You have a right to. . .nothing.

In 1986 The Beasie Boys released their blockbuster album License to Ill and immediately the track (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (to Party)! became an unofficial anthem for the '80s generation. As a produce of that decade, these words summed up how I felt about life in general. I was all wrapped up in the things that I not only wanted to do, but that I was convinced that I had a RIGHT to do.

Fast forward to today and that attitude still prevails, and we don't even need a theme song to go along with it. Everywhere you turn people are getting bent out of shape because someone somewhere is either denying them what they believe to be their rights or prohibiting them from expressing them at all.

In the 1960's when the Civil Rights movement was at it's height, the fight for the rights of minorities was noble and good. Not that racism and prejudice against others went away back then - sadly, those ills will always be with us - but the mechanism for addressing them was put into play and is still running strong today. To say that just because I am white then I more human than and deserving than you because you are black or hispanic or Asian is just stupid, unbiblical, and wrong. I don't know that anyone can disagree with that.


We live in a world where countless people have upped the ante, screaming that their rights have been violated because their personal preferences were not satisfied. When we do not get what we want then everyone else is to be blame except for ourselves. Somehow, we all believe that we deserve whatever it is that our hearts desire and, if we don't get those things, then our rights have been denied.

But what is it that we truly deserve? What rights can we legitimately claim.

Here's what the Bible tells us:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
For the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23a)
In other words, we have a right to die - to be separated from God for eternity, because of our sin. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we have right to vote, marry whomever we want, make whatever choices we please, or do whatever makes us happy. It's not that God does not desire to give us the desires of our heart - He most certainly does when our desires fall in line with His good and perfect will - but we truly deserve nothing good from God. Yet, at some point in our lives most of us have demanded that God give us what we want when we want it. As if it was our right to claim these things.

I am all for equal and fair rights. I don't like to see the little guy or underdog get stepped on. And I certainly want there to be social justice and prosperity for those who have been oppressed. Yet what I don't understand is how we can somehow think that this world is all about us and demand that our rights be met or else. How selfish can we be?

No, we don't truly have a right to anything.

We don't have a right to God's grace, yet God lavished it on us in spite of ourselves.

We have done nothing to earn the right to claim forgiveness, but Jesus shed His blood on the cross for our sins nonetheless.

Living in the presence of God for all eternity is the exact opposite of what we deserve, yet eternal life is the gift of God for those who place their faith in Jesus.

When we finish the rest of Romans 6:23, we clearly see these truths:
the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord.
That's a game changer. And what that truth should do is remind us that, while it's good and right to fight against injustices and to champion the weak, in the end all that matters is that we know Jesus. We have no true rights save those that God has granted to us. And He saw fit before the foundation of the world to declare that, while we deserved death because of our sin, He would instead extend to us the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. And those rights given to us by God always come right on time.

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