Read: Romans 4:6-8
For my birthday last year, a friend of mine was nice enough to give me a card with a coupon to a nice restaurant. Later, when I opened the card, I saw that the coupon was for double what we would normally spend! When my wife and I were finally able to go to the restaurant, we ordered without any of our normal concerns about spending too much. Because my friend had already covered our bill through the coupon, we could fully enjoy our night out.
After using Abraham as an example at the beginning of Romans 4, Paul then draws upon the words of David. David writes about how blessed and happy a man is to be counted as righteous in God’s eyes. David spoke from experience. He committed his fair share of sins. After all, he caused the death of one of his soldiers to cover up his sin of adultery. But after being confronted by the prophet Nathan, he confessed his sin. After repenting, he experienced the incredible forgiveness of God.
Paul uses David’s words to shed more light on what he has been saying in the preceding verses: our righteousness is a gift from God that is not contingent on our works. This new identity found only in Christ cannot be earned or bought; only God, in His goodness, gives it, and He gives it to those who least deserve it.
For some of us, our identities before Christ may be something of which we are ashamed. It could have been a life of sinful pleasure. For others, it might not be overtly sinful, but it was certainly centered around our own desires, not God’s will. We carry this shame even after we have trusted in Christ and God has declared us righteous. Have you ever been around a friend who you have forgiven? You yourself may be “over it”, but they are not; they continue to bring it up and apologize for the same thing even though you have already told them, “It’s ok.” They have not fully accepted that they have been forgiven by you.
It can be easy to think that God only tolerates us. But that is the complete opposite of what Paul and David understand. Quite the contrary, the man or woman who has been given a new identity in Christ can live a blessed and happy life, without the guilt and shame of their old identity hanging over their heads. What a life that is!
Today, do you truly believe that your new identity in Christ has done away with your old one? Are you fully living your life in Christ? Or, are you still holding onto the baggage and guilt of that old way of life? Perhaps today, you can join David in saying, “Blessed is the person whose sins have been forgiven!”