There aren’t any among men who are “righteous.” There aren’t any who measure up to the standard God has set for full acceptance by Him. Paul makes that perfectly clear in Romans 3:23-24. The Living Bible puts it this way, “Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us ‘not guilty’ of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.” This has been true since the beginning of creation with the first two people on earth and stands true for us today: “All have sinned.” This is even true for the holy tribe of Levi and the priestly line of Aaron. They were sinners like the rest of us. It is within the full realm of our sin that they operated. No one has lived up to God’s ideal except one! The law exposes all of our sins and operates in that environment. But God promised us redemption through the work and sacrifice of the one and only perfect one. Hebrews 7:28 says, “For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”

Sinners come to God bowed and contrite. That’s our only approach to God. When Jesus was in the temple with his disciples he pointed out the publican and the Pharisee. The Pharisee prayed a prayer focusing on his own goodness, reciting the good things he did and the bad things he avoided. It was all about his efforts and deeds and he presented himself as deserving of God’s acceptance. The Publican, the tax collector, the sinner, bowed his head in deep remorse and acknowledges his profound sinfulness. He didn’t confess a particular sin, he just acknowledged the true condition of his sinful heart. Luke 18:13-14 recounts Jesus’ explanation of the story for us. It says, “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.”

But Jesus is the perfect sacrifice and the perfect savior. He makes us something we could never be or never make ourselves. He makes us perfect. In Jude’s closing verses (24-25), he praises God for this truth and says, “Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever.” What the law and the works of man could never accomplish, Jesus accomplishes for us. We can’t add anything to it and we can’t take anything away from it! All sinners can’t even lift their eyes to heaven but are bowed under the weight of their sin whether they know it or not. But Jesus is able to make us “stand” in God’s holy presence, blameless! Thank you, Jesus!