Last year I was trapped in a sin cycle, feeling terrible about myself, powerless to overcome the sin, crying out to God, repenting, desperate to be pure, be holy, and righteous. I couldn’t get any lower. I couldn’t have been in a darker place.
And then…BAM! God knocked me off of my self-effort, self-righteous, I-can-do-this-all-by-myself horse with the Gospel of Grace!
Just when I needed to hear it, God told me (indirectly via Joseph Prince‘s ministry) that I was already righteous, pure and holy to God – that Christ had achieved it all for me. That I didn’t have to do anything. That it was all done. That it was all finished. To God, I was as righteous as Christ.
Wow! Now that was ‘good news’!
Better than good news. It was the best news I had ever heard. The gospel was completely new. Jesus was completely new. Suddenly, I had nothing to prove. Not only that, nothing I could do could take away my righteousness. Nothing I could to could add to it, and nothing I could do could take it away because it was a free gift from God (see Romans 5:17).
I was, as the writer of Hebrews says, ‘perfect forever.’
As Christians we are absolutely holy and righteous in God’s eyes – because of what Christ did on the cross. Nothing we do, as Paul says:
He is our righteousness.
This is why Isaiah was so overwhelmed with joy when he discovered it was not his own righteous acts that made him righteous, but that God had draped him ‘in a robe of His righteousness!’ (Isaiah 61:10)
As Christians all of our sin, past present and future was crucified on the cross in Christ’s body, and therefore, it is impossible for those who are in Christ to sin (1 John 3:9 / 5:18).
Not because we don’t make mistakes – of course we do – even Paul did 15 years after his coversion (check Romans 7) but because God doesn’t ‘see’ our sin anymore – or rather, of course He sees everything, but as Paul says He doesn’t ‘count our sin against us..’
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies!
And we are justified. We stand perfect, righteous and holy before God, despite all of our faults, our sins, and our errors, because Christ paid the penalty for us. Christ took our place, out of His great love for us:
Nobody takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own free will.
Now wonder Paul couldn’t stop banging on about grace and righteousness.
Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from obeying the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – a righteousness that comes from God and is by faith!
To Paul it was a massive revelation. For centuries his Jewish forefathers had been teaching to obey the Torah, the whole law. But the gospel blew the lid off all of that. We didn’t have to obey the law anymore. We were absolutely, completely, utterly free.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!” yells Paul. And rightly so. He couldn’t contain his excitement, and neither will you when you realize there is nothing left for you to do but sit back and rest in His grace, love and peace.
It is finished!
Nothing we can do can take away the robe of righteousness He has draped us in.
Our eternal home is secure.
The Holy Spirit is our deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.
Now that is ‘good news’.
That’s the gospel!