Is Christ your righteousness?
Around 500 years ago, Martin Luther wrote:
[The Grace of Jesus] is an absolutely unique teaching in the world… Now we may think: ‘Although I still sin, I don’t despair, because Christ lives, who is both my righteousness and my eternal life.’ In that righteousness, I have no sin, no fear, no guilty conscience, no fear of death. I am indeed a sinner in this life of mine and in my own righteousness, but I have another life, another righteousness above this life, which is in Christ, the Son of God, who knows no sin or death but is eternal righteousness and eternal life.
After being assigned to teach the book of Romans to illiterate monks in his monastery, Martin discovered the Gospel of Grace by faith alone. What reverberated from this work of God in his heart has literally transformed all of Western history and much of the known world.
One ramification of his insight has to do with the basic question of security.
How secure do you feel? Right now. With whatever circumstances you’re facing, or emotions, or pain or shame or successes or motivation to succeed? With politics? Your finances? Or death?
And how secure do you feel before God in all of His holiness – knowing what (little) you do of your own failures or guilt? How confident are you that you’re good enough or have done enough to escape condemnation?
What Luther saw in the Gospel was that Jesus did not just die as our substitute to pay for our failures but also lived as our substitute, a perfect life for us. God the Father treated Him as we deserve to be treated for our record so that God can treat us as He deserves to be treated for His record.
To repeat, Luther believed that God’s Word teaches us that “Christ lives, who is both my righteousness and my eternal life. In that righteousness I have no sin, no fear, no guilty conscience, no fear of death.”
If by trusting Jesus to do what you and I could never do, we are credited with His success, then how secure are we truly? This is the promise of the Gospel: Jesus’ faithfulness to the Father, His perfect love of God and love of neighbor, His endurance to end, His utter perfection and holiness were not just an example. They were an accomplishment and a gift. He finished the assignment our first father Adam failed to do (remember as Jesus died, He said, “It is finished”). And His accomplishment is a critical half of the Gospel gift (that many ignore or never quite learn). His record is freely given to sinners who trust Him so that not only are our sins removed (by His death) but just as critically, His righteousness – His goodness, His record, His love and loyalty to the Father – is credited to us! All by faith alone.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” If this is your hope, then you are secure.