“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Romans 3:21-22
The historical event of the resurrection has established a heavenly reality for all who are willing to believe. God is offering the gift of right standing (righteousness) with Him, when we trust Christ.
When we owe a speeding ticket, we are not in right standing with the law until it is paid. If we don’t pay our electric bill, we are no longer in right standing with the electric company until we remit the amount owed. If someone makes a payment on my behalf, I gain right standing even though I wasn’t the one who settled the account. This is the gospel. God has paid for my sins, so right standing is available to me.
What must I be willing to believe to access this heavenly reality?
- That I am guilty before a holy God and am unable to make things right on my own. Isaiah says that even our righteous acts are as filthy rags in God’s sight. (Isaiah 64:6) We may feel righteous by comparison to others, but God doesn’t compare us with other people. He views us through His own perfection.
- That God made payment for my guilt by dying for my sins. The cross is the greatest display of God’s holiness, and of God’s love. God’s justice demanded payment for sin while God’s love provided that payment on my behalf.
- That I must make it personal by receiving the gift of righteousness. The gospel will not affect me until I believe it. All who reject, or ignore Christ, will one day find themselves accountable to God for all their sins. But the only sin that condemns us is an unwillingness to accept the Spirit’s invitation to believe in Jesus. (See John 16:7-9)
Those who do believe can join in the ancient hymn with great joy, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name. On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”