Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Picture of us Receiving Christ's Righteousness ~

Let the reader try to picture the scene. Here stands the law as the swift witness against the sinner. It cannot change, and it will not call a sinner a righteous man. The convicted sinner tries again and again to obtain righteousness from the law, but it resists all his advances. It cannot be bribed by any amount of penance or professedly good deeds. But here stands Christ, "full of grace" as well as of truth, calling the sinner to Him. At last the sinner, weary of the vain struggle to get righteousness from the law, listens to the voice of Christ, and flees to His outstretched arms. Hiding in Christ, he is covered with His righteousness; and now behold! he has obtained, through faith in Christ, that for which he has been vainly striving. He has the righteousness which the law requires, and it is the genuine article, because he obtained it from the Source of Righteousness; from the very place whence the law came. And the law witnesses to the genuineness of this righteousness. It says that so long as the man retains that, it will go into court and defend him against all accusers. It will witness to the fact that he is a righteous man. With the righteousness which is "through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:9), Paul was sure that he would stand secure in the day of Christ.

There is in the transaction no ground for finding fault. God is just, and at the same time the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead; He is equal with the Father in every attribute. Consequently the redemption that is in Him—the ability to buy back lost man—is infinite. Man's rebellion is against the Son as much as against the Father, since both are one. Therefore, when Christ "gave Himself for our sins," it was the King suffering for the rebellious subjects—the One injured passing by, overlooking, the offense of the offender. No skeptic will deny that any man has the right and privilege of pardoning any offense committed against himself; then why cavil when God exercises the same right? Surely if He wishes to pardon the injury done Himself, He has the right; and more because He vindicates the integrity of His law, by submitting in His own Person to the penalty which was due the sinner. "But the innocent suffered for the guilty." True; but the innocent Sufferer "gave himself" voluntarily, in order that He might in justice to His government do what His love prompted, namely, pass by the injury done to Himself as the Ruler of the universe.

Now read God's own statement of His own Name—a statement given in the face of one of the worst cases of contempt ever shown Him: 
"And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the Name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty." Ex. 34:5-7.

This is God's Name; it is the character in which He reveals Himself to man; the light in which He wishes men to regard Him. But what of the declaration that He "will by no means clear the guilty"? That is perfectly in keeping with His long-suffering, abundant goodness, and His passing by the transgression of His people. It is true that God will by no means clear the guilty; He could not do that and still be a just God. But He does something which is far better: He18 removes the guilt, so that the one formerly guilty does not need to be cleared,—he is justified, and counted as though he never had sinned.
Christ And His Righteousness

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