Let me share with you three paragraphs that could give you great hope. Consider an event that happened to the man that stands at the fount of three major world religions: Abraham. In Genesis 18, Abraham risks his life by approaching God on behalf a wicked city. Though God was going to destroy Sodom, Abraham stood before the Lord and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous who are in it? Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?” (23-24). God told Abraham that for the sake of fifty, he would not destroy it. But Abraham is not satisfied. He proceeds to ask on behalf of 45 righteous people, then forty, thirty, twenty, and ten people. Each time, God says that he will not destroy Sodom if that number of righteous people can be found in it. But Abraham is doing more than just bargaining with God, he is probing into the inner workings of the Divine, discovering an immutable principle that could change your life.
Though Abraham stops asking at ten righteous people, the reader carries on the conversation in her own mind. The reader asks herself, “What if just one righteous person were found, then would God destroy the city?” That is the dramatic question that stands and lingers on the edge of our hearts. What if just one righteous person existed, then would God destroy us? Then we go to our history books, in a mad search for just one righteous person. Have any ever existed? Here’s how Scripture answers this question: “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:11). As God looks at humankind, he is unable to find a single, righteous person. This means only one thing: he has no reason not to destroy us.
Abraham learned that God is only looking for one righteous person. You and I know that “none is righteous.” All fall desperately short of complete goodness. We ache at the thought that we’re so close to being saved—needing just one righteous person—but infinitely far from achieving this goal. Nevertheless, if you read just a little further in Romans 3, you will discover a verse that will melt your heart with joy. “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” (21-22). While humankind groped in the darkness, trembling beneath the wrath of God, God himself sent our solution into the world. God sent the “one righteous” person that we need; his name is Jesus. We have our righteous person and we must cling to him like a drowning man to a raft. He is our raft and our salvation, both our present help and our eternal solution. In Jesus Christ, you have everything that God is looking for.
© Samuel Kee, 2011