This is a personal post about a Bible study I've been doing thorugh Kay Arthur's Precept study on the book of Romans. For those not interested, feel free to skip this blog, but I've just got to share a few of the gems I've been gleaning! It's too good to keep to myself.
I've been a born-again Christian for over 30 years, but somehow I've missed important parts of the gospel. The section in Romans I'm studying right now is about justification. It's a big word, but in a nutshell it's about judicial judgment...which means to announce, to declare a favorable verdict. In the case of those who are born-again, it is God, the Judge, declaring us to be righteous. He causes us to be righteous, He is the means of that declaration when He declares us to be righteous. What we weren't (righteous), He says we are, because He is the means of what we aren't.
How can man, a guilty sinner, become just with God and have Him declare man righteous? (...and I know I'm guilty, because no matter how hard I try I am always breaking God's law at one point or another, in spite of all my good intentions). How could God be a good judge by simply allowing the guilty to go free? I certainly would think an earthly judge to be unjust, if he allowed the guilty like murderers, rapists and theives to go free, simply because they promised to not break the law again. There must be justice.
Here's my answer:
Romans 5:19 - "For as through the one man's disobedience (Adam) the many were made to be sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (Jesus Christ) the many will be made righteous." Christ's one act of obedience, His one act of righteousness, constituted many righteous and because of that one act, the many have been given the free gift of righteousness. It is by Christ's one action - His death and resurrection, the Perfect One's act of obedience to BE sin on behalf of the many, to be their Redeemer, to pay their ransom, their fine - that the sentence of condemnation, which I'm under as a sinner, is changed to justification. To those who believe this good news, to those who freely receive the abundance of God's grace and His free gift of righteousness, God's righteousness is credited to them, it is put into their life account, it is reckoned to them as righteousness - God's righteousness.
This crediting of righteousness to us isn't based on anything we've done or will do. This crediting of God's righteousness placed in our life account is based solely on the obedience of Christ, He did the work.
As a born-again Christian, what I've appreciated is that my sins have been forgiven through Christ. I'm seeing that the forgiveness of sins is a subtraction from my life, my sins are removed but there's an addition to my life, as well, and that is the righteousness of God which He puts into my life. They're both received simply by faith inthe only One who IS righteous. My righteousness resides in nothing else but the accomplished work of Christ, and its source in the free grace of God.
Christ's righteousness alone meets the desperateness of my sinful situation and measures up to all the demans of God's holiness. This is certainly not the message of "cheap grace" that I was given 30 years ago.. I appreciate the fact that even after 30 years, the manifold wisdom of God is still unfolding in my life. His great love and mercy for me makes me so appreciative for what He's done in claiming me as His own. All He asks of me is that I believe and trust in His one act of obedience, and live daily trusting Him.