Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spurgeon: Christ alone is our righteousness

MAN by the Fall sustained an infinite loss in the matter of righteousness. He suffered the loss of a righteous nature and then a two-fold loss of legal righteousness in the sight of God. Man sinned. He was therefore no longer innocent of transgression. Man did not keep the command. He therefore was guilty of the sin of omission. In that which he committed and in that which he omitted, his original character for uprightness was completely wrecked. Jesus Christ came to undo the mischief of the Fall for His people. So far as their sin concerned their breach of the command—He has removed by His precious blood.

His agony and bloody sweat have forever taken away the consequences of sin from believers, seeing Christ did by His one sacrifice bear the penalty of that sin in His flesh. He, His own self, bare our sins in His own body on the tree. Still it is not enough for a man to be pardoned. He, of course, is then in the eye of God without sin. But it was required of man that he should actually keep the command. It was not enough that he did not break it or that he is regarded through the blood as though he did not break it. He must keep it—he must continue in all things that are written in the Book of the Law to do them.

How is this necessity supplied? Man must have a righteousness or God cannot accept him. Man must have a perfect obedience or else God cannot reward him. Should He give Heaven to a soul that has not perfectly kept the Law? That were to give the reward where the service is not done and that before God would be an act which might impeach His justice. Where, then, is the righteousness with which the pardoned man shall be completely covered, so that God can regard him as having kept the Law and reward him for so doing? Surely, my Brethren, none of you are so drunk as to think that this righteousness can be worked out by yourselves.

... We, therefore, assert—believing that Scripture fully warrants us—that the life of Christ constitutes the righteousness in which His people are to be clothed. His death washed away their sins. His life covered them from head to foot. His death was the Sacrifice to God. His life was the gift to man by which man satisfies the demands of the Law. Herein the Law is honored and the soul is accepted. I find that many young Christians who are very clear about being saved by the merits of Christ’s death, do not seem to understand the merits of His life.

... He completed the work of obedience in His life and said to His Father, “I have finished the work which You gave me to do.” Then He completed the work of atonement in His death and knowing that all things were accomplished, He cried, “It is finished.”

... Christ in His life was so righteous that we may say of the life, taken as a whole, that it is righteousness itself. Christ is the Law incarnate. Understand me, He lived out the Law of God to the very full and while you see God’s precepts written in fire on Sinai’s brow, you see them written in flesh in the Person of Christ—

“My dear Redeemer and my Lord,
I read my duty in Your Word,
But in Your life the Law appears
Drawn out in living characters.”

... He carried out the Law, then, I say to the very letter. He spelt out its mystic syllables and verily He magnified it and made it honorable. He loved the Lord His God, with all His heart and soul and mind and He loved His neighbors as Himself. Jesus Christ was righteousness impersonated. “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” He might well say. One thousand eight hundred years have passed since then and blasphemy itself has not been able to charge Him with a fault.

... You will now observe that there is a most precious doctrine unfolded in this title of our Lord and Savior. I think we may take it thus—When we believe in Christ by faith we receive our justification. As the merit of His blood takes away our sin so the merit of His obedience is imputed to us for righteousness. We are considered, as soon as we believe, as though the works of Christ were our works.

-C.H.Spurgeon, “The Lord Our Righteousness

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