For years as a Christian the word ‘grace’ didn’t mean anything to me. Then, 2 years ago, I was struggling with my own ‘sin’ so much, I was in such a state of despair, that I cried out to Jesus for forgiveness, yet again.
And He said to me –
Steve, I have already forgiven you, once for all, on the cross. I have given you My righteousness as a free gift. Nothing you can do can make you less righteous. And nothing you can do can make you more righteous – because I am your righteousness.
This was such an amazing revelation to me, straight to my heart. And I hadn’t even heard Joseph Prince, yet!
So I started to read the bible afresh, with new eyes, and suddenly grace became a magic word. All Paul’s letters were about grace!
Then I re-read Philippians and a verse that I’d read a hundred times suddenly came alive to me for the first time!
…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!
– Philippians 3:9
Paul couldn’t believe it. And nor could I !
For 17 years I’d believed that it was up to me to live a righteous life. That’s what I’d been taught. And here was God turning that teaching on its head and telling me I was righteous regardless of my own efforts. Whether I succeeded or whether I failed, I was righteous anyway – because of Christ. He had given me His righteousness as a free gift!
How much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life!
– Romans 5:17
Could the news get any better?!
OK, the gospel before I understood grace – that I was saved by Jesus and that I was destined for Heaven – was good enough. But the walk was difficult. I was constantly falling off the horse, constantly giving up the fight, to the point of despair.
But then God revealed to me a whole new gospel, that I was righteous by faith!
That I was draped in a robe of His righteousness!
I was the Prodigal Son come home, overflowing with thankfulness.
So, whenever I see that people teach that we have to ‘add’ to our righteousness, my heart is deeply saddened. I have been reading critics of the hyper-grace movement on Charisma News and Dr. Brown’s website.
We cannot add to the righteousness God has given us! How can we, mere humans, add to God’s gift of righteousness by our own efforts?
The idea that we have anything to add is pride. It is self-righteous. We want some glory for ourselves. But as Joseph Prince says, in Heaven one day it will be “Worthy is The Lamb not Worthy is The Lamb and me!”
We have nothing to add to God’s gift of righteousness.
John Stott says this:
We hate the fact that we have no part to play in our own salvation, so we stumble at the stumbling block of the cross.
– The Cross of Christ
How could our righteous acts add to God’s righteousness when Isaiah makes it clear that all our righteous acts are like filthy rags!? Not our sins. Our righteous acts!
How then can we possibly add to the righteousness God has given us?!
So, my heart is saddened when people are yet to grasp this amazing truth – that we are perfectly righteous by faith.
I believe it takes a revelation from God to see how amazing God’s grace is – and perhaps it needs a deep cry from the depths of our souls for God to reveal it. I know that was the case for me.
Check this out:
Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His nature remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
-1 John 3:9
We cannot sin!
We know that who ever is born of God does not sin. The One who is born of God keeps him safe, and the wicked one cannot harm him.
– 1 John 5:18
The wicked one cannot harm us!
But what does John mean exactly?
Joseph Prince describes it as if we are stones in a waterfall, perpetually washed clean. Even if Satan tempts us to sin – even if we stumble, fall, stain ourselves – the dirt is immediately washed away in the eternal waterfall of God’s grace, love and forgiveness.
Famous old-school preacher Spurgeon describes it as if we are bathing in Christ’s blood!
It’s not only John who says we cannot sin. Paul tells us that we ‘died with Christ’ (Galatians 2:20), and
…anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Freed from sin!
Isaiah grasped grace – and he also couldn’t believe it!
In fact, not only did Isaiah realize that all his righteous acts were like filthy rags, but he also knew, like Paul, that God had given him His righteousness – the righteousness of God!
I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God for He has dressed me in garments of salvation. He has draped me in a robe of His righteousness!
– Isaiah 61:10.
Notice that Isaiah doesn’t say he draped himself, but God draped him.
As if anything we do could add to the righteounsess God has given us as a free gift!
We are sanctified, righteous and holy because of what Christ did for us.
Nothing we do. It is the gift of God.
It is finished.