I Have Been Declared Righteous

LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Philippians 3:9  9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Happy Birthday to my brother Paul with GoServ Global. Check out their ministry at www.GoServGlobal.org

Profit is what’s left after all the expenses are paid. Whether it’s in your personal or business finances, the goal is to have as much profit as possible. We can increase profit by increasing income, minimizing expenses, or a combination of the two. But what works in the secular world doesn’t necessarily work in the spiritual world. Let’s look at what Paul says about profit in regard to righteousness.

To be righteous is to be declared right. For a long time in his life, Paul believed that if he worked harder spiritually he could earn the right to declare himself righteous. By obeying more of the law, he could improve his standing in comparison to other people. Even if other people didn’t declare him “right”, he was hoping that by personal effort he could somehow attain a level of self-declared “rightness” that would overcome his knowledge of his guilt and the shame of his failures.

Many people today are stuck in the same bondage. Some try to earn their righteousness by obeying the law, while others are rewriting the law so they are no longer guilty. But at the end of the day, the nagging of their eternal soul is not silenced, and they seek other forms of relief from the pain of guilt and shame. You see, the problem with self-declared righteousness earned by doing right things is that in our hearts we still know two things to be ultimately true: we are guilty of wrong things, and we must answer to a higher authority than ourselves.

Paul was introduced to a whole new concept of righteousness when He met Jesus Christ. Instead of God being a judge holding a balance scale in His hand on which he would weigh all our good against all of our sin and reward us accordingly, Paul discovered that as the eternal Judge, God had already imposed the sentence of guilt and its punishment on someone else on our behalf. Jesus Christ had willingly and lovingly accepted our sin as His own, and suffered the maximum sentence of death to pay for its guilt. The justice of God was completely satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, so that all who by faith receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are declared righteous. We know we are guilty, but the Judge declares us completely innocent. There is no more condemnation left for those who are found in Christ Jesus. He suffered and paid it all for us.

I am so overwhelmed right now with the surpassing greatness of the righteousness of God that is mine in Christ Jesus. I know I am still guilty of sin, and everything in my flesh tells me to make up for it. My mind is filled with questions like, “What can I do to make it right?” and “What will be accepted as sufficient restitution?” The laws of our land and the judicial system have influenced me to believe that I must be on probation for a while so I can prove my rehabilitation by obeying the law. I begin to imagine that God is my parole officer and I am accountable to Him for every action and decision, and if I mess up He will throw me back into prison to suffer the consequences of my sin.

But then I see Jesus hanging on the cross, willingly taking all my sin and its punishment into His own body. I realize that God’s incredible love has designed a plan by which His wrath against my sin is completely poured out against an innocent party so that I can be declared innocent. I did nothing nor can I do anything to earn it. I simply ask for it by faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, and it is granted to me absolutely free!

Never again will I have to prove myself. Never again will I have to measure up to a standard so I can declare myself right. Never again will I have to work to earn the favor of God or people. Never again will I have to fear that I haven’t done enough to tip the scales in my favor. In fact, instead of God being a judge holding a balance scale of justice in His hand, He is now a Father personally holding me in His hand. I will never have to walk into the courtroom of eternity, stand before the Judge, and await His ruling on my guilt or innocence. That trial has already been held, and my Savior, my Lord, and my King voluntarily became the Defendant. He was declared guilty, sentenced to death, and the sentence was carried out at Calvary. The Judge was so satisfied that absolute justice had been served that He raised the Defendant from the dead and restored Him to His original position. Then the Judge declared that any future defendants who admit their guilt and ask for forgiveness by faith in what the original Defendant did shall be declared innocent of all charges and immune from any future prosecution. Praise be to God!

Whatever I thought was to my gain in the past, I now consider rubbish that I may be found in Christ Jesus, having His righteousness and not my own. That is the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Pastor John