under a special agreement with
Winners Series 2
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Lesson 4: Christ is My Righteousness
We were created to glorify God and to enjoy fellowship with Him. God’s purpose in saving us is to bring us into a right relationship with Him and to make us suitable to Himself so that He can enjoy us and we can enjoy Him.
God is the great Ruler of the universe. He is all light and glory. He is perfect in purity and holiness, and He cannot be approached by sinful creatures.
The prophet Isaiah once had a vision in which he saw the great and holy God upon His throne. Immediately Isaiah fell on his face and cried out,
“Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips…for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).
What caused Isaiah to cry out, “Woe is me”? It was his sense of sinfulness. Isaiah knew that he was sinful. He knew that he did not have the righteousness that he needed to be in the presence of such a glorious and holy God.
To enjoy fellowship with God, I must not only be forgiven of all my sins, but I must have a righteousness that is acceptable to Him. God says that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” in His sight.
Forgiveness is like taking a bath to get rid of the dirt; righteousness is like getting rid of my “rags” and putting on new clothes.
When I think about coming into the presence of the holy God, I need forgiveness to get rid of my sins, but I also need to be “clothed” in a special way. I 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. I cannot make myself perfectly righteous. God must provide this perfect righteousness for me.
How does God make me perfectly righteous in His sight?
God has done three wonderful things to make me perfectly righteous in His sight:
- He ended my old life,
- He gave me a new life in Christ, and
- He gave Christ to me as my righteousness.
To put it simply, God got rid of all that I am and gave me Christ as my righteousness. Let us see how God does this.
God has ended my old life.
There are two great facts which are true of every believer: Christ died for me, and I “died” with Christ.
How do I know that Christ died for me? I know because God’s Word says so. The Bible says,
“…Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
How do I know that I “died” with Christ? I know because God’s Word says so. My old sinful self, which was the source of all my sins, was crucified with Christ. The Bible says,
“Knowing this, that our old man [our sinful self] was crucified with Him [Christ]…” (Romans 6:6).
God has given me a new life.
I “died” with Christ. I was buried with Him. In God’s sight that was the end of my old life. Now God says to me, “I have created you as a new person in Christ.” The Bible says,
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
God has given Christ to me as my righteousness.
In myself, I am not righteous, but God has made me perfectly righteous in His sight. How did God do this? He put me in Christ. I am made the righteousness of God in Christ.
The Bible says,
“For He [God] has made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This verse says that I am “made the righteousness of God in Him,” that is, in Christ. Just as God looks at Christ and sees Him perfectly righteous, so He looks at me and sees me perfectly righteous in Christ.
If Gabriel, the mighty angel who stands in the very presence of God, were to appear before me in all his beauty and purity, my thought would likely be, “He is righteous and holy, but I am not.” But this would be entirely wrong! God has given Christ to me as my righteousness. I am made “the righteousness of God in Him.”
The prodigal son was made suitable to his father.
When the prodigal son returned to his father, he had no idea how he would be received by his father. The father ran to meet him and “covered him with his kisses.” At that moment the son knew how his father felt toward him. He knew that he was loved and accepted.
But even though he knew that he was forgiven and accepted by his father, he was still dirty and in rags. He could not be completely happy because of his condition.
We can imagine the prodigal saying to his father, “It is wonderful that you love me so much and that you can receive me as you do, but I do not enjoy it because I am not fit for you.”
What did the father do? He told his servants, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him.” We may be sure that this new robe was not put over the prodigal son’s dirt and rags. He was given a bath, and his old clothes were taken away.
Then the servants put “the best robe” on him. It is called “the best robe” because there could be no better.
What was the son’s situation now? He was washed from his dirt; he had clean clothes; and he was wearing the best robe. He knew that he was now fit to be in his father’s presence. He could now enjoy being with his father because his father had made him suitable to himself.
The son did not say, “I just do not feel that I can accept this robe because I am so unworthy.” He honored his father by joyfully receiving what his father provided for him. The “best robe” not only made the son suitable to his father, but it made him conscious of his suitability.
God’s “best robe” is Christ.
This story has a deep, heavenly meaning. The Lord Jesus told us this story because He wants us to know what God the Father has done to make us suitable to Himself.
God has not only cleansed me from all my sins, but He has made me a new person in Christ. And He has provided a perfect righteousness for me by giving me His “best robe.”
What is God’s “best robe”? God’s “best robe” is Christ! God has no other robe to make us suitable to Himself. No one can come to God except by Christ.
God has given Christ to me as my righteousness. Because Christ is my righteousness, I have a perfect righteousness before God. God has made me suitable to Himself, and He wants me to be conscious of my suitability.
It is the glorious, risen Christ Himself who is my righteousness before God. One of the names for the Lord Jesus 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 23:6b).
I am “accepted in the Beloved.”
Through my death and resurrection with Christ, I am on “new ground” with God. I am no longer in Adam; I am now in Christ. I am accepted by God because I am in Christ. 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).
The righteousness and acceptance which I have in Christ is perfect and complete. I did not earn it. God gave it to me the moment I took Christ as my Savior. I cannot improve my acceptance with God, and I cannot lose my acceptance with God. I am always “accepted in the Beloved.”
God always accepts me according to the way He sees me in Christ, and not according to my conduct. My righteousness before God is Christ Himself. He is my “best robe.” God never takes back His “best robe.” I may fail many times, but Christ is always my righteousness before God.
Though I cannot lose my position before God, I can lose the enjoyment of my position. If I do things which are displeasing to God, I will lose my joy.
When I lose my joy, it means that there is a serious problem in my life which needs to be corrected immediately. Sin has come in and broken my fellowship with God. How is this problem corrected? It is corrected by confessing that sin to God and forsaking it.
God is a holy God. He wants His people to be holy in their everyday living. The Bible says,
“But as He which has called you is holy, you also be holy in all manner of conversation [daily living]” (1 Peter 1:15).
How to Please God
In His Word, God has told me how I can live a life that is pleasing to Him. I please God when I “walk by faith.” Paul said,
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
“Walking by faith” means that I am living by God’s truth, counting on what I am in Christ. “Walking by sight” means that I am living by my feelings and circumstances.
The battle for a Christian each day is, “Am I going to live by God’s truth or by my feelings and my circumstances?”
God wants me to live by His truth, knowing that I am in Christ and that Christ is my righteousness. Say to yourself over and over, “I am in Christ. Christ is my righteousness! I am accepted in Him.”
No truth in the Bible is 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 you when you took Christ as your Savior. If you are not sure of this, read this lesson over and over. Ask God to show you that you are indeed in Christ and that Christ Himself is your righteousness before God.
Joshua—the new leader
“…the Lord spoke unto Joshua…saying, Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan [river], you, and all the people, unto the land which I do give to them….” Joshua 1:1-2
Because they rebelled against the Lord and against Moses whom God had called to lead them, the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness forty years. The older generation, who had murmured and complained, died in the wilderness.
The younger generation was ready to obey God. Moses had died so God chose a new leader for His people—Joshua, the son of Nun. The name “Joshua” means “Jehovah [God] saves.”
When God wants someone to do a great work for Him, He does two things: (1) He calls them to do it, and (2) He promises to be with them. When a person knows that He is doing what God called him to do and God is with him, he is sure of success.
God called Joshua to lead His people into the land of Canaan. God said,
“Be strong and of good courage: for unto this people shall you divide for an inheritance the land which I sware unto their fathers to give them” (Joshua 1:6).
God promised to be with Joshua. He said,
“There shall not any man be able to stand before you all the days of your life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with you: I will not fail you, nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).
The children of Israel were now at the river Jordan. Across this river was the land of Canaan—the land which God had promised to Abraham and his descendants. There were no bridges and it was the time of year when the Jordan overflowed its banks. How could a great multitude of men, women, children, and baggage cross this raging river?
Joshua told the priests to take the Ark of the Covenant, which was the symbol of God’s presence, and step into the waters. When the feet of the priests touched the water, the water stopped flowing. All of the people crossed over on dry ground.
God had done the impossible! God had said to Joshua, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you: I will not fail you nor forsake you.” God had parted the Red Sea for Moses, and now He had parted the waters of Jordan for Joshua. God is always doing the impossible for those who trust Him.
Joshua was the man chosen by God to lead the children of Israel into the land which God had promised them. In this he is a type of Christ.
Christ is the One chosen by God to be the Leader of our salvation.
“For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10).