Thursday, May 21

I can’t—He can!

Scripture: 1 Kings 8, 2 Chronicles 5, Psalm 99, Romans 3

Romans 3:20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.


Romans 3 is where Paul unpacks the great truth of justification by faith through grace—not by works.  We are saved by trusting what God has done for us, not by relying on what we do for Him.  DO vs DONE.  

V. 20 is a short and very clear statement on the what the law (ie. keeping the law of God revealed in the Old Testament) can and cannot do for us.

It cannot make anyone right with God.  No one can keep the law perfectly—or even come close.  We cannot be “good enough” on our own efforts to earn God’s approval.  Period.

It can show us how sinful we are, how far short we fall.  The effect of this should be to drive us to Jesus and to God’s grace.  I can’t—but He can.  I didn’t—but He did.  So instead of relying on myself and what I can do, I trust in Him and what He has done.


What a change this makes to our relationship with God!  Instead of fearfully working to earn His favor, I gratefully accept His favor as a gift paid for by Jesus.  Instead of focusing on what I do for Him, I focus on what He’s done for me—and that results in happily doing what He wants out of gratitude and love.  

Many years ago, a dear friend took me shopping and bought me an expensive home stereo system.  It was a surprise and a gift of pure grace—undeserved.  I was overwhelmed and stunned.  I couldn’t repay him and didn’t try—but I did express my gratitude openly and often, and if there was ever anything I could do for him, I happily did it.

Jesus did something like that (only much better) for me.  He chose me, saved me, forgave me, changed me, filled me and gave me a new life.  It was a gift of pure grace—totally undeserved.  I express my gratitude openly and often, and whatever I can do for Him, I happily do!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for what You have DONE for me—thank you, thank you, thank you!