In Romans, chapter five, Paul tells us that sin entered the world through Adam. Death came as a direct result of Adam’s sin. Because every person sins, death spread to everyone and death reigned over the human race. But Adam’s sin is only half of the story.

Through the death of Jesus Christ, God offered life to everyone who would receive it. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Yet, Paul emphasizes something more than eternal life in this passage. Four times in Romans 5:15-16, Paul speaks of “the gift.” In verse 17, he says it outright, “the free gift of righteousness.” Not simply the desire to become righteous, not only the power to live righteously, but actual — though completely undeserved — righteousness.

Elsewhere, Paul puts it this way: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God sees you as righteous.

Though our minds can’t comprehend it, it’s true. God, in His abundant grace, performed a great exchange. Jesus became sin. We become the righteousness of God. When you accepted that God raised Jesus from the dead for your salvation and confessed Jesus as your Lord, you received the free gift of righteousness.

Embrace this free gift. Throw off sinful habits and evil desires through the Spirit’s power. Live a holy life. That is who you are.

Holy God, part of me balks at the idea that I am righteous, yet you said in your word that you give me righteousness as a free gift. Help me to receive it and live in that reality. Amen.

Go Deeper — Draw or print out a photo of a gift. Cut it out and place it in your wallet. Use it as a reminder that you have been given the greatest gift of all — righteousness over sin, bought by Jesus’ sacrifice.

Tags: Romans Romans 5
Photo Credit: Jace Grandinetti