What is the most important thing you have ever learned?
The issues of eternity hang on the great truth that salvation is received by grace alone, through faith alone in the saving work of Jesus Christ alone. God has provided His own righteousness for sinful men and women. The righteousness of God is all that God demands and approves. This righteousness of God is ultimately found in Christ alone because Christ met and fulfilled in our place every requirement of the Law. Christ has become our righteousness, and the righteousness of all who believe on Him.
The righteousness of God has been revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and God has made it available to us sinners. The righteousness that we need comes from God, and it is accounted to us by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
We need His righteousness in order to be saved because we cannot live up to His perfect standard. The perfect righteousness that God requires is the righteousness of God revealed in Jesus Christ, and it comes to us from God and is received as a free gift. If God did not give us His righteousness, as a gift there is no way we could ever possibly be saved. It is His gift to those who will humble themselves, confess their need and call upon His name alone to be saved. No one can satisfy God’s perfect standard by his self-righteousness.
Why is the righteousness that Christ provides so important? No one will ever be saved by good works because we are sinners and come short of the glory of God. The Bible is very clear, “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). Why is it that no person will be saved by goods works? The fact is only Jesus Christ has kept the Law perfectly. The rest of us fall short of the glory of God. Yes, the apostle Paul wrote, “the doers of the Law will be justified” (2:13), but the problem is no one has ever perfectly kept the Law with the exception of Jesus, therefore no one will be declared righteous by the works of the Law. How many times do you have to sin to be a sinner? Just once.
Have you ever judged someone else for what they did, or for who they were? Have you ever condemned someone because of his or her attitudes or actions toward you? Then you condemned yourself (Rom. 2:1).
We need God’s righteousness that He provides because we are under God’s condemnation and we deserve it (Rom. 1:18-3:20). Every individual is accountable to a holy God who will not tolerate sin. We are guilty of evil in thought, word and deed.
This right relationship with God comes to us “apart from the Law.” “No man can justify himself before God by a perfect performance of the Law’s demands” (3:20, Phillips). We are morally corrupt and wicked in the heart.
There is no hope for me if the blood of Jesus Christ does not wash away all of my sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse the heart of sin and its condemnation. Apart from the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross we are under God’s wrath and are destined to spend eternity in hell. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18 NET).
When you put your faith in Jesus Christ God imparts His righteousness to you. When God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals He no doubt explained to them this would one day be the way in which He would clothe sinners who believe on Christ Jesus with His righteousness. If you have believed in Christ as your savior you have been clothed with Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 61:10).
“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested . . . even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Rom. 3:21-22). No one, Christian, Jew, Gentile, Muslim, Hindu, etc. can be saved apart from a personal faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; John 14::6).
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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (http://www.Lockman.org)
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Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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