to be right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.”
Do you believe this? Have you dealt with the problem of sin in your own life? Your heart can be cleansed. You can be pure and free from the guilt and bondage of sin. Open your heart to Christ. He sacrificed His life and shed His own blood for you. Believe in Him today and receive forgiveness. Begin to live in the freedom and power of the risen Christ. That’s His glorious standard of living!