Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Jesus is My Righteousness

I once heard a testimony of a brother saved out of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  What drew him to faith in Christ was when he was reading Philippians 3:9 and the thought struck him about how much he was doing to try to earn or be righteous before Jehovah. He noted that Paul said that his righteousness came not from himself but from Christ.  This brother said he knew in his heart that he was not deriving his righteousness from his faith in Christ but from his good works for the Watchtower or in his terms, “Jehovah’s organization.”  This led him to begin to question his beliefs and led him to abandon his self-righteousness for the righteousness that comes through faith.

How easy it is to fall prey to this thinking, that we earn God’s favor by being righteous in of ourselves.  We labor in prayer or labor in Bible study or labor in meetings with the saints or labor in evangelism hoping, at least in our minds, that God is pleased with our behavior.  Yet the Bible makes it clear that salvation is accomplished through Christ Jesus and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Our righteousness is but filthy rags before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6).  The wonderful truth of the gospel is that Jesus saves sinners (Matthew 1:21) and that He makes us righteous before God by His own blood.  Our righteousness is thus not our righteousness but comes through faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus is my righteousness!  Jesus is my salvation!  Jesus is my faithful high priest who intercedes for me before the Father (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2).

My labor then flows not from seeking to earn God’s favor or His salvation.  My labors flow from the Spirit of God (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14).  I am zealous to honor the Lord because He has saved me by His own power (John 1:12-13).  I am not saved because I have joined the right group or because I was baptized in this church.  I am saved because of Christ and Christ alone.  Cultists hate this doctrine.  They despise the idea that God alone saves sinners.  Man-centered theology focuses on what man does and what we do to either earn God’s righteousness or keep His righteousness.  Not so with biblical theology.  Our salvation comes through Christ and through Christ alone (John 14:6).

Arminius wrote about this salvation accomplished in Christ:

Justification is a just and gracious act of God as a judge, by which, from the throne of his grace and mercy, he absolves from his sins, man, a sinner, but who is a believer, on account of Christ, and the obedience and righteousness of Christ, and considers him righteous, to the salvation of the justified person, and to the glory of divine righteousness and grace.

Notice what Arminius states: that justification is the just and gracious act of God given to us through Christ and is accomplished only by Christ.  Perfect righteousness is not obtained by works or obedience to laws.  Perfect righteousness comes through the work of Christ alone.

Arminius goes on to write:

The form is the gracious reckoning of God, by which he imputes to us the righteousness of Christ, and imputes faith to us for righteousness; that is, he remits our sins to us who are believers, on account of Christ apprehended by faith, and accounts us righteous in him. This estimation or reckoning, has, joined with it, adoption into sons, and the conferring of a right to the inheritance of life eternal.

Again notice that all of this is accomplished by Christ.  Christ is our focus.  Christ is our salvation.  Christ is our righteousness.  Even in the end of our lives, Christ is our everything.  Arminius wrote about this as well writing:

But we have yet to consider justification, both about the beginning of conversion, when all preceding sins are for, given, and through the whole life, because God has promised remission of sins to believers, those who have entered into covenant with him, as often as they repent and flee by true faith to Christ their propitiator and expiator. But the end and completion of justification will be at the close of life, when God will grant to those who end their days in the faith of Christ, to find his mercy, absolving them from all the sins which had been perpetrated through the whole of their lives. The declaration and manifestation of justification will be in the future general judgment.

Make sure today that Christ is your salvation.  Never trust in your works or your goodness or your self-rigtheousness to earn God’s salvation.  Salvation comes only through faith in Christ.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/28/2012 at 10:00 AM

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