A Foreign Righteousness


One of the most common objections to Christianity is that Christians are hypocrites and I would agree.  I am.  I believe the bible’s mandate to be holy as God is Holy.  Jesus taught that if we hold anger in our heart it is the same as murder.  Paul writes in Ephesians to “Love your wife as Christ loved the church”.  These are incredibly high standards that I believe everyone should live by, but I fall ridiculously short of these standards.  I am not the only hypocrite in the bunch.  We all set high ethical standards, don’t we?  At least on other people.  Francis Schaffer, the Christian apologist, used to say that if God hung a tape recorder(Cir. 1970’s) around peoples necks and judged them according to their own standards alone, He would still have enough evidence to condemn them.  

There is something unique about Christianity that no other religion holds.  That our righteousness is not our own.  We have a foreign righteousness. 

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: (Rom 3:21-22)

The Apostle Paul said: “and be found in him(Christ), not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–
(Php 3:9)

This righteousness is not by works, not by keeping the laws or being a generally good person.  It comes by faith in what God has done in Christ.  Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to the law, He died on the cross for our sins and was raised the third day to the glory of God.  Christ takes our sin and we get His righteousness.  This is the great exchange as Martin Luther called it. 


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