In yesterday’s reading, Paul helped us come to the realization that the Law cannot make us right with God. The purpose of the Law is to help us understand our sin. It does not cause us to sin; it merely makes us aware of the sin that’s in our lives. From where, then, does our righteousness come?

If we come to the realization that we cannot earn our righteousness by following the letter of the Law, then what hope do we have? Where can we turn? These are questions that people struggle with. People who think that all they have to do is be a good person and God will accept them. People who think they can earn their place in heaven – whatever that even means.

But Paul speaks against this. In today’s passage from Romans 4, Paul lets us know the true path to righteousness.

When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners (Romans 4:4-5).

It is through our faith that we find righteousness. Self-righteousness is a character flaw, and is not righteousness at all. True righteousness comes from our connection with the Lord. If we ever get to the point when we are pointing at our own accomplishments as proof of our righteousness, and doing so in a prideful way, then we have lost our way. We have become self-righteous.

Living by faith is a difficult thing to do at times. We are told over and over again that you have to earn things in life, but the good news of the gospel is that there are some things that cannot be earned, but are only received by grace through faith. Thank the Lord, because I know I couldn’t do it on my own. And maybe coming to that realization is the first step to righteousness.