But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Rom. 3:21-26

Dear Lord Jesus, on this last day of October, as I meditate through this wonderful portion of your Word, I realize we’re no less in need of the gospel of your grace than Martin Luther was on October 31, 1517, when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the front door of the Castle Church, in Wittenberg, Germany.

Until the Day you return to finish making all things new, we will always need to be coming back to the gospel, because we lose the gospel so easily. On this Reformation Day, 2013, I praise you, for the unsearchable riches of the gospel, Lord Jesus.

Indeed, through the gospel, I have discovered the depths of my need and the provision of a perfect righteousness, which comes to us freely and fully, by grace through faith. Hallelujah, a zillion times over, for the gospel!

Jesus, I never needed you to give me a second chance or to be a moral model for me to follow. I never needed a spectacular religious experience or a new set of rules to obey. I needed you to live a life of perfect obedience for me, as my substitute—the second Adam. I needed you to fulfill all the demands of the law for me. Thank you for doing this perfectly.

And I needed you to take my place upon the cross, receiving the punishment I deserve for all the ways I fall short of God’s glory: breaking, ignoring, and going way beyond his law; and worst of all, worshiping other gods. Hallelujah, I no longer despair of my guilt or remain in doubt about what God thinks about me. God now rejoices over me, where condemnation once hung over me. I am free forever!

I can’t even take credit for the faith, which enabled me to receive gospel-righteousness. This too is a gift from you, Lord Jesus! So on this Reformation Day, I once again affirm today that my hope is built on nothing less, nothing more, and nothing other than your blood and your righteousness. On you, Lord Jesus, the solid and saving Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. Keep bringing me back to the gospel, Jesus; keep bringing me back to the gospel plus nothing, as my everything. So very Amen I pray, in your most holy and gracious name.

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Scotty Smith


Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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