When I first met Kimberlee Hartwig, she was a junior in high school. I remember being blown away at her sincerity, commitment, and wisdom that was far beyond her years. Even as a teenager she knew that God had created her for a life of service and ministry, and she has been living out His call on her life, both in the United States and overseas. I have always admired Kim, and I am so thankful she agreed to contribute to this space. Here is what she has to say:
About a month ago, Jane asked me to write a post for her blog. Her request was that I write something that’s excellent and praiseworthy, something that’s uplifting. I immediately agreed, excited to write a blog post for her, and thinking that this would be an easy thing.
But it hasn’t been. As you can see, it’s taken me a month to come up with something excellent or praiseworthy that I feel is worth somebody else taking the time to read. That’s sad. This past month as I’ve been thinking about what to write, I’ve been challenged.
Challenged by how little praise and thankfulness characterize my life.
Challenged by how much more frequently I focus on the negative rather than see God’s goodness and glory in all things.
Tonight, I read Romans 4-6, and I realized that the most excellent and praiseworthy thing to think on or write about is Christ and the gospel. So, here are some things I was newly blown away by as I read the gospel tonight.
God credited righteousness to us (who believe in Christ) when we deserved His wrath, not because of anything good we had done or ever will do but because of Jesus’ righteousness. Something I’ve come to really understand this past year is that Jesus lived the perfect life we were required to live in order to get to God. Growing up, I knew that was in the Bible somewhere, but I didn’t really understand what all that meant until this past year. Jesus lived the perfect life for us, which means there is nothing we can do to earn righteousness. There’s no good life we can live to earn His favor. Not even one good work will amount to anything before Him. In fact, our righteousness is like filthy rags to Him, who is holy.
That’s why we needed Jesus to live a perfect life for us! Not even our good stuff amounts to anything good in His sight!
Jesus didn’t just stop with living perfectly for us. He also died for us, taking on all of our sin, guilt, and shame. And then He rose again to conquer sin and to defeat death and to crush Satan underneath His feet. In doing so, He made it possible for His people to be justified before God.
Because Christ has justified us before God (AKA we can actually approach a holy God!), we have peace with Him. Peace. Not wrath. Not condemnation. Not judgment. Peace. Definitely not what we deserve. And we have hope—hope that “does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:5).
So, we have Jesus’ righteousness, peace with God, and hope through the Holy Spirit whom God has given us to dwell in us. That’s incredible grace, is it not?!
May I, may we, live as instruments and slaves of His righteousness, boldly proclaiming the good news of His righteousness lived and given for us, and joyously looking forward to the day when we will be with Him in glory, praising Him for all eternity!
See you soon!