Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Ungodly

When you read the book of Jude, you can't miss the word "ungodly." Over and over Jude describes, in vivid, harsh terms, "ungodly" people and the evil they commit. And so we paint a portrait of these appalling, dangerous sinners; we note their wicked deeds and motives and place them in a category all their own.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I studied that word "ungodly." The Greek word is used only a handful of times in the New Testament, and guess what the first two are?

"And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness" (Romans 4:5)

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

We're quick to point at "the ungodly": those awful, immoral people who commit atrocious sins. But WE were "the ungodly"--and Christ died for us. WE are "the ungodly" whom God justified through His Son.

May this knowledge make us humble--for we are not better than "the ungodly"; any righteousness we now have that "they" lack is Christ's righteousness on our behalf. We didn't earn or achieve it ourselves; but for His grace, we would still be where they are. And may it give us hope--for if God would justify "ungodly sinners" like us, perhaps He will also yet justify those who oppose and reject Him as we once did.

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