09.5 Romans – Benchmarking

In business, we desire to assess our performance.  We measure all kinds of things.  We set goals.  We have KPIs, Key Performance Indicators.  We monitor industry numbers, the economy as a whole, and businesses in our sector.  We look for trends and strengths and areas for improvement.

We measure ourselves by benchmarks.  We grade on a curve.  Am I doing better than others?  Am I ahead in the race or falling behind?

We do the same in our lives.  We compare ourselves to others.  I’m not perfect, but I’m no____ (fill in the blank).  I went to church (check), donated clothes to the needy (check), called on sick friend (check), that’s way more than most people so I’m doing pretty good!

But, God’s law is not on a curve.  It does not care what others are doing.  It is not based on averages or norms.  It is based on the holiness and perfection of God.  God’s law is not just outward signs (check boxes), but it includes everything we think, say and do and also the things we fail to think or fail to say or fail to do.

Benchmarked against others, our sin might appear insignificant, lost in rounding.  But compared to God’s law, all sin is sin against God and sin is death.  In this way, our sin increases as we come closer in our relationship with God.  The prophets fell on their face at the sound of God’s voice struck by their own impurity in relationship to His.  Isaiah said, when he came into the presence of God, I am a man of unclean lips, woe to me.

But God’s grace is manifest in His love for us.  That He sent His one and only son into the world that we might live through Him.

This isn’t something new, but has always been a part of God’s nature.  Some people believe that grace came with Christ, but Christ was and is always a part of God.  Look at the commandments in Exodus 20.  We know verse 5 where God says, in reflection to the command to not have any false gods, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,”

God is a jealous God and we know that sin does have consequences and those consequences hurt others for times to come. And, all too often, we stop there. but did you notice the punctuation at the end of that line?  It is a comma, not a period.  We, too often, forget verse 6 from that same passage in regard to God, “ but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

God’s grace is not new.  God’s grace is far greater than any sin and always has been.  Grace has always been a part of God and always a part of His plan.

My Answers:

10.
a.
Because it points out what is sin. Instead of measuring sin against others or norms, we are forced to measure it against God’s standard of perfection. In contrast to that our sin is much greater.

b.
If I hold to the world standard I do what I can get by with. Holding to God’s standard calls me to integrity and ethics and character and charity.

11.
God prompted me and protected me to remove a sin from my life. By so doing, when it was brought up by another as something that was causing others to sin, it was weeks/months in my past.

12.
The dominion of darkness and the kingdom of the Son. (these would also make awesome names for a band!)
D of D ==> Death, eternal separation from God, lake of fire, gnashing of teeth
K o S ===> peace, love, joy, eternal presence with God, holiness

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