The Righteousness of God

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
WHAT is the “righteousness of God"? It is God taking up the cause of a sinner; God working; God giving; and all in Jesus. He has sent a Savior. He has sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, as a sacrifice for it, has condemned. sin already, so that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. The righteousness of God, then, is not your being righteous towards God, but God righteous towards you who believe, because He has found in Jesus all that satisfies His heart and His holiness. It is the consistency of God with what Christ has done for sinners and suffered for sin. God has placed Himself under what I may call a bond to honor Jesus, in the persons of those who confess His name, because of what Jesus has undergone on the cross.
The righteousness of God is “without the law,” apart from it altogether. It is not even the law as it was accomplished by Jesus in this world; that did not touch my guilt. What I want is that my sins should be purged away. Will that blessed One, who is true God and perfect man, will He put His head under the sword of God's judgment in my place? He has done it! Therefore all is changed for the soul that repents and believes. God is not now bound to execute judgment upon man, save upon him who rejects His Son; but He has to be righteous in view of what Jesus deserved at His hands—the blessed man who bore sin, and has borne it away. If I believe in Christ it is no longer a question of the first man, Adam, but of the second man, the last Adam, who is in the presence of God, the perfect witness of divine righteousness; and it is God now that is just and justifies him that believes in Jesus. His concern is to honor and requite His SON. Did God want a righteous man There was the sole perfectly righteous One. Did He look for a heart full of zeal for His own house? Jesus was the one. Did He seek a man willing to suffer everything from the world that God might be honored? nay, be far more willing to bear even the wrath of God, and take upon Him the judgment of sins.? All was found in Jesus. And therefore it is no longer man that is weighed in the balances and found wanting, because he cannot meet the claims of the law, that is, the measure of righteousness due to God. But it is God who has got a new kind of righteousness; a righteousness that justifies instead of condemning. Not only have we an Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous, but He is the propitiation for our sins, yea, also for the whole world.
Thus God Himself now is, we may say with reverence, under obligations to His Son on behalf of sinners. For He sees before Him, a Savior, a spotless Lamb, whose blood suffices for the worst of sinners. The gospel is the manifestation of the righteousness of God without the law. If the law enters in the smallest particular, so that we are under it, you are a lost man, and so am I. The gospel is God providing a sacrifice, or substitute, to bear His wrath against my sins. If I have faith in Christ and His blood, I am entitled to say, my sins are gone. By Himself He has purged my sins—not partly by Him and partly by me or others; but by Himself, to the exclusion of everything and every one else.
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” The prophets proclaimed that that righteousness was “near to come;” the sacrifices connected with the law pointed to it as the ultimate work and way of God. All centered in Christ—in Him who was called “The Lord our righteousness.” He alone, who was God, could perfectly satisfy God. It is now, therefore, a question of God showing Himself righteous, in honoring the Lord Jesus and His sufferings for us. We cannot make too much of Him and His salvation. God sees such blessedness in Christ, that, because of what He is and has done, He can meet the case, no matter how hopeless otherwise. The sinner may have been ever so abandoned, ever so unfeeling, ever so highminded. “Such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified;” because God has, if I may so say, such delight and confidence in the salvation that is in Christ, and the Holy Ghost has sealed us in virtue of it. God is righteous in forgiving me, because of the shed blood of His Son. Without it there is no remission; with it, what is there not? God is most jealous about His son. He will never slight His person, nor overlook the worth of His death. May you cast yourselves upon God, as One who cannot but be righteous to what His Son calls for at His hands! His blood was shed. Can you ask anything of God, or bring anything to God, so precious as that? Can you add anything to what is infinitely efficacious? That blood “cleanseth from all sin.” God Himself gives it to you and thus commends His love. Receive it from Himself, resting on His word. He guarantees its eternal value. (Heb. 10:9-179Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 10:9‑17).)