GRACE FOR TODAY Radio Message #468
††††††††† Justification By The Righteousness Of Christ
††††††††† Pastor Don Fortner
††††††††† Grace Baptist Church of Danville
††††††††† 2734 Old Stanford Road
††††††††† Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
††††††††††††††† That which is imputed to us in justification is the righteousness of Christ. If we are to understand this blessed, gospel doctrine as it is set forth in the Word of God, we must mix nothing with the righteousness of Christ as the ground of our justification.
1. No one could ever be justified by his own works of obedience to God (Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal. 2:16). The Scriptures tell us plainly that no manís obedience to the law can justify him, neither as considered by themselves nor as associated with the obedience of Christ. The reasons are obvious. Our righteousnesses are only filthy rags in Godís sight. The best of our deeds is only worthy of Godís wrath, not his favor. The law demands perfection; but we cannot give it. Besides, if justification could be accomplished by our works of righteousness, then Christ died in vain (Gal. 2:21), it could not be ascribed to grace at all (Rom. 11:6), and there would be grounds for boasting before God (Rom. 3:27).
††††††††† 2. We are not justified by our obedience to the gospel either. Many think that the gospel is simply a lowering of the demands of the law. Though no man can be justified by complying with and obeying the law, they foolishly imagine that God has now made repentance and faith conditions of justification. Such doctrine is not to be found in Scripture. God never changes. He cannot accept anything less than perfection. He who is holiness demands holiness (Heb. 12:14).
††††††††† 3. Religious sincerity can never give sinners a justifying righteousness before God. Pagans, Papists, Mahometans, and Jews may be just as sincere as Christians, as were many of our Lordís disciples in the New Testament before they were converted; But sincerity does not atone for sin or satisfy the demands of Godís law.
††††††††† 4. Not even faith itself, the act of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, is the grounds of our justification with God. Many erroneously teach that it is our faith in Christ which is imputed to us for righteousness. But that is not the teaching of Scripture. Faith, though it is the gift of God, is described in Scripture as a personís own act. Therefore, it cannot be that which is imputed to us for righteousness. That righteousness which is ours in justification is called ďan everlasting righteousness.Ē Therefore it cannot be ascribed to our faith, because our faith is not everlasting. Righteousness is revealed to faith, we believe unto righteousness, and righteousness is given to all who believe (Rom. 1:17; 3:22; 10:10). Therefore faith and righteousness cannot be considered the same thing.
††††††††† 5. The Word of God asserts that the obedience of Christ as our Mediator and Substitute, and that alone, is the righteousness of God which is imputed to Godís elect for justification (Rom. 5:18-19). If we would be just with God we must have a perfect holiness of nature, a perfect obedience of life, and a perfect satisfaction for sin. These things constitute righteousness. Nothing else can. And these things are found only in our great and glorious Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ.