Impossible Righteousness

Do you ever feel like saying, “Really, Lord? Really?! How is that even possible?”

If you get to know the real Jesus (not the “Jesus” our culture sometimes makes up in its head), you’re going to have moments like that. Because Jesus says things that are difficult — if not impossible — to do. And really, many of them are hard to even imagine.

It just so happens that there’s a whole bunch of these sayings in a section of Luke affectionately known as “The Sermon on the Plain” (which bears a striking resemblance to the teaching in the Sermon on the Mount).

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:27-31, NIV).

Could we review that quickly?

  • Love my enemies?
  • When someone hates me, treat them well?
  • When someone curses me, bless them?
  • When someone pounds on me, let them do it again?
  • If someone steals from me, offer them more of my property — as a gift?
  • If someone asks for help, always give it to them? Every last time?
  • And then, if they take advantage of my kindness, just let it go?

Well, that’s exactly what I hear Jesus saying. How about you?

I think if we actually acted like this, we would stand out. Big time. And Jesus says that we will too.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32, NIV).

Impossible to do all these things? Yes, it absolutely is impossible to pull them off in our own power. That’s why we need Jesus. He did them all for us. He did the impossible perfectly so that he could present his impossible righteousness to us as a gift.

And he will send his Holy Spirit so that each day — living in Jesus’ grace and forgiveness — we get a little better at doing the impossible ourselves! Then, because we stand out, we can point people to a Savior named Jesus who stood up for a world of sinners.

Our Bible reading for Thursday, March 26, is Numbers 21:4 – 22:20, Luke 6:12-36 and Psalm 37:21-31.

Jesus, thank you for standing up for me, and offering yourself as the perfect sacrifice for my sins. Thank you for being my Champion. Now, by your Spirit’s power, allow me to stand out by making choices that the world finds distasteful and completely uncomfortable.

Header image based on "Agape" by Marcelino Rapayla Jr., CC By 2.0

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I'm married to my beautiful wife Julie and have five kids whose names all begin with the letter A. I'm a pastor at CrossWalk Church in Phoenix, AZ. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids, and my grandkids. Huge Arizona Cardinals fan! Reading, hiking, camping, travel, and fishing are my top 5 downtime pleasures.

One thought on “Impossible Righteousness”

  1. Sorry missed this one….

    Our Bible reading for Thursday, March 26, is Numbers 21:4 – 22:20, Luke 6:12-36 and Psalm 37:21-31.

    Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. (‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭20-22‬ NIV)

    Heavenly Father, I am poor and you provide all I need. I am hungry and you feed me tell I am satisfied. I cry in my sin and you bring me joy. I am yours Lord and when I tell others of your amazing story, hope, and promises please send me your Holy Spirit to help them come to you. Take the hate of their hearts and help them listen to your truth. Hold me upright Lord please catch me when I fall. Thank you for your love and grace. Please help me share this message with all who need it…. everyone.

    The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (‭Psalm‬ ‭37‬:‭23-24‬ NIV)

    ~Paul Montenieri


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