Sabbath, October 17, 2015
“When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness….” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 311.
Righteousness is God’s prerogative
1. Although many people see themselves as honest and respectful, what completely different picture does God’s word present? In whom alone is righteousness found?
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.
“We have a living Saviour. He is not in Joseph’s new tomb; He is risen from the dead and has ascended on high as a Substitute and Surety for every believing soul. ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Romans 5:1. The sinner is justified through the merits of Jesus, and this is God’s acknowledgment of the perfection of the ransom paid for man. That Christ was obedient even unto the death of the cross is a pledge of the repenting sinner’s acceptance with the Father. Then shall we permit ourselves to have a vacillating experience of doubting and believing, believing and doubting? Jesus is the pledge of our acceptance with God. We stand in favor before God, not because of any merit in ourselves, but because of our faith in ‘the Lord our righteousness.’ ” –Faith and Works, p. 107.
Righteousness and the gospel
2. Where is the righteousness of God especially revealed? How is justification explained by the Spirit of prophecy?
Romans 1:16, 17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
“What is righteousness? It is the satisfaction that Christ gave the divine law in our behalf. He bore the test on every point on which the sinner must bear it. He was tempted in all points as we are tempted,… He did not yield in the least degree to the power of the enemy.” –Review and Herald, August 21, 1894.
“The grace of Christ is freely to justify the sinner without merit or claim on his part. Justification is a full, complete pardon of sin. The moment a sinner accepts Christ by faith, that moment he is pardoned. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, and he is no more to doubt God’s forgiving grace.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 107.
By grace alone
3. How may one obtain righteousness–by works or by grace? Is there anyone who can be justified by his own merits and deeds?
Romans 3:20, 28 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin…. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
“Justification is wholly of grace and not procured by any works that fallen man can do. The matter has been presented before me in clear lines that if the rich man has money and possessions, and he makes an offering of the same to the Lord, false ideas come in to spoil the offering by the thought he has merited the favor of God, that the Lord is under obligation to him to regard him with special favor because of this gift….
“Justification is the opposite of condemnation. God’s boundless mercy is exercised toward those who are wholly undeserving. He forgives transgressions and sins for the sake of Jesus, who has become the propitiation for our sins. Through faith in Christ, the guilty transgressor is brought into favor with God and into the strong hope of life eternal.” –Faith and Works, pp. 20, 104.
Faith is required
4. As with Abraham, what is necessary for one to be justified? Is it possible to please God and receive the imputation of His righteousness without believing Him?
Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
“As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith. Every believing soul is to conform his will entirely to God’s will and keep in a state of repentance and contrition, exercising faith in the atoning merits of the Redeemer and advancing from strength to strength, from glory to glory.
“Pardon and justification are one and the same thing. Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption.” –Faith and Works, p. 103.
Results of justification
5. When a person is declared just, or justified, what happens to the condemnation that he deserves?
Romans 8:1, 34 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…. 34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
“Having made us righteous through the imputed righteousness of Christ, God pronounces us just, and treats us as just. He looks upon us as His dear children. Christ works against the power of sin, and where sin abounded, grace much more abounds.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 112.
“The sinner receives the forgiveness of his sins, because these sins are borne by his Substitute and Surety. The Lord speaks to His heavenly Father, saying: ‘This is My child, I reprieve him from the condemnation of death, giving him My life insurance policy–eternal life–because I have taken his place and have suffered for his sins. He is even My beloved son.’ Thus man, pardoned, and clothed with the beautiful garments of Christ’s righteousness, stands faultless before God.” –Faith and Works, p. 103.
6. In what relationship will one stay with God if he is justified? What effect will righteousness have?
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
“Christ is ‘the Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6), and it is His mission to restore to earth and heaven the peace that sin has broken. ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Romans 5:1. Whoever consents to renounce sin and open his heart to the love of Christ, becomes a partaker of this heavenly peace.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 27.
“Justification by faith in Christ will be made manifest in transformation of character. This is the sign to the world of the truth of the doctrines we profess. The daily evidence that we are a living church is seen in the fact that we are practicing the Word. A living testimony goes forth to the world in consistent Christian action. –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1071.
7. What guarantee is given to those who have been justified by faith in Jesus? What will the Lord do for those He has justified?
Romans 8:33, 30, middle and last parts Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth…. 30Whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
“Jesus does not desire those who have been purchased at such a cost to become the sport of the enemy’s temptations. He does not desire us to be overcome and perish. He who curbed the lions in their den, and walked with His faithful witnesses amid the fiery flames, is just as ready to work in our behalf to subdue every evil in our nature. Today He is standing at the altar of mercy, presenting before God the prayers of those who desire His help. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. Freely will He pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness and restoration. He does not tell to any all that He might reveal, but He bids every trembling soul take courage. Whosoever will, may take hold of God’s strength, and make peace with Him, and He will make peace.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 90.
For additional study
“Not by painful struggles or wearisome toil, not by gift or sacrifice, is righteousness obtained; but it is freely given to every soul who hungers and thirsts to receive it. ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;… without money and without price.’ Isaiah 55:1. ‘Their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord,’ and, ‘This is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.’ Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 23:6.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 109.
“Our faith must reach within the veil, where Jesus has entered for us. We must lay hold with firmer grasp on the unfailing promises of God. We must have faith that will not be denied, faith that will take hold of the unseen, faith that is steadfast, immovable. Such faith will bring the blessing of heaven to our souls.” –My Life Today, p. 8.
“Justification is the reward of faith in the righteousness of Christ. His imputed righteousness brings everyone who accepts Him as a personal Saviour into conformity to the will of God. His righteousness goes before them. He leads the way, bidding us follow Him. He who follows Christ must live in obedience to the law of God. Sin and holiness cannot unite.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, p. 96.
“The souls that turn to Him for refuge, Jesus lifts above the accusing and the strife of tongues. No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites them to His own divine-human nature. They stand besides the great Sin Bearer in the light proceeding from the throne of God.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 90.