Bible Society of South Africa
Frank Retief

Remember his strength – Day 17

Being righteous

Bible text(s)

How We are Put Right with God

21But now God's way of putting people right with himself has been revealed. It has nothing to do with law, even though the Law of Moses and the prophets gave their witness to it.

Romans 3:21GNBOpen in Bible reader

Just think for a moment, of how much good the noble deeds of great men have accomplished in the world. Although our world is fallen, we must not forget that we are still created in God’s image and, therefore, mankind is capable of great and good things, as well as great evil and darkness. Philanthropists, over the years, have made hospitals possible for the sick, schools for the poor children, food for the hungry and various ingenuous endeavours to help those who cannot help themselves, for some reason. One only has to remember some recent natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a flood, to see the word respond in great acts of goodwill and generosity.

However good, noble and praiseworthy all these efforts may be, we must never lose sight of the Bible’s teachings that by our good deeds and noble efforts, i.e., our “righteousness”, we can still not know God. Our fallenness is too great, so no matter how we try, we cannot know God until he makes himself known to us.

In the above verse, we read that this is exactly what God has done – “a righteousness from God has been made known”. What righteousness is this? It is the righteousness of Christ, which supersedes all the noble acts of humankind, over all the ages. What makes his righteousness so special? It is that he offered his righteous soul up as an atonement for our sins. God promised us that the righteousness, which belongs only to his Son, will be imputed or given to us, sinners. This means that I need no longer strive to make myself acceptable to God – for that is an impossible task. Rather, the impeccable righteousness of Christ, given to me, speaks for all and makes me acceptable to the Father. Therefore, I may feel like a failure, I may feel especially low, but now I know that my feelings are not important. It is what is true about me that is important; that I now have a “righteousness from God”. I am saved, forgiven and free from guilt.

Moreover, this is what the Old Testament law and prophets were pointing to all the time. Therefore, it is not new; it is what God intended from the beginning.

Let us not stop our noble deeds, rather let us increase them, but this time with the knowledge that they do not gain us heaven, but is evidence that we belong to God and that heaven is our ultimate destiny.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.6
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