December 4 I Saturday
1 John 3
“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” —Romans 1:17
What is God’s primary goal of the gospel? To have a correct understanding, we need to go back to Genesis 1:26, when God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness.” This is a moral image, representing the righteousness of God, which is His character—who He is and how He behaves.
Righteousness was not designed exclusively for God, but was intended to characterize human beings. As a consequence of the fall, God withdrew His Spirit from Adam and Eve, and since then, humankind has failed to reveal what God is like. Paul tells us, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). But he also writes, “the gospel…is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). This is not a salvation from guilt to innocence, from hell to heaven or from death to life, but a salvation from unrighteousness to righteousness.
Righteousness is defined in the New Testament in two ways. The first is a righteousness that is imputed to us upon becoming a Christian. We do nothing to earn or deserve this. It is a gift of God, an automatic exchange of our unrighteousness for the righteousness of Christ. The second is an imparted righteousness, which is a process whereby we are being transformed from one degree of glory to another. This is the goal of the gospel, not heaven or being forgiven and cleansed—which are wonderful aspects of the gospel—but being made into the likeness of Christ, so that we may portray the truth about God. Sin is our failure to do so, which distorts and corrupts God’s intended purpose for us.
The goal of the gospel is to get human beings back to what we were created to be in the first place. It is solely through the indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ that we are being restored with ever increasing glory into the image of God. Paul writes, “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). The gospel is about the righteousness of God, not simply as an objective truth, but as something made available to us—“a righteousness from God,” obtainable by faith. The ultimate goal of the gospel is to bring glory to God by mending the broken state of humanity by the work of the indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ, restoring us to our original purpose, which is as God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image.”
Prayer: Loving Father, thank You for providing a means of being restored to Your image. By Your Spirit indwelling me, I pray that I may increasingly become a reflection of Your character to this world.