Video Transcript: Righteousness From God

Sometimes you don't know how bad the problem is, until you find out what the cure is. If you  read the Bible, you hear some things said about sin, and how dangerous and bad and harmful  it is. But really, you don't find the worst and most terrible things said about sin, until you find  out what the solution is. In the book of Romans, you find several chapters of the most serious  

charges against sin. But all of those come right after the Apostle Paul says, the power of that  the Gospel is the power of God, for the salvation of everybody who believes, if you feel that  you're a little bit sick, and you go to the doctor, and he explains to you a few things that are  wrong with you. And then he prescribes what you need. And you were kind of in a fog while  he was telling you what was wrong with you. But then he tells you that what you need is open heart surgery, you say, yikes, there must be something really, really wrong with me. And  when you see what God's answer to the human problem is, you say, whoa, it is worse than I  ever dared think. Because if the only solution to our problem is that God would give his own  son whom He has loved from eternity to eternity, the one through whom the worlds were  made. And if the only way we could be cured, was for him to be sacrificed and slaughtered,  then our situation really must be worse than we ever thought it was. And yet, that is the truth  of the matter. And Roman shows us the terrible truth that whether you're one of those wild  rebels, or one of those people who tends to look down on others, or one of those people who  thinks that your religion and your various activities are going to save you, whatever category  you're in. It says now we know that whatever the law says, it says those who are under the  law so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in His sight. By observing the law rather through  the law, we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God apart from law has  been made known to which the law and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God  comes through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe there is no difference for all have  sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the  redemption that came by Christ Jesus, God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement or  propitiation through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his  forbearance, he left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. He did this to demonstrate  his justice at the present time, so as to be just, and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. When the apostle says that the Gospel is the power of God, for the salvation of  everyone who believes the first thing he says to explain that is, because in the Gospel, a  righteousness from God is revealed, that is by faith, from first to last. Its righteousness from  God, that is the key to gospel power. And now, having explained all of the realities of sin, he  goes on to say more about that righteousness from God. That is the power for salvation. And  he makes it clear that this righteousness from God does not come through the law that God  revealed. As we mentioned in a previous message, the law is for diagnosis. The law is like a  blood test, which tells you something is wrong, but doesn't cure it. The law is like an x ray, or  an MRI that gives you an image of what's wrong inside the body. But an MRI doesn't fix  anything. It just shows something of what the problem is. And so we need something besides  the diagnosis, the thing that tells us what's wrong, the purpose of law was to tell us what's  wrong, and to point in the direction of what the cure might be, but not ever to provide the  cure. So it had to be a righteous from God, apart from law, but to which the law and the  prophets were pointing all along, because God even under that old law, gave rituals such as  blood sacrifice, to point to something that would deal with the problem of sin that the law  diagnosed, and this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who  believe. If you're a believer, and you have faith in Jesus Christ, then God's righteousness  comes to you. And when we, when we look at righteousness from God, in the original it just  says righteousness of God, and some take that to refer to a quality of God, that God is  righteous. And so God makes the fact that he is righteous, known apart from law, and he  makes known his own character or characteristic. And it's true that in providing  righteousness, He does make known that he is a righteous God, and that that is a quality or  attribute of his. But when Paul is speaking of the righteousness of God, here, he's talking  about a status or standing that God gives to us, not about the fact only that God Himself is  righteous. And so it's a correct translation here, a righteousness from God standing from God,  a right relationship with Him, that comes from God, and it comes through faith in Jesus Christ, 

apart from the works of the law, well, if it comes through faith in Jesus Christ, exactly how  does that work? I know several of my favorite preachers and scholars say, this is the most  important passage in the Bible for understanding the cross of Jesus Christ, and how the work  of Jesus Christ on the cross applies to us what it achieves what the blood of Jesus does, and  how that blood is received. There is no difference that we need this righteousness from God  because Paul has been making the point All along, there's no difference whether you're Jew or Greek. And it makes no difference. Whether you've been kind of a goody goody, or a real  rotter, it makes no difference because you're all equally dead. Okay, you're all dead in sin. He  says that in another passage. Now, when you're dead, sure, some corpses look different.  Some have only recently died, and they still look great. At the funeral, people might even  comment on how fine the person looks. And at another funeral, it may be a closed casket  because they were terribly mangled. And the body was in terrible condition, and they couldn't show it and nobody's making comments because they don't see the dead body. But here's the question. Which of those bodies is deader? Well, dead, is dead. And at that point, the  condition of the corpse, some corpses have decayed further, true enough, but Dead is dead.  And when it comes to the matter of sin, the Bible says that apart from God's grace, and Jesus  Christ, dead is dead, and some people look worse than another, the Pharisees look more  respectable than those miserable tax collectors. But really, they're all equally in need of God's salvation, and forgiveness so, there is no difference. Whether you're Jewish or not Jewish,  whether you're one of that kind of good people whose corpse hasn't decayed quite as much,  or somebody who's corpse has decayed a long ways or have been terribly mangled, there is  no difference because you all sinned and fell short of the glory of God. You remember the  picture I gave you of somebody who wants to make it from the earth to the moon, and the  one can climb Mount Everest, the other one is wheelchair bound. But neither one is making it  to the moon. To get to the moon, you do not need climbing lessons, you need a rocket and to  get to God and not fall short of the glory of God. You don't need just a little more oomph in  your own efforts. You need somebody else to get you there, and to satisfy God's glory, and to  bring you into God's presence. And so when we look at the power of Jesus' blood in particular,  that's what we want to think about because righteousness from God comes through faith in  Jesus Christ, and in particular faith in Jesus Christ crucified. Faith in Jesus' blood, in particular.  They're justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God  presented him as a sacrifice of atonement. Another word for atonement is propitiation  through faith in his blood. And the power in Jesus' blood is seen in three words, there,  justified, redemption, and propitiation. And I want to look at each of those three. And for some people that you just don't want to be bothered with theology and big words. You know, I get  that, you know, big words, lectures, who wants to learn all of that? Well, let me just say, if  you're a little bit impatient with big words, let me just ask you a few questions. Do you ever  feel guilty? You ever feel like there is a lot of You broken and it's against you. Well then if you  ever feel guilty justification is a very beautiful word because it tells you how God deals with  guilt. Do you ever feel trapped? You ever feel like you can't break free of something that's got  a hold on you? Well, then redemption is a beautiful word because it tells you how God sets  you free. Do you ever feel scared? Do you ever wonder man? What if God is angry at me?  What if he just unleashes his wrath against me because of things I've done? Then propitiation  or atonement becomes a very beautiful word, because it tells you that yeah, in one sense,  you are right, to be scared, because God is very angry at sin. But there is a way that he deals  with his anger against sin. So if you want to be free from guilt, free from bondage, free from  terror, then you want to know what it is to be justified to be redeemed, to have your sin atone or propitiated. So justification. Basically, the word justify means that God judges in your favor. He forgives your sins freely by his grace for Jesus sake, and he declares you forever righteous. And there are different dimensions to the human problem before God and one dimension is  just plain guilt. We are guilty. under God's law, the law says certain things we don't live up to  them. And so the law says you're guilty. How does God deal with that? Well, we need to be  righteous in God's sight. And if we don't have a righteousness of our own, then the only way  to be righteous with God and be declared righteous is for God, to provide a righteousness that didn't originate with us, and that we don't produce on our own. And this is the righteousness 

that God provides in our Lord Jesus Christ. It's very important to realize, again, that God is just that God is the judge. And justification means that judgment actually can be something to  look forward to. Because on the final day of judgment, God is simply going to declare and  judge what he already says when he justifies people, right now. When God says to you, you  are justified through faith in Jesus' blood, he's saying, I'm declaring you to be righteous. And  this is not the same thing as becoming a better person, as God works in us, we do become  better persons. But this is a declaration God makes apart from any improvements that we're  making at the moment. It is simply God saying, you are right with me. You are in my covenant of grace, you're in relationship with me, and you are forever right with me. And this is  forgiveness. And it's more than forgiveness. It's God letting go of all of our sins and not  remembering them anymore. But it's also God not only declaring us that we're not guilty, but  that in fact, we are right, we're innocent, we're in a proper position and relationship with him.  And he's not just saying that for the time being. When God says He justifies us, He is not  saying, I am putting you on probation. I'm letting you off the hook for now, you know, we  sometimes have judges who do that they deal with the court case. And they say, Well, I'm not going to throw the book at you right now. But I'm putting it on probation. And if you blow it  again, boom, then I am throwing the whole book at you. But for now, you know, I'll put you on probation, you keep your nose clean. Well, God doesn't want us to keep our nose clean, of  course. But to be justified is not to be placed on probation. It is to be declared forever  righteous, on a good standing with God, through faith in Jesus Christ. So again, this is a  judgment of God and a glorious and happy judgment of God, where because of what Jesus  Christ has done, His perfect life is counted as ours. His sacrificial death is counted on our  behalf to wipe away all those sins. And God justifies us when we trust in Him. And this means, of course, that it would be a disastrous thing, to go back to counting on yourself, and to come  to God's presence and say, Lord, look at my track record lately. I think I deserve better. I think  that you should be paying attention to how good I've been lately. When you do that you're  insulting the blood of Jesus Christ. You are ignoring the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ,  and you're trying to pump up something to show yourself how much you deserve God's favor.  And that that is not the path you want to go. If you want to come to the judge based on your  goodness, there's no hope for you. If you come to the judge based on Jesus' goodness, you  are in great shape forever. So justification is one of those words that it is a treasure that of the gospel, when God tells us that Jesus blood purchases for us justification, and it comes to us  freely by his grace, one good acronym to remember for grace, G-R-A-C- E is God's Riches, At  Christ's Expense, God's riches, at Christ's expense, that's grace, it's free for us, very  expensive for him. Redemption is a different kind of word than justification. It's based on  Jesus' blood, but it accomplishes something a little different. Redemption is a word that's used in the Bible in different settings. In some cases, it's used in the slave market, and you pay a  redemption price to free somebody from slavery. And closely related to that is the matter of  people who are either servants or even sometimes imprisoned because of a debt that they  owe. And so if you're in financial debt, redemption is getting your debt paid off, so that you're  free from the debtors prison or free from the other troubles that you have because you're in  debt. And then another picture of redemption is people who are in captivity, they are held  captive, and something needs to happen or some price or ransom needs to be paid, in order  for them to be bought out of that captivity. So you have the slave market, or the debtors  prison, or the captives who need to be ransomed from their captivity. Those are different  kinds of pictures that the word redeem is used for. And it all refers to paying a price to set  somebody free. Now, how does redemption work for us? Well, our problem then, is that we're  in bondage under sin. And God's solution is that in Christ, the price is paid, the ransom is  paid, so that we no longer have to be slaves, so that we're no longer captives. So we're no  longer in debtor's prison. And what happens is that the price of Jesus' blood, sets us free from  that bondage. And we have freedom, the glorious freedom of the children of God. And so the  Bible is saying that when you look at Jesus' blood, you want to find in him redemption, you  find in him freedom, the devil no longer has any claim on you. Because every price for your  freedom has been paid. Sin is no longer your master, because you're not under law, you're  under grace. And the Bible insists again and again, that Satan has no right to run your life. 

Your old habits have no right to run your life. There is nothing that has the right to hold you in  bondage. And so if there's anything that's holding you in bondage today, go to the blood of  Jesus, trust in the Redeemer, count on his redemption. And the freedom of Christ is what  replaces bondage, the things that have you trapped, so focus again on the cross on Jesus'  blood, and redemption is yours. And then there is propitiation. And propitiation is kind of a  long word that's not used very often anymore. Sometimes it's translated instead as a sacrifice of atonement. But propitiation is a matter of dealing with anger, with wrath. And if you have  been following at all, in our study of Romans, or if you've read other parts of the Bible, you  know that one big problem we've got is that God gets angry at sin. God reveals His eternal  power and divine nature in the things he's made. He reveals something of his will in  conscience and in the law, and we just go on rebelling against Him, and it angers him. The  wrath of God is revealed from heaven against the unrighteousness and wickedness of men  who suppress the truth by their wickedness. That's what Romans said, The wrath of God is  revealed and how, how was that wrath dealt with? How does an angry God save people  instead of destroying them? The answer to that question is propitiation or atonement. God  accepts the blood of a sacrifice, to take the punishment that's deserved by the sinner and to  appease his wrath and to absorb his wrath and to turn his wrath aside. So again, our problem  when it comes to propitiation, and our need for it, is that we are terrified by God's wrath, and  God's solution is that his wrath is pacified by the precious blood of Jesus Christ on the cross,  God hid the light of the sun, that was an emblem of His wrath against sin. That darkness that  covered the earth, for hours, was again a sign of God's rage against sin as his son endured it.  And we should not just think then that God says, Hey, sin doesn't matter. In fact, it matters a  great deal as a judge, he gives it it's just penalty. And as a holy God who is righteous. Sin  rightly makes him angry. And so the only way for us to be saved from that wrath is for God, to  direct it, and to take care of it in some other way, to take away his anger. And on the cross,  that's what happened, his his anger had to be expressed and expressed fully, and it was at  the cross. And therefore, his anger does not need to be directed towards the sinners whom he determined to save through Jesus Christ. And so the punishment is taken away. And blessing  is given. That's what the blood sacrifice of Jesus does it propitiates God's wrath, it makes God  peaceful towards you, instead of angry towards you. Again, when we're speaking of the inner  life of God, I know that we that we're always speaking of things far beyond what we can  understand. But it's, it's just wrong when people try to say that God never gets angry, or that  God has no wrath. You have to just ditch the whole Bible. To make that kind of a claim. You'd  have to get rid of God's love too if you didn't have because the same Bible speaks of God's  love speaks of God's wrath. And propitiation shows how both can be true. How God can be  filled with wrath at us, and yet save us in His love. It goes beyond what your mind can grasp  the the theologian and reformer John Calvin put it this way once God loves us, even when he  hated us. That's, that's a very stark and strong way of putting it but he loved us even when he in one sense, he hated us and was furious at us. And at the cross, he found a way to save  people even whom he was furious at and that's what propitiation or atonement does. So  again, we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus,  God presented him as a propitiation through faith in his blood, it's the blood that does this. So if you are tormented by a sense of guilt, you need to know that righteousness equals Jesus'  blood, plus nothing. If you feel trapped, and unable to set yourself free. You need to know that redemption equals Jesus' blood plus nothing. If you're scared of the anger of God and of the  wrath of God, you need to understand that propitiation equals Jesus' blood plus nothing. That  is divine mathematics, Jesus' blood plus nothing. That is the righteousness of God. That's how  we become right with God. That is why we sing of power in the blood wonderworking power.  And so this is the glory of the cross. And it is it is right and fitting for the glory of God and for  our own spiritual well being that we understand how these things work, rather than just have  kind of a vague notion that Jesus died and somehow that sets things right, yeah, that it does.  And so if that's all you can grasp then grasp that. Jesus died and his blood sets things right  when you trust him. But as we grow in grace and as we face still struggles with with guilt or  with fear or with sins of bondage, we need to return again and again to a deeper  understanding of the cross, and of what the blood does. The Apostle goes on to explain how 

this way of salvation not only saves us, but remains true to God's character. I mentioned  before that righteousness from God is a status that God gives us and not first of all, a  characteristic of God himself being righteous. But it's not inconsistent with God being  righteous. This righteousness from God that He gives to us has to be in keeping with who God is. God has to stay himself. He cannot deny himself, he cannot change to be somebody else.  He has to remain God. And God is righteous. God is just and if he is going to make us  righteous, He has to remain righteous himself. He just can't stop being righteous. If he's going to justify us. He still has to be just himself. And as it says, a little later in Romans, God justifies the wicked. How in the world? Can he be just and justify the wicked? Well, that's the one of  the great problems that the Bible identifies and answers for us. That God somehow in order to justify us has to remain just himself. We humans are so self centered, that sometimes we sit  around thinking, yeah, give me some reasons why I should accept God. Show me why I should accept Christ. You evangelists pour it on and try to persuade me show me why I should accept God. And the real problem is not why I should accept God. The biggie is, why in the world,  would God accept me? That is the question, the cross and the blood of Jesus answers, how  can God possibly accept me? And how could God just not punish the sins of people who lived  long before the time of Christ, and the apostle goes into that he shows that the cross not only  gives us righteousness from God, but it continues to reveal God himself as being righteous.  He did it this way, to demonstrate his justice, same word as righteousness. He did this to  demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance, he had left the sins committed  beforehand, unpunished, he did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be  just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Now, what does he mean by  leaving the sins committed beforehand unpunished or overlooking the sins committed  beforehand? There's a couple of statements in the Bible that can help us understand that a  little better one of them comes from a sermon of Paul that he gave in Athens. And he speaks  to people who were worshipping other gods and had false religion. And God didn't wipe them  out. He didn't just take those nations off the planet and obliterate them all instantaneously.  The Apostle says, In the past, God overlooked such ignorance. But now he commands all  people everywhere to repent. So there was a phase of history where God just kind of put up  with stuff. But how could he be just and put up with that kind of stuff? And then in his dealings with Israel, in particular, how did he How Did he accept the people of Israel? How did he  accept Abraham and David, and the other people of the Old Testament era? Well, Hebrews  9:15 explains that he says, Christ is the mediator of a New Covenant, now that he has died as  a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant, you get that  Jesus died. And one of the big reasons for his death was to set people free from the sins that  they had been committing all along under that first covenant. Hebrews explains that the  blood of bulls and goats, that never did save anybody, those sacrifices, never did take away  sins, they were just temporary signs and pointers, but God's forgiveness was based on on  what he knew he was going to do all along, he was going to sacrifice his own dear son. And so the Old Testament believers were saved by looking forward to what God was going to do.  They were saved by by God's promise of a new covenant in which he would remember their  sins no more. And they put their faith in God. And so the death of Jesus paid for sins  committed beforehand. And it proved that God was just because God left a lot of stuff go,  there was a big backlog of sin that just kept building up, building up building up. And if you  really thought about it you say yourself now how can we just God be just we still have that  today? Where some terrible thing happens. And Lightning doesn't come zooming down from  heaven and blast somebody to smithereens immediately. And you say, Well, how can God be  just? And the answer is the same in all those circumstances, because of the Cross, because of the blood. God deals with things at the cross. And when God deals with them at the cross  those people who sinned under the Old Covenant, even though the cross hadn't even  happened, yet, we're going to be made right with God because of what God had promised to  do. And the Bible says again, in Hebrews 9 explaining these things of how the blood works, he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. He appeared once for all at the  culmination of the ages, to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. So this one sacrifice 

covers the sins of all ages, whether they happened before Christ, or whether they happen  after Christ. He paid For all sins at once, so under Old Covenant law before Jesus came, God  was saying, I'll deal with your sins later. But I forgive you now. That's basically what God was  saying You're forgiven. But I'm going to deal with those sins completely later on. And in the  new covenant, God says, I have dealt with your sins through Jesus' blood, and I forgive your  sins, and I will remember them no more. And when you think of the cross, and how it shows  God to be just at the same time justifying the wicked. He applied that, that blood of Christ all  the way backward into history for all those people who had believed in him, and needed his  forgiveness. But the cross has that same power, extending forward through history, just as it  could cover all of that past. So the cross of Jesus Christ before you were ever born, before the  world was ever formed, in a sense, God had already planned this so that all of your sins, past  and present, and future, the ones you haven't even done yet, are wiped away and washed  away by Jesus' blood again, that's what justify means. That's what it means to be declared  righteous is that the power of Jesus blood and of His cross projects backward all the way  through history, forward all the way through history, and wipes out the sin of all who trust in  the Lord Jesus Christ. And so this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  And that's what Roman says, in so many words, it comes through faith in Jesus Christ, all who  believe the Apostle Paul never tired of speaking this way. In the book of Philippians 3 he says,  but whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss compared to the surpassing greatness of  knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them rubbish,  that I may gain Christ, and be found in him not having a righteousness of my own. But that  which is through faith in Jesus Christ, the righteousness that comes from God, and is by faith,  righteousness from God, by faith. And then the Paul, at the end of Romans 3 asks a few  questions just to give us a little check on whether this view of salvation the power of Jesus'  blood makes sense. First question is, can we brag where then is boasting? It's excluded? On  what principle? On not observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. If it was by the law, then you can do the  Pharisee thing. And you could say, God, I thank You that I am not like other men. I don't do  the bad things they do. I tithe I do some other good stuff. Ain't I wonderful? And of course,  God's answers. Yeah, you ain't wonderful. But but here with this way of saving, where's  boasting? You just got nothing to brag about? The apostle Paul says, What do you have that  you weren't given? And if it was given to you, why do you brag, as though it weren't given to  you? You don't brag. You know, if you if you inherit $100 million, you can't brag about how  your hard work gave you that money. You're just, you know, you, it all was handed to you on a silver tray. Okay, so if, if it's all earned by Jesus' blood, you don't have anything to brag about? Another question, Is God limited to one nation? God had chosen the Jewish people for special  purposes. But did this mean he wasn't God? The whole world? Now he was God to the whole  world all along? Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles, too? Yes, of  Gentiles too since there is only one God? Who will justify the circumcised by faith and the  uncircumcised through the same faith? Same God, same faith, same blood, same savior for all nations? Does faith destroy the law? Do we then nullify the law by this faith? No, not at all.  Rather, we uphold the law. As I said, the law is like an MRI, it tells you what's wrong with you.  It also points to Jesus, you're upholding the law. When you say I'm a sinner, Jesus, I need you.  You're upholding the law. When you say I think I can keep the law, I'm doing a good job of it.  You're just fooling yourself and you're denying what God's law says in the first place. So you're upholding the law when you flee from God's wrath and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  And this is something that was discovered. This is the 500th anniversary this year of the  Reformation, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle Church in  Wittenberg. And the Reformation had these hallmarks that it emphasized by grace alone,  through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to scripture alone, to God alone be glory they  said it in Latin sola gratia. And sole fide and so on. But in English its grace alone, not our  achievements faith alone, not the law, Christ alone, not I scripture alone, not my own opinions but the promises of God and who gets the credit God alone. We pray, Father, that you will  help us again to rejoice in the wonder of the gospel, to take heart in the precious gift of Jesus'  blood, to find at the cross all that we need to have our guilt removed, to have our bondage 

broken, to have our fear taken away, that we may live at peace with you, that we live in the  glorious freedom of the children of God that we live, knowing that we are part in there right  with You forever help us Lord to live in the gratitude and joy of that. And when Satan attacks  

us when our own failings, get us down, help us again to come to the foot of the cross and find  in you all we need. Give us that living faith today. for Jesus sake, amen.

Last modified: Tuesday, December 28, 2021, 10:41 AM