Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 2, No. 2 Page 19 February 2000

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles


By Kevin Rhodes

The word “righteousness” carries with it the concept of ideal character, ideal relationship or the means or process by which these are achieved. Since “all men have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we lack ideal character; having thus offended the character of God, we were separated from him (Isaiah 59:2), losing the ideal relationship. Therefore, without the character to reinstate these, we needed a means to regain what we lost through our own foolishness.  While we would have languished forever attempting to devise even the semblance of a plan to regain what we previously tossed aside, God in his wisdom put his own plan into action, sending Jesus Christ to do for us what we could not do for ourselves, to provide the means by which we might begin anew by being made righteous (justified).

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26).
To address the problem of our failed character and our separation from God, it was necessary to make forgiveness possible, for this was the only way possible the restore a relationship with a perfectly righteous God. And the only way to make forgiveness possible was to provide a sacrifice for sins.  It then follows that in order to make righteousness possible for others, the One making such provision must have ideal character and an ideal relationship with God, who had been offended. In Jesus Christ we have both of these and more. For in Jesus Christ we have much more than righteousness exemplified but also the personification of the means of our justification. It is through his righteous life that a sacrifice could be provided (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26-27). It is through the closeness of his relationship with God (John 1:18) that he can adequately plead for us (1 John 2:1-2).

How beautiful a thought that while Almighty God was the One grievously attacked by our trespasses into darkness, he himself reached out to restore the broken relationship. For “of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”(1 Corinthians 1:30). This does not mean that Christ took care of our righteousness. “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7). However, he should be everything to us because he made it possible for our “doing righteousness” to matter, even though we have sinned. Christ did not die to make our sin acceptable but in order to make it forgivable, and this is what it means for him to be “righteousness” for us. Christ did not become righteousness for us in a way to eliminate the need for us to act righteously but to show us how to do it. Righteousness is the best situation possible – with God and with the moral code.  In this way Christ is righteousness, and made righteousness for us possible.

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