Jesus — Our Righteousness
By Hal Lindsey
In only a few words, 2 Corinthians 5:21 gives us an astounding picture of our redemption in Christ. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
The old hymn says, “This is all my righteousness, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 1:30 puts it like this. “By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”
Jesus is our righteousness — the very righteousness of God! And that is of the utmost importance. Here’s why. Our own righteousness is insufficient. Isaiah 64:6 says, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”
In other words, our very best efforts stink when compared with the righteous standard of God Himself. I hear people claim to live without sin, or mostly without sin. Is that you? Do you follow 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and, “Pray without ceasing”? Look at verse 18. Do you consistently give God thanks in all circumstances… every time? Do you consistently follow Matthew 5:44 and “pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”? What about Philippians 4:4? Do you rejoice in the Lord? Do you rejoice in Him always?
Maybe you can answer “yes” to those questions. But ask yourself if you do those things to God’s perfect standards. Many evangelical Christians can quote Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
But how often do we think about the second half of that verse. Yes, all have sinned. But more than that, all fall short of the glory of God. That’s the standard. If you’re trying to save yourself by being good, that’s the question you must ask. Does my life ever — even briefly — fall short of the glory of God? A more realistic question might be, “When does my life not fall short of God’s glory?”
No mere human being can reach that standard on his own. We fall short of Joshua 1:8 and we fail to meditate on God’s word day and night. We fall short of Philippians 4:6 which commands us not to be worried or anxious. Two verses later it tells us what we should spend our time thinking about — “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report.”
I don’t know anyone whose thought life always reaches those high standards.
It’s amazingly easy to fall into sin-traps such as selfishness and pride. Do you follow 1 Corinthians 9:25 and consistently exercise self-control in all things? How about 2 Corinthians 2:9? It tells us to be “obedient in all things.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 admonishes us to “abound to every good work.”
We fail again and again to live up to the perfect standard of God’s glory. That doesn’t mean we should quit trying to live up to those standards. But it does mean that we can’t take credit for our own salvation in any way. We do not earn salvation. We accept it as a gift earned for us by Someone else — Jesus.
The Bible tells us that we will be rewarded for our good works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). But it also tells us that our good works will not take us to heaven. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
What a glorious thing is God’s amazing grace! I hope you will abound to many good works in your Christian life. But trust your salvation to the righteousness of God in Christ.