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1 Corinthians 1:30
“Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us Righteousness.” — Many use the words “righteousness” and “holiness” interchangeably, as if they were synonyms. They are not. Righteousness is primarily a legal term. Though it may be and is used to refer to one’s character, it primarily refers to his deeds. Righteousness refers to that which is right before the law, or right in the eyes of the law. Holiness, on the other hand, is a word that is used to describe one’s character.
Yet, the Word of God makes it abundantly clear that none are righteous (right before the law) and none are holy in character (sanctified) except the Lord Jesus Christ. And he alone is the Righteousness and Holiness (Sanctification) of his people. If we have righteousness before God, Christ must be our Righteousness; and he must be “of God made unto us Righteousness.”
This is the blessed doctrine of the gospel revealed in Holy Scripture. The Son of God came into this world in human flesh that he might magnify the law and make it honorable as a Representative man, to bring in everlasting righteousness for his people. God’s demand is plain and clear: — “Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” It is written, “It must be perfect to be accepted.”
The Lord Jesus Christ did what none of us could ever do. He walked before God all the days of his humiliation in absolute perfection, totally obedient to the will of God and to the law of God. This he did, not for himself but for us, to bring in everlasting righteousness for us. When he died upon the cursed tree as our Substitute, he met and fully satisfied every demand of God’s holy law and strict justice for his elect and made us, by his obedience unto death, the righteousness of God.
Just as we were made sinners by the disobedience of the first man Adam, we are made righteous by the obedience of Christ, the last Adam (Romans 5:12, 18-19). That means that every sinner for whom Christ lived and died and rose again is right (righteous) before the law.
Christ is made of God unto us righteousness and we are made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21; Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16; 50:20) by virtue of our union with him.