The leader of our ladies’ Bible study told us to say aloud, “Because of Jesus Christ, I am righteous.” Some had trouble doing it. Our thoughts about ourselves are seldom that noble yet it was actually humbling to make this declaration.
Of course we all knew that it isn’t our righteousness, but that which God imputed on us. It was promised in the Old Testament . . .
“In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” (Jeremiah 23:6)“Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’ “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.” (Isaiah 45:20–25)
That promise was fulfilled in the saving work of Jesus Christ . . .
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18–19).
His righteousness is necessary for my Christian life, just as His death was necessary for my salvation. His is the only righteousness there is — supplying that ‘holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.’
Most Christians are only too eager to renounce all personal righteousness and declare Him ‘the Lord our Righteousness.’ Yet because I cannot see His goodness in me, I’m much less eager to declare that I am righteous. Nevertheless, the Word of God declares it . . . and because God says it, I must believe it! He has given me His righteousness and this is the standard to which He calls me.
Jesus, You put away my sin and guilt. You gave me eternal life and You love me eternally and without any strings attached. That is marvel enough, yet You also say I have the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I am overwhelmed. Too often I am beating myself up because I am a sinner, instead of rejoicing in the truth of what You have done and being motivated by seeing myself as You see me and living in that amazing revelation.