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Whose Righteousness? #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
October 24, 2023 12:00 am

Whose Righteousness? #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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October 24, 2023 12:00 am

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The scripture says that there is a way to find righteousness with God, a righteousness that God accepts. It's not a righteousness that finds its source in us.

It is a source that comes from God, not from within. Welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today Don hammers home the fact that you and I will never be able to do anything to earn or deserve the free gift of God's salvation. Here is Don to continue in our series in Philippians titled, That I May Gain Christ. It's part two of a message called, Who's Righteousness, right now in the Truth Pulpit. What we say is how can a man be right with God? Well Paul starts by rejecting any sense of personal righteousness. That might sound very depressing, and if you are inclined to trust in yourself and to boast in your own goodness, it is very depressing because the truth is telling your heart that, you know, your life is built on a lie. But understand this, my friends, is that this passage is not a hopeless passage that we read here. Paul is not speaking without hope here. He's simply talking about a hope that is not based in himself.

It's based on something outside of himself. And so we repeat the question, we ask the question again, how can a man be right with God? How can a woman, how can a boy or a girl, how can they be right with God?

Well, here's the answer, my friends. This is why we spent two years building up to come to this very text. It requires this. Point number two, it requires a reliance on Christ's righteousness. It requires a reliance on Christ's righteousness. The true Christian is someone who says, I do not rely, I do not trust in my own works.

I don't trust in the fact that I've been good enough, I don't trust in the fact that I've avoided certain sins, and therefore I'm comparatively better. No, none of that, none of that. We're out on the suggestion.

Leave the building, in other words. That thought is what I mean by that. That thought must leave the building because it has no place in Scripture. Instead of relying on our own righteousness, we rely on the righteousness of Christ and on that alone. Salvation depends entirely and exclusively upon something else.

Salvation depends entirely and exclusively on something other than your righteousness. We've got to put that out. We've got to put that in the garbage can where it belongs and take it to the curb and leave it for someone else to carry away.

And then walk back and say, okay, well, what is it then? I'm broken. I'm empty. I have nothing to offer God in my own hands. I can't buy his favor with money. I can't buy it with my works. I'm lost.

I'm bankrupt. What now? And Scripture comes to fill that void in a wonderful, magnificent way by which God gets all of the glory in him alone. Look at it here in verse 9 with me. Notice the contrast.

Before and after you might say, not this, but this. He says, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the law, but, but that blessed word, God introduces a contrast that provides what man cannot do. Christ has provided in his own person that which man cannot provide on his own. The contrast, but, reminds me of the passage.

We're going to go on a little tangent here, which is just fine. Anything to make this clear is what we're asking the Spirit of God to do for us. The contrast between the guilt of man and the righteousness and grace of God, you see in Ephesians chapter 2.

Go back there with me again. Ephesians chapter 2, verse 1. You were dead in your trespasses and sins.

We've been using the metaphor bankruptcy. Scripture also describes it as a condition of death. No life, no hope, no movement, nothing there. You were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that's now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind. What was the outcome of all of that? By nature we were children of wrath, even as the rest.

We were all like this. I'm not speaking from a point of spiritual, of moral superiority here. This is a condemnation that falls on all of us, all of us dead in trespasses and sin, all of us bankrupt, all of us having no righteousness to offer God by which he would accept us into his holy presence.

And why are we here? Verse 4, the contrast, that glorious word, that three-word contrast, but. But God has done something that we could not do. God has acted in our spiritual death, in our spiritual bankruptcy, in our spiritual ignorance. God, being rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved.

See the contrast? You were dead in trespasses and sins, but God. You were a child of wrath, but God.

You could do nothing for yourself, but God did something for you that you did not deserve. That contrast is the same kind of contrast that Paul is bringing out as we turn back to Philippians chapter 3 verse 9. Philippians chapter 3 verse 9. This is the most important thing in the universe for men.

Nothing exceeds this in importance. How can a man be right with God? How can a man stand before God in judgment and come out safe on the other side is another way to say it. And Paul says, Paul is answering that question in a different way here, not in a different sense, a different content. He's just, he's just using a different picture to describe the same reality from Romans, Ephesians, Galatians. He says here in verse 9, he sets up the contrast. Not having a righteousness of my own derived from the law, but there's a way to have a righteousness that God accepts, but it's not through anything that you've done.

What is it then? It's that which is through faith in Christ. You see, Scripture says that there is a way to find righteousness with God, a righteousness that God accepts, but it's a righteousness that does not come from that which we produce in our own selves. It's not a righteousness that finds its source in us. It's a source that is outside of us. It is a source that comes from God, not from within, from outside of earth instead of in this earthly life. What this phrase means and what this phrase tells us is this. The righteousness which comes from God means this.

Listen to me carefully. God requires something that is beyond and apart from human effort. The righteousness that God requires is something that only God gives and that only God can give. We can't attain to it. We can't attain to infinite righteousness. We can't attain to infinite holiness any more than we could be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and jump up on top of it, any more than we could stand on the beach in Santa Monica, California and jump to Japan.

You can't do it, and there's no need to even try. The righteousness that God requires is something that only He can give. The righteousness that God requires, my friends, watch this, is the very righteousness of Christ Himself. Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, who is eternally the second person of the Trinity, who is full deity and has all of the perfections of God because He is God, that is the righteousness that God requires. It can't be attained by human effort, but it can be received in a different way, and it is the righteousness of Christ that God demands.

Look over at 1 Corinthians, another letter from Paul, 1 Corinthians after the book of Romans, 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 30. It says in verse 29, no man may boast before God, verse 30, but by His doing. See the contrast again?

Again and again and again we see this set up by contrast. This is not about human boasting. This is not about human works. It's about something else, but by way of contrast, by way of obedience that leads to boasting, no, not there, but by something else, but by His doing.

You are in Christ Jesus, who, meaning Christ, Christ became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that just as it is written, let him who boasts boast in the Lord. Why does it have to be this way? Why does it have to be this way? Well, you can trace it all the way back to Adam in the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden, but just accelerating it to the front here, God's law requires a perfect obedience from man and we can't do it. God's law not only requires perfect obedience, it also condemns us for our sin and pronounces judgment on us. And so there's this perfection of positive obedience.

We can't meet it. There's this judgment and declaration of condemnation upon our sins and we're all there for all of sin and fall short of the glory of God. And what does Scripture say about those who sin? Well, Ezekiel 18, the soul who sins will die. Romans 6 23, the wages of sin is death.

Friends, this is a profoundly serious problem. On the one hand, the law demands that we keep all of its commands, both in their positive and negative forms. On the other hand, it condemns us for every sin and leaves us without hope.

The law can show us what to do. It's enough to condemn us, but it doesn't give us the power to obey and it doesn't do anything that would provide forgiveness for us either. We can't obey more in order to be forgiven of what we've done in the past.

It doesn't work that way. And so what we find, there's something grievous about this as we build up to the hope that is in Christ. There's something grievous about this, about being inhumanity, about being a human. There's something profoundly grievous about all of this as we look at things from the perspective of the one true God. The law demands that we keep everything perfectly. Jesus said, you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect, Matthew 5.48. On the other hand, it condemns us for every sin. And those twin demands of the law are beyond us. We can't do it on our own.

Martin Lloyd-Jones said this, and I'm going to quote him somewhat at length. The gospel shows us how at one end at the same time we can fulfill the demands of the law and God can accept us without violating His own justice. Something must happen that delivers me from the penalty. Something must come into my possession that fulfills it, and it is all made possible for me in Christ. He was innocent, pure, and absolutely righteous. The law could not find a single blemish in Him, but He deliberately took our sins upon Himself. God punished our sins there in His body on the tree. God made Him responsible for our penalty, end quote.

What's all this mean? And what does it have to do with the answer to the question, who's righteousness? Well, friends, there is one human in all of the universe who has fulfilled the righteousness that God requires, and it's the God-man, Jesus Christ. There is one person who has borne the penalty of human sin in a way that satisfies the demands of God for justice for the violations of His eternal holy law. It's found in Christ, and He did it at the cross. In the life of Jesus Christ, the righteous demands of the law were satisfied. He met everything it required without a single blemish. Also in Christ, in addition to the positive demands being fulfilled, the penalty of the law is satisfied through His death on the cross.

He paid it as our substitute. And so the glorious message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is this. You and I have no righteousness to give God, and we're lost in that condition.

But God accepts the righteousness of Christ on behalf of everyone who believes in Him. You are given a gift in salvation that you could never attain on your own. Perfect obedience credited to your account in Christ. The penalty that the law requires of eternal condemnation for your sin paid in Christ, paid in full.

It is finished, Christ said on the cross. And so we have no righteousness to give God, but He accepts the righteousness of Christ on our behalf. That is exactly what Paul was saying in this passage.

Look at verse 9 with me again. A righteousness which is through faith in Christ. The righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. You see the word faith there twice? It's not about obedience to the law, it's about faith in Christ, by contrast. This faith in Christ. God tells you, tells the sinner that in Christ He will give a righteousness to him immediately and just as you are.

God justifies the ungodly who come to Christ in faith. Let me back up and just come back to where I introduced and started the message. Just for a minute, okay? There's a lot of profound truth and theology wrapped up in everything that we're saying here today. I recognize that this is not important to the world.

I don't care about that, I just acknowledge the fact that the world doesn't care anything about this. But you and I need to care about it because this is what God has revealed is the only way to survive His coming judgment. This is important to God. And because we're all going to stand before God one day at His throne and give an account for our lives, it ought to be important to every one of us to understand, to grapple with these things and understand what they are saying about the state of our souls.

And so Paul is talking about these things that are of surpassing supreme importance to God as He looks down upon humanity. And where is this righteousness that God accepts? Verse 9, it's that which is through faith in Christ. It is a righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. In your guilt, God will accept you precisely as He accepts Christ Himself. And that gift is something that you must receive on the basis of faith, not on personal merit. Faith in Christ and personal merit are mutually exclusive. It's not that I trust Christ and I also try to be a good person, and joining those two things together, God accepts me.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, stop, stop, stop. Don't think that way because that's not right. If it was on the basis of works, then the Bible says Christ died needlessly. There was no point for Him to die if you could contribute with your own obedience and righteousness. And so instead of seeking something that you can earn, Scripture says you must receive it on the basis of faith. A faith that believes what God says in the Word about Christ. A faith that believes that Christ, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified, resurrected, and ascended into heaven, that that Christ is God's gift for our salvation. And you receive that by faith. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, what is faith? If it's received on the basis of faith, that becomes a pretty important question. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He has offered to us in the gospel.

Let me summarize that as succinctly as I know how to without compromising the content. You reject your own righteousness. You utterly forsake it. You are forever a humbled person saying, I have nothing before God. I am a broken, ruined sinner. And so you reject your own righteousness. And by contrast you receive Christ. You rest on Christ. In other words, you trust nothing else but Christ for your righteousness before God. Even my faith is not an act of righteousness. It's simply the means that God has appointed by which I receive this gift from outside myself.

And here's the good news. When you receive Christ like that, confessing your sin, trusting in Him, all of your failure to obey God's law is no longer held against you. All of the impossibility of its demands have been met on your behalf. When you believe, or my Christian friend, when you believed in Jesus Christ, everything that is true of Christ in God's sight now becomes true of you in His sight. The Scripture describes it as a union with Christ. You are brought together in a vital union with Him where God looks at you through the eyes of Christ and everything that Christ did is counted for your benefit. All of His obedience credited to your account.

His death paying sacrifice on the cross covering all of your sins so that the righteousness of Christ is the basis on which God accepts you. God forgives you from your violations of the law and utterly, completely, totally releases you from its penalty. And in place of the judgment that you deserved, God gives you eternal life as the reward of the obedience of Christ. It's what Christ has done on your behalf. It's what He has accomplished for you. And you see in this, my friends, you see how great the grace of God is. You see how great the love of Jesus Christ for His people is. That though we were rebels and sinners and guilty before Him, He stepped into the world.

He stepped into time and He lived this perfect life. He died that miserable, eternally suffering death on the cross so that He could cloak you with that which was His and that you did not earn on your own. And as a gift, He could cover you in His righteousness that you might be received and accepted by a holy God. God not only regards the believer as someone who is free from guilt, He regards us as those who have kept the law fully and perfectly because Christ did and we are joined to Christ.

And what Christ did is credited to our account. And so the righteousness, the merit of Christ is now assigned to you as a free gift by a holy God. And so the question becomes this, whose righteousness are you trusting? Whose righteousness will you trust?

Your own? The Bible says it's dung. Not only because it's not worthy of God, reliance on it hinders you from coming to Christ. Or will you trust in Christ's righteousness by faith? Have you rejected your righteousness and are you relying on the righteousness of Christ alone? Scripture says those who receive Christ have a gift of surpassing value that can never be taken away. Amen.

And as the old hymn says, He paid a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay. Well, dear friend, we hope that this message has encouraged and edified you in your walk with Jesus Christ. Don Green will have more life-giving Bible teaching next time on The Truth Pulpit and we do hope you'll join us then. Meanwhile, be sure to head over to our webpage for all of Don's teaching in one place. The address is Again that's I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time when Don Green presents more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-24 05:02:24 / 2023-10-24 05:10:41 / 8

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