UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.

under a special agreement with


this lesson is written by The Mailbox Club International


presents "God's Great Salvation"

 

UB David + I'll B Jonathan, Inc.

under a special agreement with

The Mailbox Club presents

Lesson 10: Made Righteous in Christ

Lesson 10: Made Righteous in Christ


Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:21 Scripture Reading

Dear Friend,

Man was created to glorify God and to enjoy fellowship with Him. God's purpose in saving us is to bring us back into right relationship with Him so that we may enjoy fellowship with Him.

God is all light and glory; He is perfect in purity and holiness; He cannot be approached by sinful creatures. The prophet Isaiah once had a vision in which he saw the Lord God on His throne. Heavenly beings around the throne were praising God, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory." (Isaiah 6:3)

Isaiah was so overcome by what he saw of the glory and holiness of God that he fell on his face

Isaiah was so overcome by what he saw of the glory and holiness of God that he fell on his face and cried out, "Woe is me! For I am undone…for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." (Isaiah 6:5)

What caused Isaiah to cry out, "Woe is me for I am undone"? It was his sense of sinfulness. He realised that he did not have the righteousness he needed to come into the presence of such a holy and glorious God.

To enjoy fellowship with God we must have a righteousness that is acceptable to Him. Forgiveness is like taking a bath; righteousness is like putting on clean clothes. We take a bath that we might be cleansed from all impurities; we put on proper clothes that we might be suitable dressed to appear before people.

If we were going to appear before a great king, we would be very concerned about our clothing. When we think about coming into the presence of the holy God to enjoy fellowship with Him, we realise we must be "clothed" in a special way. We must be clothed with a righteousness that is acceptable to God.

What kind of righteousness does God accept? The only kind of righteousness which God accepts is a perfect righteousness. God Himself must provide this righteousness for us.

How does God make us Righteous in His sight?

God has done three wonderful things to make us perfectly righteous in His sight: (1) He has ended our old life in Adam. (2) He has given us a new life in Christ. (3) He has given Christ to us as our righteousness.

To put it simply, God gets rid of all that we are and gives us Christ as our righteousness. Let us see how God does this.

1

God has ended our old life in Adam.

Through the blood of Christ, God has removed our sins from us forever. He has cleared us of all charges against us. He has justified us freely by His grace.

The old man in Adam is a "sin factory"!

But we have a deeper problem—our sinful self. The Bible calls it "the old man." The "old man" is all that we were in Adam.

The old man in Adam is a "sin factory"! The Lord Jesus told us what is in the heart of men. He said,

"From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness." Mark 7:21-22

God's way was not to "change" the "old man," but to put an end to him. God puts us in Christ on the cross. The Bible says,

"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him [Christ]…" Romans 6:6

God wants us to know that our old life in Adam ended on the cross. We died with Christ. Not only did we die with Him, but we were buried with Him.

What does burial signify? It signifies removal from God's sight. God says to us, "I ended your old life on the cross. I have removed that old life from My sight by your burial with Christ."

2

God has given us a new life in Christ.

Having ended our old life by our death and burial with Christ, God says to us, "I am now creating you as a new person in Christ." The Bible says,

"For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them." (Ephesians 2:10 NET Bible)

We have a new life in Christ! Our new life began with the resurrection of Christ. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature."

God is saying to us, "You who have believed are now new creatures in Christ, for I have created you in Him. Your place and standing before Me is the same as Christ's place, for you are in Christ forever."

3

God has given Christ to us as our perfect righteousness.

In ourselves we are not righteous, but God has made us perfectly righteous in His sight. How did God do this? He put us in Christ; we are made "the righteousness of God in Him." The Bible says,

"For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Corinthians 5:21

This verse says that we are "made the righteousness of God in Him." Just as God looks at Christ and sees Him perfectly righteous, so He looks at us and sees perfectly righteous because we are in Him.

When we think about ourselves and our failings, it is hard for us to believe that we have been made perfectly righteous in Christ. But this is true. We know it is true because we have the clear statements of God's Word.

If Gabriel, the mighty angel who stands in the very presence of God were to appear before us, our thought would likely be, "He is righteous and holy, but I am not." But this would be entirely wrong! God has given Christ to you as your righteousness. You are made "the righteousness of God in Him."

We are made "the righteousness of God" in Christ

The Prodigal Son was given "the best robe"

At that moment the son knew that his father had forgiven him of all his sins

When the prodigal son came back to his father, he was penniless, dirty, and in rags. How did his father receive him? He ran to meet him, threw his arms around him, and covered him with his kisses. At that moment the son knew that his father had forgiven him of all his sins.

This is a picture of how God receives the repentant sinner. He "runs" to meet him, He "throws His arms around him and covers him with His kisses." God forgives us of all our sins and enfolds us in His arms and covers us with His love.

But even though he knew that he was forgiven, the prodigal son, in his dirt and rags, would not have felt at ease in his father's house.

The "best robe" not only made the son suitable to his father, but it made him conscious of his acceptance with the father

What did the father do? He told his servants, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him." It was not just a beautiful robe, but "the best robe." It is called "the best robe" because there could be no better. The father gave the prodigal the very best that he had so that his son could feel at home in his house.

The "best robe" not only made the son suitable to his father, but it made him conscious of his acceptance with the father. The son did not say, "But I am not worthy of this." He honoured his father by joyfully receiving what his father provided for him.

"The Best Robe" is Christ

This story has a deep, heavenly meaning. The Lord Jesus wants us to know what the Father has done to make us conscious of our acceptance. He has clothed us with "the best robe."

What is "the best robe"? The best robe is Christ! God has given Christ to us to be our righteousness.

God's perfect delight and satisfaction is in His Son, and God has given Him to us to be our righteousness. Nothing could possibly make me more suitable to God than having Christ as my righteousness. He is "the best robe" that God could give to us. God wants us to be perfectly suitable to Him and He wants us to be conscious of our acceptance.

"The Lord our righteousness."

It is the glorious, risen Christ Himself who is our righteous before God. One of His names in the Old Testament is "The Lord our righteousness." The Bible says of Christ,

"And this is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness." Jeremiah 23:6

Our righteousness before God is not something we are or something we have done. Our righteousness is the Lord Jesus Christ. God has put us in Christ and the risen Christ Himself is our righteousness. The Bible says,

"But of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." 1 Corinthians 1:30

To whom does this verse belong? It belongs to every believer. Every believer is in Christ. Every believer can say, "Christ is my righteousness."

God's perfect righteousness is a Gift

The perfect righteousness which God provides for us is a gift and it is ours the moment we take Christ as our Saviour.

Paul put his faith in Christ and received "the righteousness which is of God by faith."

Before he was saved, the apostle Paul worked very hard to make himself pleasing to God. He tried earnestly to keep all the commandments. But he came to see that he could never produce the perfect righteousness which God required. Paul put his faith in Christ and received "the righteousness which is of God by faith." Paul wrote,

"I count all things but loss…that I may win Christ, And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Philippians 3:8-9

We cannot produce a perfect righteousness, and we cannot earn it. God gives it to us. The moment we take Christ as our Saviour, God gives us perfect righteousness as a free gift! The Bible says,

"…those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:17

Let us think about these two phrases "abundance of grace" and "the gift of righteousness."

"Abundance of grace" expresses God's attitude toward us. Because of what Christ has done, God is free to express Himself to us in all His love and abounding grace. God is not stingy in blessing us. He is "the God of all grace." He abounds in His grace toward us, and we honour Him when we receive joyfully and thankfully all that He gives us.

"The gift of righteousness" is one of the most amazing and wonderful gifts that God could possibly give to us. This righteousness which God gives us is a perfect righteousness. It cannot be improved upon. We are made "the righteousness of God" in Christ.

Pause a moment now and repeat three times each of these phrases:

"abundance of grace"
"the gift of righteousness"

"abundance of grace"
"the gift of righteousness"

"abundance of grace"
"the gift of righteousness"

Does this not cause your heart to rejoice? This is God's gift to all His children.

Does this mean that we will not sin any more if we are Christians?

No, it does not. In Paul's letter to the believers at Corinth, we find some things that seem hard to understand. On the one hand, Paul calls these believers "saints""holy ones," and he says that they are "sanctified [set apart] in Christ Jesus."

On the other hand, in the same letter, Paul speaks of some terrible sins in their lives. Some were proud, some fought among themselves, and some were guilty of immoral acts.

What is the explanation of this? How could Paul say that they were "saints" while at the same time they were not living as Christians should live? To answer these questions, we must understand the difference between our position and our walk.

What is our Position?

God sees us perfect in Him, and our position never changes

Our position is what we are in Christ. It includes all that God has done for us. He has ended our old life and given us a new life in Christ. Our new life in Christ is our real life. God has made us one with His Son forever. Christ Himself is our life and our righteousness before God.

Is our position always perfect? Yes, it is. Why? Because it is what God has done for us in Christ. God sees us perfect in Him, and our position never changes.

What is our "Walk"?

As long as we are in our body, our conduct will never be perfect

Our "walk" is our conduct—the way we live here on earth. Is our walk ever perfect? No, it is not. Why? Because it depends on us. As long as we are in our body, our conduct will never be perfect. The apostle John said,

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8

It will help us in our Christian life if we remember that our position is what we are in Christ, while our walk is the way we live on earth.

God accepts us according to our Position

Our acceptance with God is always according to our position in Christ and not according to our walk or conduct here on earth. The Bible says,

"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved [Christ]." Ephesians 1:6

Our righteousness before God is Christ Himself. He is "the best robe," and God never takes back His "best robe." Our failures do not affect Christ's righteousness. Nothing can be added to His perfection, nor can anything be taken from it. Regardless of how many times I fail, Christ is always my righteousness.

Does this mean that we are to be satisfied with our failures? No, it does not! Our God is a holy God and He wants His people to be holy in their everyday living. The Bible says,

"But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct." 1 Peter 1:15 (NKJV)

How to please God

In His Word, God has told us how we can live a life that is pleasing to Him. Paul said, "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)

What does this mean—"to walk by faith"? It means to live, counting on what we are in Christ.

Here is a great principle of the Christian life: Faith in our position makes it real in our life.

Faith in our position makes it real in our life.

When we see that Christ is our righteousness, we become righteous in our everyday life. When we see that we are "holy in Christ," we become holy. When we see that we are "saints in Christ Jesus," we begin to live as saints should live.

God wants us to live our lives each day in the full consciousness of being righteous in His sight because we are in Christ. Say to yourself again and again, "I am in Christ! He is my righteousness!"

There is no truth in the Bible more important for us as Christians than knowing that we are in Christ and that He is our righteousness. This is something God did for us when we took Christ as our Saviour. Read this lesson over and over. Ask God to show you that you are indeed in Christ and the Christ Himself is your righteousness.

To Summarize:

* God has made me perfectly righteous by getting rid of all that I am and giving me Christ in exchange.

* Christ Himself is my righteousness!


Reflections

God's work for us, and God's work in us.

To have a better understanding of God's great salvation, we must distinguish between the work that God has done for us in Christ and the work He is doing in us through His Holy Spirit.

1

God's work for us.

The foundation of all the blessings that God gives us in Christ is the cross. We are forgiven of all our sins, justified, made righteous in Christ, and given the supreme privilege and blessing of sonship.

This all comes to us through Christ and the work which He has accomplished for us. The believer has a perfect standing before God in Christ. He is eternally cleansed and eternally accepted by Christ's one great sacrifice on the cross.

There need never be a repetition of this act. The believer is brought into a relationship with God where he is totally clean in God's sight and set apart for God forever. The Bible says,

"For by one offering He has perfected for ever those who are sanctified." Hebrews 10:14

2

God's work in us.

The priests in the Old Testament could not enter the Holy Place of the Tabernacle without washing their hands and feet at the Brazen Laver

The believer's standing in Christ is perfect and unchanging. But there is the matter of our need of daily cleansing. The priests in the Old Testament could not enter the Holy Place of the Tabernacle without washing their hands and feet at the Brazen Laver.

This speaks of a work in us by the Word of God and the Spirit of God. This goes on continuously, day by day. There is no "stage" or condition of the Christian life on earth where it can be said that this work of God in us is complete.

As long as we are in our body, we have sin dwelling in our members. We have "the flesh"—the sin principle in our members. The Bible says,

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8

we need to come to God each day in prayer and meditation over His Word, allowing Him to cleanse us from the daily defilement of sin

While we are no longer under the power of sin, and we do not have to sin, it is unlikely that we will go for any great length of time without sinning. What do we do then? We confess that sin to God, and trust Him to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Bible says,

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Throughout our life here on earth, we need to come to God each day in prayer and meditation over His Word, allowing Him to cleanse us from the daily defilement of sin. The Holy Spirit is doing His gracious work in us, conforming us to the image of Christ. We do not want to hinder Him in any way. The Bible says,

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30 (NKJV)

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