Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Clothed in His Righteousness

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? - Matthew 6:30

You're not good.

Well, that's as long as you fall anywhere in the 'none' or 'not one' category of Romans 3:10 where Paul tells us None is righteous, no, not one. If somehow 'none' means everyone but you, and 'not one' means not anyone except you, then feel free to stop reading now. Of course, if language means anything you see that we all fall in this category.

All worldviews have to answer these questions*:

  1. Why is there something other than nothing?
  2. What is wrong with the world?
  3. How can it be fixed?
  4. Where is the world headed? 

In a quick summary the Christian teaching is this: Our Triune God (Father, Son, and Spirit) created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. He made man in His own image. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, willfully rejected God and as the representatives of all mankind plunged themselves and their posterity into guilt and under God's wrath.

You're guilty before God because Adam represented you (sort of like how a whole team is penalized for one person's personal foul).  And you're not a good person because you love to be the god of your own life rather than worshiping the God who made you. You're a sinner by nature and by choice.

But now we are back to Matthew 6:30: But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

I'm not attempting to allegorize this text, but to let is serve as an illustration for us. The God who made the world and everything in it, who clothes the flowers in all of their beautiful splendor, has something even better to clothe us in, if we come to Christ in faith.

Jesus, who wasn't guilty of Adam's sin like everyone else, is the exception (the only exception) of Romans 3:10. He is the spotless Lamb. The 2nd Person of the Trinity who lived righteously as the God-Man on the earth before the Father. He then died on the cross for our sin. In a sense, He became us as our sin was laid upon Him (- our being those who will come to Him in faith).

See, you, the not good one, the unrighteous one, the one who stands guilty and condemned before God can actually be counted as good and righteous. Not because deep down inside you have something intrinsically good or righteous but because the righteousness of another is offered to you. And how do you get this righteousness?

By doing something righteous? If so, you're out, since you don't have the capacity to do anything righteous in and of yourself since you are in the category of "none is righteous, no not one." You can't receive righteousness by doing anything righteous. Baptism, the Lord's Supper, gathering with the church, reading your bible, praying, giving money, trying to be a good person....None of these things will get you the righteousness you need because not one of your acts in doing any of these things is righteous.

But, the offer still stands. You can receive this righteousness, but it is offered in the only way we can receive it: by faith alone. We must spurn trust in any of our deeds to merit God's favor upon us and we must go to Christ alone. Go to Him! Run to Him! Leave behind any thought of you earning God's favor with your life and flee to the finished work of Christ alone. Close with Christ today!

Wait. It's got to be more complicated than that! For all my sin and shame and rebellion, there's not anything for me to make up or fix? This is the glorious news of the gospel: Christ has taken care of that for us through His cross and resurrection. If you will come to Christ in faith today, God will clothe you in Christ's righteousness. Before God you will be legally declared as though you had always obeyed every Law of God, perfectly, even with the perfect motivation. Not because you have actually obeyed (in fact, you've failed miserably), but because Christ has obeyed in your stead, and just like you're declared guilty because of you're first representative Adam, you can be declared righteous because of your second representative, Christ.

You're not good. But Christ is! And by faith, you can have His goodness today. By faith God can and will clothe you in the righteousness of His Son**. What prevents you today? Jesus says all those who come to Him, He will never cast out. What an offer! If you wait until your life is worthy of coming to Christ, you will never come, because the essence of the gospel of grace is that we are not worthy, nor will we ever be worthy. But He gives more grace. Come to Christ this day and rest your weary and sin sick soul in the life giving wounds of our Savior. Be clothed in His righteousness by faith.

*Thanks Dr. Mohler and the Briefing for such clarity on these questions!

** The technical term we use is imputation. Adam's guilt was imputed to us, our sin is imputed to Christ on the cross, and His righteousness is imputed to us by faith

No comments:

Post a Comment