May 25 I Saturday
1 Chronicles 25-27
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
—2 Corinthians 5:21
We may sometimes hear people say, “Christians are so self-righteous. They are so pleased with themselves. They think they are so much better than everybody else.” But the reality is in fact the opposite. To be a Christian is to recognize that our righteousness, even if it exists, is like filthy rags. We were all under the wrath of God, “but now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known” (Romans 3:21). The righteousness that Paul talks about is Jesus Christ and how He satisfied all the just requirements of a Holy God on the cross.
This righteousness is not universal, as if when Christ died, everybody in the world was covered. Rather, Christ’s righteousness needs to be appropriated on the basis of faith, and Abraham is the example of that. Abraham probably never anticipated God telling him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, but when God did, Abraham was obedient, “even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’” (Hebrews 11:18). Abraham tied Isaac, placed him on an altar and was about to slay him when God intervened and said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy… Now I know that you fear God” (Genesis 22:12). Because Abraham believed God had the power to do what He had promised, “it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3).
Most of us know “credit” as a financial term. If we were to work all day, we would expect our employer to credit us with payment for our service. Paul tells us, “Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation” (Romans 4:4). However, if we were not to work and still receive a payment, it becomes a gift because we did not do anything to earn it. Our salvation is just like that, where we come to God with neither innate ability nor contribution except a readiness in our hands to receive.
“To the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:5). Our righteousness before God is living in dependence on God and allowing Him to work out His purposes in us and through us. We are credited with this righteousness as a gift on the basis of our faith in Christ’s finished work. Our work cannot achieve righteousness, but is rather received when we believe that the completed work of Christ on the cross was enough to make us right with God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your Son to die for me on the cross and that by believing this, I have been credited with Your righteousness.