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February 8 Today’s Reading — Leviticus 22-23
“It shall be perfect to be accepted.”
How good does a person have to be to get to heaven? He has to be perfectly good, as good as God himself. That which man looks upon as his “personal righteousness” he calls good; but is of absolutely no value in the sight of God. God calls all your thoughts and deeds of righteousness, and mine, “filthy rags.” They are an abomination to Him (Isaiah 64:6). Man’s definition of righteousness depends entirely upon his definition and understanding of God. The problem is most have never seen God in His glorious holiness. Once a sinner sees God in His holiness, he will cease forever to speak of his own goodness, personal holiness, and self-righteousness. With Isaiah, he will cry, “Woe is me! I am undone” (Isaiah 6:1-6). Who can stand in the presence of the holy Lord God?
No son of Adam can ever stand in the presence of the holy Lord God, because we are all cursed (Galatians 3:10). God is so infinitely holy that He charges the angels with folly, so holy that the heavens are not clean in His sight, so holy that when He found sin upon His own dear Son, He forsook Him and killed Him! Are we better than the angels? Are we purer than the heavens? Dare we imagine that God will accept us with our polluted works, when He killed His own Son for sin? Only one who is himself equal to God can stand in the presence of God and please Him (Psalm 24:3-5; Matthew 17:5). That righteousness which God requires, only God can give. Yet, it must be the work of a man, or it is of no value to men. Blessed be God! There is a Man who is himself God, who has magnified the law and made it honorable. He has brought in an everlasting righteousness by His perfect obedience to the law as a man, even the very righteousness of God. He has satisfied the law’s justice, by dying under its curse. And He lives forever to give righteousness and eternal life to sinners. That Man-God is Jesus Christ the Lord.
The Word of God plainly declares that no one shall enter into the glory of heaven who is not worthy to do so (Revelation 21:27; 22:11; 1 Corinthians 6:9). And all are by nature unrighteous (Ecclesiastes 7:20). We are all sinners. We all deserve the wrath of God. Yet, God the Holy Spirit tells us that there are some who have been made worthy to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints (Colossians 1:12). How can that be? How can a sinner be made worthy of heaven? Only God can do it! Grace alone can make us worthy of heaven’s glory. Every believer, every sinner saved by grace, everyone who trusts Christ alone as his Savior and Lord has been made worthy of heaven by three mighty works of God:
1. By Blood Atonement — The believer’s sins have been fully paid for by Christ, so justice cannot require further payment.
2. By Imputed Righteousness — The righteous obedience of Christ has been imputed to all who trust Him, so that the believer stands before God as one who is perfectly righteous, having fulfilled all His holy law in the Person of Christ, our Substitute.
3. By Regeneration — In the new birth God the Holy Spirit gives every chosen, ransomed sinner a holy nature. By these three works of grace, sinners are transformed into saints and made worthy of heaven, — “perfect in Christ Jesus!”