God is love; He loves man, He wants to gain man, and He wants to save man, but at the same time God is righteous, and according to His righteousness He cannot receive us or save us unless the requirements of His righteousness are met.
The foundation of our salvation is not God’s love of His mercy with His grace; the foundation of our salvation is God’s righteousness. According to His righteousness, the sinful people have to pay for their sins, and the wages of sin is death; therefore, Christ came as the incarnated God and died as our Substitute, and His death was legal according to God’s law, and was recognized and approved by God according to His law.
Christ offered the supreme sacrifice: the Righteous One died on behalf of the unrighteous, and the One who did not know sin was made sin on our behalf, so that we may now, through faith in Christ, be partakers of God’s salvation and of His life.
Christ was judged on our behalf – the righteous God judged the righteous One, Christ, according to His righteousness, so that Christ might remove the barrier of our sins and bring us to God, making us God’s righteousness in Him. Hallelujah!
The requirements of God’s righteousness are now met through Christ’s death on the cross, and whoever believes into Him can now come boldly to God and receive God’s salvation. For the sake of his righteousness, God now has to forgive us: whether He thinks we’re more sinful than others or worse than others, God has to forgive us when we come to Him based on the blood of Jesus Christ.
We may not comprehend all the processes, implications, and details of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross, but what we know is that the righteous God is satisfied with Christ’s death on the cross: He put all the sins of the world, of you and me, on Jesus Christ, and in His eyes Jesus was the unique sinner; He bore our sins on the cross, and He made redemption for us.
Now we can have His redemption applied to us to satisfy God according to His righteous requirements, and we can come forward with boldness to God to enjoy Him and partake of His riches based on the precious blood of Christ.
Righteousness is the Power of God’s Salvation and the Foundation of our Salvation
God’s righteousness toward is has requirements: we need to have a certain kind of living and being to match God’s righteousness, otherwise God cannot receive us; toward God, however, God’s righteousness is binding to cause Him to do certain things according to His righteousness.
Because of His righteousness, God now HAS to forgive our sins. On the one hand, the righteousness of God has a demand on us, and on the other, it is binding God to forgive us (based on Christ’s redemption). The gospel is the power of God because the righteousness of God is revealed in it (Rom. 1:16-17); the gospel is full of power.
God is great, His love is amazing, and His grace is vast, but we need to see that His righteousness is powerful. God’s salvation is involved not only with God’s love and grace but also with His righteousness. God’s love and grace show us His heart toward us, but God can’t forgive us or allow us to enjoy Him unless His righteousness is satisfied.
When we receive the Lord Jesus and take Him as our unique Substitute before God, God accepts His vicarious death and He must forgive us. When Christ died on the cross He didn’t die as a martyr, nor was He merely murdered (Acts 7:52) – He died according to God’s law, being put to death by God as a Substitute for sinners, bearing our sins on His body (Isa. 53:6).
Now our experience of God’s salvation rests upon the foundation of God’s righteousness: we have no confidence in ourselves, we don’t trust in our good deeds to please God or appease Him, neither do we rely on our fervency or victory – we trust in God’s righteousness, the unshakable foundation of God’s throne (Psa. 89:14).
We don’t hope that, if we do better and promise the Lord we won’t do this bad thing or fall into that sin, He will be happy with us; rather, we trust in God’s righteousness and come to Him through Jesus Christ, our Substitute, and we stand on the solid, firm, and sure foundation of God’s righteousness to approach God and enjoy God’s salvation.
Righteousness is the foundation of God’s throne and the foundation of our salvation; whether God is “in the mood” to forgive us or not, whether we have done something really bad or not so bad, as long as we confess our sins and apply the Lord’s blood, God is bound by His righteousness to forgive us.
When we confess our sins and apply the Lord’s blood, we can be assured that God has forgiven us, cleansed us, and given us access to His organic salvation based on His righteousness. The righteousness of God is the power of God’s salvation and the unshakeable foundation of our salvation, giving us the solid and firm base for us to come to God, enjoy God, and partake of His salvation.
If we are not clear concerning the foundation of our salvation, the enemy will often come to us to accuse us in our conscience: “You’re not right in this aspect, you’re short in that matter, you’re so sinful, etc” and we may try to do many good works to please God – none of these work, since our only foundation for our salvation is God’s righteousness. Praise the Lord!
Praise You Lord for giving us an unshakable foundation for our salvation: God’s righteousness. Lord, we admit that we are sinful, corrupt, and wrong, and we come to God based not on our merits or good works but on the precious blood of Christ which satisfies God’s righteousness. Lord, we confess our sins and we ask You to forgive us, cleanse us, and cause us to enter into the full enjoyment of Your salvation. Praise the Lord, Jesus has paid the price, God’s righteousness is satisfied, and we can come forward to God to enjoy Him!
Our Experience of Christ rests on the Unshakable Foundation of God’s Righteousness
How can we, sinful people, enjoy and experience God? Yes, God loves us, and yes, He’s full of grace toward us, but how can we as sinful men partake of what God is? If our salvation would be based on God’s love, love can fluctuate – sometimes He may love us, and at other times when we’re doing evil things He may not love us. The power of the gospel is the righteousness of God.
The righteousness of God is the power of the gospel….We are not lovable or worthy of God’s grace. We simply do not deserve anything from God. But God is righteous. He put Christ to death on our behalf, and He has recognized the death of Christ as the full payment of our debt. Furthermore, the resurrected Christ sitting at God’s right hand is the receipt of payment. Since God has already issued this receipt, how could He righteously claim payment again from us? If He would do so, we could point Him to Christ and remind Him that He must take care of His righteous position, even the foundation of His throne. (Witness Lee, Life-Study of Romans, msg. 57)
God has put Christ to death on our behalf, and He has recognized the death of Christ as the full payment for our debt of sins; now the resurrected Christ is the receipt of this payment (Rom. 4:24-25). Wow!
When we buy something at the store, we get a receipt for that thing, and the receipt proves that we paid the price for that item to be rightfully ours. God has approved Christ’s redeeming work on the cross and He showed His approval by raising Christ from the dead; God caused Christ to rise from the dead to prove that He has approved and accepted His substitutionary death on the cross on our behalf.
Now we who believe into the Lord can come to God boldly based on the blood of Christ and tell Him, God, You must forgive me and wash my sins away because Christ died for me and shed His precious, efficacious blood! Whenever we claim the blood of Jesus and appeal to God’s righteousness, God has no choice except to forgive us (1 John 1:9).
If we see this, we will be jumping for joy: we are forgiven, washed, cleansed, and given entrance into the kingdom of God to enjoy all His riches! Our experience of Christ today rests on the foundation of God’s righteousness which is the solid, steadfast, and unshakable foundation of His throne (Psa. 89:14) and the base on which His kingdom is built (Rom. 14:17).
How can we enjoy God and experience Him? We need to have the right foundation: the righteousness of God! We need to learn to claim the blood of Jesus: His blood is always effective, because He offered Himself to God through the eternal Spirit.
We should not look at our own deeds, our sins, or our behavior: we should look at the Lord’s blood, and realize that He has shed His blood once for all to fulfill all the requirements of God’s righteousness!
We can now boldly come to God and claim His forgiveness based not only on His love but on His righteousness, because Christ paid the price and now He as the resurrected and ascended One is the receipt for our payment!
This is what the gospel reveals, and because of God’s righteousness revealed in it, the gospel of Christ is the power of God! It is good to practice coming to the Lord and telling Him,
God, I remind You of Your righteousness: Christ has died for my sins, and now He is at Your right hand as proof that You have received His payment of all my debts. According to Your righteousness, God, You have no choice except to save me, wash me, cleanse me, and give me full access to enjoy all the riches of Your organic salvation. Christ has died, His death has been accepted, He has been resurrected to be the receipt and proof of Your acceptance, and now You are legally bound to forgive me. Lord, I stand on Your righteousness, I confess my sins, and I apply the precious blood of Christ to be forgiven, cleansed, and given access to God’s full salvation in life!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, brother James Lee’s sharing in the message for this week, and Life-study of Romans, msg. 57 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Gospel (2016 International Chinese-speaking Conference), week 3 / msg. 3, The Structure of the Gospel of God—the Righteousness of God, the Life of Christ, and the Faith of the Believers.
- All Bible verses are taken from, Holy Bible Recovery Version.
- Hymns on this topic:
# For me forgiveness He has gained, / And full acquittal was obtained, / All debts of sin are paid; / God would not have His claim on two, / First on His Son, my Surety true, / And then upon me laid. (Hymns #1003, stanza 3)
# So now I have full peace and rest, / My Savior Christ hath done the best / And set me wholly free; / By His all-efficacious blood / I ne’er could be condemned by God, / For He has died for me! (Hymns #1003, stanza 4)
# By righteousness was I condemned, / When I was lost in pain and sin; / When Christ redeemed me by His blood, / Thy righteousness gave peace within. (Hymns #17)
# O Jesus Lord, we come to Thee, / Thy presence to enjoy; / Our entrance now with boldness is, / As we Thy blood employ. / Not by our merit do we stand, / Nor in our righteousness, / Thy blood and righteousness we need; / Their worth we now confess. (Hymns #1126)
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