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Christ Our Righteousness is the great subject on how the righteousness of Christ can become our righteousness. For example, how does His humility make me more humble? How does His self-sacrificing love make me more loving? And how does His perfect obedience make me obedient to God's will?
One of the best ways to explain this is to do a study on the relationship between the perfect, righteous, and sinless life of Jesus in connection with His perfect Ten Commandments.
This great subject of Scripture is the plan of salvation. It is God's plan of saving man from the condemnation of the law and from his sinful nature. So how does Christ's righteousness save me from the condemnation of the law and my sinful nature? The answer is found in the great subject of the righteousness of Christ in relation to His own Ten Commandments.
So what has happened throughout history? The Jewish nation accepted the perfect moral law but rejected the perfect and sinless Messiah, Jesus Christ. Therefore, it was impossible for them to understand the perfect relationship between the righteousness of Christ and God's law.
Much of the Christian world has accepted the perfect and sinless life of Jesus but has rejected God's moral law as still binding upon the believer. Therefore, it was impossible for them to understand the perfect relationship between the righteousness of Christ and His perfect law.
So what is the relationship between the righteous life of Jesus and His own righteous law? Let us begin by defining the term "righteousness."
The Bible says, "My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness." Psalm 119:172.
"Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; " Isaiah 51:7.
"But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness." Romans 9:31.
It is clear from these verses that the law of God is the "law of righteousness," that all of God's commandments "are righteousness," that those who know God's law "know righteousness."
The apostle Paul wrote that the law of God is "holy, and just, and good. . . . For we know that the law is spiritual." Romans 7:12, 14.
The beloved John wrote, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4.
Jesus had summarized the law by one's love for God and his fellowman. See Matthew 22:36-39.
So we can truly learn about righteousness from two sources. First, there is the altogether beautiful and perfect life of Jesus. Second, there is God's great moral standard of righteousness, His holy law.
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:24.
When we look at the perfect law of righteousness it teaches us that we are sinners. As such, it points us to the need of a Savior. It points us to Jesus. Therefore the law is good. Paul says, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. . . . For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. . . . Was then that which is good [the law] made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." Romans 7:7, 9, 13.
The law is not against us, rather, it is for us by showing us our true condition. The law reveals to me my true sinful condition that I might sense my need of Christ and turn to Him for forgiveness and peace.
Paul wrote, "Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Romans 5:20.
The deeper I understand God's law the more sinful my sins appear. The more my sinfulness becomes apparent, the greater grace appears. The more I realize my helplessness the more I will depend upon Christ for mercy and strength. It is good to see my sinfulness that I might know Him who is mighty to save.
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20.
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall not flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16.
The Bible clearly teaches that we cannot erase our sinful past by keeping God's law in the present.
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10.
It is not possible to be justified by a perfect law that we have already broken. Even if we could keep God's law perfectly today and forever on our own, we would still fall short of being justified by it. Why? We have already broken God's perfect law.
The law cannot justify any sinner, it can only condemn. So it drives him to Christ, that he may be justified by faith.
We can stand innocent before God by accepting the pardoning power of Christ's death for our sins. The Bible says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. When I ask God to forgive me of my sins, He keeps His promise, and He forgives me of my sins. I now stand justified in God's sight.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not or yourselves: it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8.
"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Romans 11:6.
We are either saved by the grace of God or we earn salvation. It cannot be both. It is either a gift from God or we earn it.
In the beginning it was possible for Adam and Eve to live in obedience to God's perfect law of righteousness. After they sinned they could no longer keep God's holy law. As such, we are not able to keep God's law due to our fallen and sinful natures. But Christ came that we might find forgiveness for sin. He came in our fallen and sinful flesh and lived a perfect life in accordance with God's perfect law. He was tempted in all points as we are, and sinned not. He died for us, and offers His own life to pay the penalty for our sins. If you accept Him as your Savior, no matter your particular sins, no matter how many times you committed them, He will forgive you. His perfect life stands in place of your sinful life. You are forgiven and accepted by God as if you never sinned.
There is more! Christ abides in your heart to give you a new nature. If you maintain your connection with Christ and surrender your will to Him, you will be able to keep God's perfect law as Jesus kept the law. As Paul said, 'The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.' Galatians 2:20. So with Christ living in you, you will manifest the same life of loving obedience-a life in perfect harmony with God's perfect law.
Our only hope of deliverance from our sinful natures and the condemnation of the law is in the righteousness of Christ both credited to us and imparted to us.
"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." 1 Corinthians 1:30.
Jesus is our righteousness both credited and imparted. This is why Jesus is called "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Jeremiah 23:6.
We have no righteousness of our own. The law defines what is righteousness, but the law cannot give us righteousness. We receive righteousness from only one source, that is, Jesus Christ.
To save man from his sinful condition, to rescue man from the condemnation of the law, the Father sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, into our world.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:14.
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:3, 4.
In the weakness of our fallen flesh, we are not able to keep God's perfect law. Therefore, God sent His own Son in the likeness of our sinful flesh to live a perfect life according to His perfect law. He did this that we might now walk in obedience to His perfect law through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul testifies that Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15.
Through a constant surrender of His will to His Father, Christ was able to say at the end of His life, "I have kept My Father's commandments. . . . I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." John 15:10; 17:4.
Jesus came in our fallen flesh to live a life for us. Day by day, choice by choice, Jesus wove in His own life a robe of righteous obedience to the Ten Commandments.
Why did He do all this? He did it for us. He wanted to save us from our transgression of His perfect law. He came to pay the penalty of our sins, which is death. See Romans 6:23. He wanted us to be able to live a new life of obedience in Him that we may enjoy eternity with the Father forever.
"All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. Therefore, for me to stand innocent before God's perfect law I must have Christ's righteousness.
I have no righteousness of my own to meet the claims of God's righteous law. Through Christ's perfect sacrifice for sin I am able to be forgiven of my past sins and stand innocent before God. By allowing Jesus to live in my heart by faith I am now able to live a new life in obedience to God's Ten Commandments.
Therefore, the gospel is the good news of how Jesus kept God's law perfectly for us, that He might be our perfect Savior in the forgiveness of sin, and our perfect Savior in the deliverance from sin. The Bible says, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21.
Paul wrote, "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." Romans 4:6.
The word "imputeth" is the same as the word "credit."
God will credit the perfect, sinless, and righteous life of Jesus to your account in heaven. Did you catch that! When God forgives you of your sins, you are more than forgiven of your past. He also credits to your account the thirty-three years of Christ's sinless life.
Do we deserve to have Christ's perfect life credited to us as if we lived His life? Absolutely not! But due to God's love and grace, He not only forgives us of our sinful past, but also credits to us the life of His dear Son as if we lived His life.
Now if God is willing to credit to you the sinless life of Jesus, are you willing to serve Him with your whole heart?
Do you want God to do more than credit the life of His Son to you? Do you want Him to impart that life to you?
The message of Christ's righteousness is a message about the forgiveness of sin. But it is not only about forgiveness, it is also about deliverance from sin. Those who are forgiven are changed. This is the good news of the gospel.
The message of Christ's righteousness is a most precious message that invites the sinner to live a new life in harmony with God's moral law. As Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep the commandments." John 14:15.
God has offered to us, in His Son, deliverance from sin. He has offered to us, in His Son, perfect obedience to His perfect will. As Jesus taught us to prayer, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
If we would open our hearts to Christ and surrender our will to Him, His love and His obedience will be in us. In our connection with Him we are transformed into His image. This is the only way we can obtain the righteousness that the law demands.
Christ lived a sinless life in our fallen flesh. He lived in perfect obedience to His Father's commands. Christ died for us to pay the penalty for our sins. Christ is risen and offers to us His own righteousness to replace our life stained with sin. If we accept Him as our Savior, no matter how sinful our past, for His sake we are accounted righteous. Christ will impute or credit to our account in heaven His own righteousness.
More than this, Christ changes the heart. He abides in our heart by faith. If we maintain our connection with Him, He will work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure.
So then we can say, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20.
We can have all the righteousness that the law requires, but we cannot obtain this righteousness from the law itself. We cannot obtain it by simply trying harder. We receive righteousness from only one place. We receive it from Christ. He is the Righteous One. When we receive Him, we receive who He is. And who is Jesus? He is the perfect, sinless, and righteous Son of God. The more we have of Him the more righteousness we have received.
So what is the key to receiving righteousness? It is receiving Jesus every day as your life. As John wrote, "He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." 1 John 5:12.
Do you want life? Do you want righteousness? Then have more of Jesus, the Righteous One.
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