One of the things I struggle with as a writer of fiction, is that a good story has to have conflict. Even a Christian writer has to write about evil. Of course, a good story also ends with good winning. In fiction, good triumphs because it overcomes evil. But in life, is evil necessary for good to exist? Would there be a story - reality - if there were no evil?
Would God be righteous if there were no sin?
Paul points out that this is a strictly human question. People like to think good and evil are two sides of a coin, a yin and yang. The more I learn to know God, the more I know that sin has nothing to do with Him, and He's greater than evil. But the question makes me aware of how centered I am on myself. It’s the problem I have when I worship. I want my mind and heart to focus on Him, but I almost always see Him in relation to me.
I know He is loving because He loves me.
I praise His grace because He extended it to me.
I know He is Holy because His holiness reveals my sinfulness.
If my sinfulness makes God’s righteousness more apparent, how can He judge me for that sin? I’ve glorified Him by sinning, right?
Whoa! I don’t even want to go down that road to make a point. I don’t get a free pass from anything I do, and especially not from my sin.
The truth is, God is Who He is, all by Himself.
God is righteous. Period.
God is loving. Period.
God is gracious. Period.
Even if He had never created anything, He would still be righteous, loving and gracious.
And regardless of how He interacts with me, my sin is evil.
So the real story is about how God’s righteousness overcomes my evil by His loving grace. Every good story is based on this and focuses on good, not evil. And as a lover of stories, I look forward to when I will tell God’s story in His presence. Then it’ll be all about Him.