I have a beautiful picture this morning of God’s goodness pouring down over all people like a waterfall. All we need to do is hold up our cup to receive it. Some people are laughing and dancing and whooping together as their cups fill. Others are facing up serenely with their eyes closed and savouring being immersed. Others are looking like ragged and bewildered children: the Father smilingly puts a cup into their hands. When they just hold it in front of them, he gently guides their hands to turn the cup the right way up. There is no shortage and no hurry.

I was reflecting on “Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven … so that every mouth may be silenced” (Psalm 85) I have had a tendency to think of righteousness like fitness: it is available to all but you have to work at it. It is those that are disciplined who get it, and in that sense it is earned. This picture from Psalm 85 shuts down that line of thinking.

Romans 3 says God’s righteousness is poured out “apart from the law” – not by us doing the right thing, nor by our logical reasoning against immutable laws by which we work out which levers to pull. “Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded.”

“This righteousness is given through faith in/of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3) Again, I have tended to read this as: whether or not God gives is dependent on whether or not we believe in Jesus. But God does not give because we believe; He gives freely and abundantly whether we believe or not – like a waterfall. Our faith in Jesus – our posture towards God, to use my wife Helen’s word – is simply how we receive the gift (or not), like holding out our cup. And even the cup is a gift!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)