1. IN what striking words does Paul summarize the two essential features of the plan of salvation?
“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14.
2. To what high standard of righteousness are the redeemed to rise?
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Phil 1:11. (See also Col 1:28.)
3. In what other striking way has God declared His high aim for the redeemed?
“Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” Lev 11:44. (See also 1 Peter 1:16.)
“Our main doctrines which include all the rest, are repentance, faith, and holiness. The first of these we account, as it were, the porch of religion; the next, the door; the third, religion itself.” —John Wesley, quoted in “Makers of Freedom,” by S. Eddy and Page, pages 137, 138.
4. Who only may hope to inherit eternal blessedness?
“Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” Matt 7:21.
5. Why is righteousness so necessary to association with God?
“Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.” Ps 97:2.
6. Can the justified believer hope to attain unto this righteousness of life in his own strength?
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Gal 3:3.
7. To whom, then, must he look for its attainment?
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Phil 2:12-13.
It has been well said, “Man needs a power outside of and above himself to restore him to the likeness of God. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before man can be changed from sin to holiness.”
8. How is this divine righteousness appropriated?
“And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Phil 3:9.
9. By what process does God implant His own righteousness in the believer?
a. By writing the law in the heart. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” Jer 31:33. (See also Heb 8:10.)
b. By implanting divine power for its observance. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:4. (See also Gal 2:20; 1 Cor 6:19.)
“The precious theme of ‘Christ in us’ should be preached as well as ‘the glory of Christ for us.’ “—Bishop Moule.
10. How will the law written in the heart of the believer express itself through the indwelling power of Christ?
“What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Rom 8:3, 4.
“It never can be that this efficacy and life of faith can be in anyone, without its causing him to continue in good works, and to bring forth fruit unto God.” “Faith works so effectually, is such a living spring and powerful energy in the heart, that it cannot remain inactive, but must break forth into works.”—Luther.
11. Of what is this righteousness in the Christian’s life an evidence?
“Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:3.
“Tell us not merely what a man says in religion: tell us rather what he does.”—Bishop J. C. Ryle.
12. Of what will transgression be an evidence?
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” 2 John 9.
‘The demand for righteous living as the only test of religious emotion is fully Christian.”—Dr. Ian Maclaren.
13. What two apparently contradictory statements are thus shown to be entirely in harmony?
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Rom 3:28. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” James 2:24.
We are justified by faith only, for there is nothing that we can do to commend ourselves to God. But becoming thereby partakers of the “divine nature” the “righteousness of the law” is “fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” and the works of the Spirit bear witness to the regeneration which has taken place. If such “works” are not manifest, doubt is cast upon the reality of the claim to inward change. “We are not justified by keeping the law; we keep the law because we are justified.”—H. M. Hughes in “Christian Foundations,” page 169.
14. How does James say Abraham’s faith was made manifest?
“Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” James 2:22.
15. What reply does he make to those who claim to have faith and yet do not reveal it visibly in their lives?
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” James 2:14. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Verse 26.
16. For what did Paul look as a result of his preaching?
“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” Rom 16:26.
This expression is in other versions rendered, “For obedience to the faith,” and “unto obedience of faith.” “Obedience of faith is the obedience which characterizes and proceeds from faith.”— Vincent.
17. Were such results forthcoming?
“And the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7.
18. What two marks are particularly mentioned as characteristic of the remnant people of God in the last days?
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Rev 14:12.
19. To whom only will access be given to the tree of life in the heavenly Jerusalem?
“Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Rev 22:14.
Source: C P Haynes – GT Nov-Dec 1968
Righteousness by Faith
Christ Our only Hope
“Before the foundations of the world were laid, Christ, the Only Begotten of God, pledged Himself to become the Redeemer of the human race, should Adam sin. Adam fell, and He who was partaker of the Father’s glory before the world was, laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and stepped down from His high authority to become a Babe in Bethlehem, that by passing over the ground where Adam stumbled and fell, He might redeem fallen human beings. He subjected Himself to all the temptations that the enemy brings against men and women; and all the assaults of Satan could not make Him swerve from His loyalty to the Father. By living a sinless life He testified that every son and daughter of Adam can resist the temptations’ of the one who first brought sin into the world.
“Christ brought men and women power to overcome. He came to this world in human form, to live a man amongst men. He assumed the liabilities of human nature, to be proved and tried. In His humanity He was a partaker of the divine nature. In His incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of the Son of God. Said the angel to Mary, ‘The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God’ (Luke 1:35). While the Son of a human being, He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world—the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race.”-1SM 226,227.
The principles and methods of Satan at Calvary were manifested, revealing to angels and to men the righteousness of God in Christ’s humility, long-suffering, patience, even unto death; in contrast to the arrogance, pride, and diabolical ,maliciousness of Satan.
Satan Defeated by. Christ’s Death
“In this choice the principles of Satan were made manifest; and the hosts of heaven, and all the worlds that God ‘had created, judged that Satan was an accuser of the brethren, a liar, and a murderer. In heaven and among the unfallen worlds the question of Satan’s deceiving power, of his -malignant principles, was settled, and the perfect purity and holiness of Christ, who was bearing the test and trial in behalf of fallen man, was forever proved. Through the development of Satan’s character and principles, he was forever uprooted from the affection of the unfallen worlds, and the controversy concerning his claims and the claims of Christ was forever settled in heaven. The righteousness manifested in the character of Christ was forever to be the anchor, the saving hope, of the .world. Every soul who chooses Christ can say with faith, The Lord my righteousness.’
“The grace of Christ and the law of God are inseparable. In Jesus mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. In His life and character He not only reveals .the character of God, but the possibility of man. He was the representative of God and the exemplar of humanity. He presented to the world what humanity alight become when united by faith with divinity. The only-begotten Son of God took upon Him the nature of man, and established His cross between earth and heaven. Through the cross, man was drawn to God, and God to man. Justice moved from its high and awful position, and the heavenly hosts, the armies of holiness, drew near to the cross, bowing with reverence; for at the cross justice was satisfied. Through the cross the sinner was drawn from the stronghold of sin, from the confederacy of evil, and at every approach to the cross his heart relents and in penitence he cries, ‘It was my sins that crucified the Son of God.’ At the cross he leaves his sins, and through the grace of Christ his character is transformed. The Redeemer raises the sinner from the dust, and places him under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As the sinner looks upon the Redeemer, he finds hope, assurance and joy. Faith takes hold of Christ in love. Faith works by love, and purifies the soul.” 1SM 348,349.
Christ Our Divine Sin-Bearer
“It is impossible for man to save himself. He may deceive himself in regard to this matter, but he cannot save himself. Christ’s righteousness alone can avail for his salvation, and this is the gift of God. This is the wedding garment in which you may appear as a welcome guest at the marriage supper of the Lamb Let faith take hold of Christ without delay, and you will be a new creature in Jesus, a light to the world.
“Christ is called ‘the Lord our righteousness,’ and through faith each one should say, ‘The Lord my righteousness.’ When faith lays hold upon this gift of God, the praise of God will be upon our lips, and we shall be able to say to others, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29)…”—ISM 331.
A most important question is herein asked!
“Have you a sense of want in your soul? Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Then this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, and created this sense of need, in order that He may be sought after to do those things for you through the endowment of His Holy Spirit which it is impossible for you to do for yourself. The Lord specifies no conditions except that you hunger for His mercy, desiring His counsel, and long for His love. ‘Ask!’ The asking makes it manifest that you realize your necessity, and if yaw. ask in faith, you will receive. The Lord has pledged His word, and it cannot fail. That you feel and know that you are a sinner is sufficient argument in asking for His mercy and compassion. The condition upon which you may come to God is not that you shall be holy, but that you shall ask God to cleanse you from all sin and purify you from all iniquity. Then why wait longer? Why not take God at His word, and say:
‘Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee,
‘Tis all that I can do’?
“If Satan comes to cast his shadow between you and God, accusing you of sin, tempting you to distrust God and doubt His mercy, say: I cannot allow my weakness to come between me and God; for He is my strength. My sins, which are many, are laid upon Jesus, my divine Substitute and Sacrifice.
‘Nothing in my hand I bring.
Simply to thy cross I cling.’
“No man can look within himself and find anything in his character that will recommend him to God, or make his acceptance sure. It is only through Jesus, whom the Father gave for the life of the world, that the sinner may find access to God. Jesus alone is our Redeemer, our Advocate and Mediator; in Him is our only hope for pardon, peace, and righteousness. It is by virtue of the blood of Christ that the sin-stricken soul can be restored to soundness. Christ is the fragrance, the holy incense which makes your petition acceptable to the Father. Then can you not say:
‘Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.’
Coming to Christ
“Coming to Christ does not require severe mental effort and agony; it is simply accepting the terms of salvation that God has made plain in His Word…” —1SM 332,333.
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Isaiah 55:1-2.
Righteousness Found in Christ.
“… All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin; but that which is wrought through faith is acceptable to God. When we seek to gain heaven through the merits of Christ, the soul makes progress. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we may go on from strength to strength, from victory to victory; for through Christ the grace of God has worked out our complete salvation.”-1SM 364.
Justified by Faith
“When God pardons the sinner, remits the punishment he deserves, and treats him as though he had not sinned, He receives him into divine favor and justifies him through the merits of Christ’s righteousness. The sinner can be justified only through faith in the atonement made through God’s dear Son, who became a sacrifice for the sins of the guilty world. No one can be justified by any works of his own. He can be delivered from the guilt of sin, from the condemnation of the law, from the penalty of transgression, only by virtue of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. Faith is the only condition upon which justification can be obtained, and faith includes not only belief but trust.”—1SM 389.
Righteousness Revealed in the Gospel.
While the subject of righteousness by faith is the all important theme of the Bible, we look to the book of Romans for a practical discussion of this most important subject. The entire Book which points out the many difficulties and dangers has admonitions for holy living, giving glory to God through Jesus for ever.
Abraham Justified by Faith as Abram
Genesis 12-22 records the experience of Abraham when God called him out from his country, kindred, and father’s house, never more to return. His subsequent wanderings took him to many places and through various experiences, through all of which he was justified by his faith, when he entrusted his future to God. (Heb 11:10-12; Gen 15:5).
The many mistakes in his eventful life proved his real condition at that time. His premeditated falsehood (1), engaging in warfare and bloodshed with the nations (2), practicing polygamy for lack of faith and trust (3), the sinful unbelief of both himself and Sarah that she would indeed bear a son in her old age (4), and again stooping to premeditate falsehood with the king of the Philistines (5), all of which proved that he was still the man as described in Romans 7.
Abraham Sanctified Through His Obedience–His Name Changed.
Abram left Ur of the Chaldees immediately he was commanded, fulfilling but one of the Lord’s commands at the lime. The two remaining commands, to leave kindred and father’s house, were consummated many, many years afterwards in his final separation from Lot (6). After this, the renewed promise of a son was given, even though he had been a partaker in warfare and bloodshed (7). The further assurance that God was with him, encouraged him to strive for perfection of character, God’s divine standard for all, through the righteousness of Christ (8). The changed names of both, Sarai to Sarah and Abram to Abraham, are significant of his change of location from Ur to Canaan, and symbolic of the heavenly Canaan.
Then followed his mediation for the people in Sodom, if only ten righteous could be found (9). The putting away of Hagar, the “bondwoman” and Ishmael, child of the flesh, from his household was a further indication of his growth in the graces of sanctification, after Isaac the child of faith was born of his real wife, Sarah (10).
Then came the supreme act of faith of Abraham. He offered his “only (spiritual) son Isaac, whom thou lovest” on “Mount Moriah” for a sacrifice, believing that God would raise him from the dead. Thus he became a friend of God. He was justified by his faith in the beginning, then sanctified in life’s experiences through his faith, and will be raised, glorified, and immortal at Christ’s second coming (11).
Righteousness Attained in the Same Way Today.
“… Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3-5.) “. . Righteousness is obedience to the law. . .”-1SM 367.
God’s Holy Spirit brings a change, because, “… ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ By nature the heart is evil, and ‘who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one’..‘Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.’ Rom 8:7; Matt 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working .of the Holy Spirit.”—DA 172.
The Church’s Need in 1888.
The great need of God’s people in the 1888 message was the righteousness of Christ by faith to cleanse them from all sin and defilement. As God’s holy law has always been a test to God’s people in all ages, so it was at that time, and still is today. The church at that time was in dire need of the graces of gold, of white raiment, and of eyesalve, because of her wretched condition. Revelation 3:17-22.
From the many messages that came to the church at that time, we quote:
“The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed. The righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven; the second is our fitness for heaven.”—COR 118.
“Righteousness within is testified to by righteousness without. . .
“When we accept Christ, good works will appear as fruitful evidence that we are in the way of life, that Christ is our way, and that we are treading the true path that leads to heaven.
“When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin; for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the sufferings of the Son of God.”—COR 121.
“Only those who are clothed in the garments of His righteousness will be able to endure the glory of His presence when He shall appear with ‘power and great glory’.
“On Christ’s coronation day, He will not acknowledge as His, any who wear spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But to His faithful ones He will give crowns of immortal glory. Those who would not that He should reign over them will see Him surrounded by the army of the redeemed, each of whom bears the sign, ‘THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’. “—COR 123.
The Church’s Need Today.
Through the many inspired statements referred to in this article, the reader should understand that the great problem of mankind is inherent sin in his nature, and the need of its eradication and ultimate disposal. The simple fact is that, “. . The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.” (‘Emphasis supplied).—DA 172.
This is righteousness by faith, and must be accomplished for the believer in this world, while Christ our Mediator is making atonement for us in the heavenly sanctuary, and blotting out the sins of those who are faithful and understand that they must “cease to sin” (1 John 5:18). Their experience is recorded thus:
“The blotting out of sin is the erasing of it from the nature, the being of man. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Our bodies are but the channel, the border, the sand upon the shore, of the river of life. Impressions have been made upon us by sin. At the sea-shore, when you see a smooth piece of sand, your first impulse is to make some mark on it, to write some characters upon it. Then the sea comes up, and each wave that passes over it helps to obliterate the impressions until it is entirely blotted out. Even so the stream of life from the throne of God will wash away and blot out the impressions of sin upon us.
“The erasing of sin is the blotting of it from our natures, so that we shall know it no more. ‘The worshippers once purged’—actually purged by the blood of Christ—have ‘no more conscience of sin,’ because the way of sin is gone from them. Their iniquity may be sought for, but it will not be found. It is forever gone from them,—it is foreign to their new natures,-and even though they may be able to recall the fact that they have committed certain sins, they have forgotten the sin itself—they do not think of doing it any more. This is the work of Christ in the true sanctuary, which the Lord pitched, and not man,—the sanctuary not made with hands, but brought into existence by the thought of God.” E. J. Waggoner.—R&H September 30, 1902.
This makes it clear that all the overcomers of the ages, overcame the world and gained the victory through faith in Christ, and thus it will be for God’s remnant people today. “… Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness …” – Rom 9:27-28.