Title: Doctrine of the Angelic Conflict, part 27 - The essence of God - Righteousness. ROM 3:21.
F. Righteousness: God is infinitely perfect in both His person and character and absolute good. He cannot sin nor have anything to do with sin except to judge it.
ROM 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "You shall not covet."
ROM 7:8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead.
ROM 7:9 And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died;
ROM 7:10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;
ROM 7:11 for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.
ROM 7:12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
ROM 7:13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
As God is holy and so sin can only be condemned, when the holy Mosaic Law is broken, it must condemn, and since it had been broken in every case except for Christ, it was not a source of righteousness to the OT person, but a source of condemnation. This means that every attempt by man to be righteous from his own power, intellect, and sensibility will only be a source of condemnation to him and never set him free, but rather put him in more bondage.
Yet within the Law there were the Levitical offerings that pointed to the future Messiah’s substitutionary spiritual death, the true source of all righteousness in the creature.
The righteousness of God is available to anyone who believes in Christ, ROM 3:22.
ROM 3:21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
“But now” - the change from the dispensation of the Law to the dispensation of Grace. Righteousness is manifest in the flesh of TLJC.
Coming to the section beginning with “But now,” we find the righteousness of God manifested in Christ. What could not be produced by man is here seen as provided for man. What could not come by law is presented as coming by grace. What could not arise from Moses can flow freely from Christ.
The righteousness of God is specifically His because of the nature of His being. He is the One who is righteousness in Himself. But also because it is His righteousness, He must demand it of us. The righteousness which He is must be the righteousness with which He surrounds Himself. Therefore He must demand of us a righteousness equal to Hisown.
However, since none of us can produce this righteousness, it is proper to call it the righteousness of God because it is also the righteousness which He provides freely for us, both positionally and experientially.
Apart from the Law means separate from it and therefore sanctified or holy away from the Law since the Law could only condemn man and in fact lead to further sin in man.
“manifested” - fanero,w[phaneroo] = uncover, lay bare, or reveal.
God is righteousness, God demands righteousness, and God provides righteousness. If those three statements are understood, then the whole gospel will be understood.
If those three statements are not understood, then the gospel can never be understood. Wherever there is heresy, men have departed from the idea that God is righteousness, and that therefore He must demand that righteousness of all His creatures; and, that since none can have it apart from Him, because His nature is also love, He provides His righteousness in His way.
We could group all heresies under these three headings, listing them for their departure from one of those three truths.
A departure from the first—that God is all righteousness—includes those men who believe that because God is love His righteousness will take a second place and that, therefore, there can be no eternal punishment, no final dealing with sin.
A departure from the second—that God must demand righteousness of all His creation—includes all those men who believe that surely God will let men get by His judgment on some lower scale, such as human good works. All the heresies that proclaim men can reach Heaven without the sacrifice of Christ must be grouped here. The heresies of salvation by character, the heresies of salvation through rites and ceremonies, through church membership, ordinances or sacraments—all these are departures from the idea that God must demand a righteousness equal to His own.
A departure from the third— that God provides righteousness to every man through Jesus Christ—includes those men who believe that Jesus is merely a man, and therefore incapable of providing a substitutionary atonement for all sinners. Others have also departed from this truth in another direction by believing that, although Christ is God, salvation and righteousness are provided partly by the Savior and partly by the cooperation of the individual.
Now that Christ has died, that object lesson, meant to teach each person in each generation of the vicarious, substitutionary atonement provided by the Saviour, is manifested as revealing the righteousness of God apart from law. Christ has died; therefore there is righteousness without works; righteousness without law; righteousness without character; righteousness without effort; righteousness imputed and imparted solely on the basis of the essential grace of God, and what He is in Christ. Our earthly righteousness and character will grow out of this.
ROM 3:21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
There are counterfeits, but the counterfeits are always easy to detect when you know the real thing. The inspectors of the Treasury Department will tell you that every counterfeit piece of currency that has ever been made has some distinguishing mark that reveals its false origin. It may also be said that every religion has the mark of the counterfeit, for every religion in the world is a counterfeit of true, revealed Christianity. And the mark in all counterfeit religions is the same.
Every religion, except that which was brought down by God himself in His planning for Jesus Christ and in the coming of Jesus Christ, is marked by something that man is supposed to do for God.
But the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, and has shown us that God has done everything for man. That isthe great difference between the faith that has been revealed from Heaven and the faiths that originate with men.
Look into your own heart and see whether you are trusting, even in a small fraction, in something that you are doing for yourself or that you are doing for God, instead of finding in your heart that you have ceased from your works as God did from His and that you are resting on the work that was accomplished on the cross of Calvary.
This is the secret of reality: Righteousness apart from law. Righteousness apart from human doing. Christianity is the faith that believes God’s Word about the work that is fully done, completely done. It is finished.
Thomas Chalmers, who wrote, “The foundation of your trust before God, must be either your own righteousness out and out, or the righteousness of Christ, out and out... If you are to lean upon your own merit, lean upon it wholly—if you are to lean upon Christ, lean upon Him wholly. The two will not amalgamate together; and it is the attempt to make them do so, which keeps many a weary and heavy-laden inquirer at a distance from rest, and at a distance from the truth of the gospel. Maintain a clear and consistent posture. Stand not before God with one foot upon a rock and the other upon a treacherous quicksand. . . We call upon you to lean not so much as the weight of one grain or scruple of your confidence upon your own doings— to leave this ground entirely, and to come over entirely to the ground of a Redeemer’s blood and a Redeemer’s righteousness.” Thomas Chalmers
How can righteousness by manifest apart from the Law and at the same time be witnessed by the Law?
We’ve got to understand some things about the Law.
The Law never promised to make anyone holy, yet it is holy. The Law is a standard. It cannot justify the sinner.
It’s like an engineer who draws the blue prints for the construction of a railroad. On paper it shows where the rail is to go, but it isn’t a pencil and paper that builds it. So the letter of the law tells me what holiness is and when I read it, I might as well try to build a 500 mile railroad with a pencil.
The witness by the Law of righteousness - the sacrificial lamb and the flow of blood on the altar covering man’s inability to be righteous due to sin.
Yet it was not these animals that would provide +R, but it would be from the One of whom they were a type.
PSA 40:6 [quoted in Heb 10] Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; My ears Thou hast opened; Burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required.
PSA 40:7 Then I said, "Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me;
PSA 40:8 I delight to do Thy will, O my God;
Thy Law is within my heart."
Christ kept the Law perfectly but this did not save us.
The lamb had to be without spot or blemish and Christ’s fulfilment of the Law proved that He was perfect and therefore a qualified sacrifice.
ROM 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
ROM 8:4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
The believer is always positionally righteous in spite of his condition, and experientially perfectly righteous when filled with the Spirit, residing in the perfect plan of God.
Through Him the veil is torn and we approach the before unapproachable perfect +R of God, not on the foundation of our own -R but fully and wholly upon His righteousness imputed to us at the moment of salvation.
Every moment of righteousness experienced by the believer in time is based on this positional righteousness, for without it; the word, the Spirit, and the plan are useless to him.
According to Jewish jurisprudence there needs to be at least two witnesses - the Law and the prophets.
And as is often the case in this conflict there is a proving ground for the perfect essence and personality of God through witnesses.
The first time righteousness is mentioned in the Bible is applied to Abraham’s faith, 400 years before the Law.
Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
David did not have the office of prophet but he did have the gift of prophecy and he was a witness of the righteousness of God in many Psalms.
In analyzing this Psalm, we see, first that David prays for grace on the basis of God’s loving-kindness and tender mercies. He then asks to be washed from his iniquity and cleansed from his sin. For David completely acknowledges the fact of sin. He admits that he belongs to the race of Adam and that he was born of sin. He knows that there is nothing in himself that could ever commend him to the love of God. He confesses that the chief part of his sin isthat it issin against God. Even though he had sinned against the woman in violating her honor; even though he had sinned against the man in taking his wife and then taking his life; even though he had sinned against the nation in bringing judgment upon it because of his sin; even though he had caused the death of many soldiers in battle—he sees that none of this iseven to be brought into comparison with the fact that the really serious aspect of sin is that it is sinagainst God.
For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
PSA 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.
PSA 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
PSA 51:3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.
PSA 51:4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned [sin offends the only +R One], And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge.
PSA 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
PSA 51:6 Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.
PSA 51:7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
hyssop = material for the brush used to put lamb’s blood on the doorposts on the night of the first Passover. Used in ritual cleansing of leprosy.
PSA 51:16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
PSA 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise [humbled].
/hyssop picture DEU 32:4
"The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.\
The root is not longer than a half inch and yet the plant can grow over 20 inches in length. This is a picture of a tiny bit of faith placed in the right object, the Rock, His work is perfect …