Christ our Righteousness 

by Steve Wohlberg

Bible Study (Part 1)

Approximately 600 years before our Savior was born in Bethlehem, Jeremiah predicted,

"Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD,
"That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
 A King shall reign and prosper,
 And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
 In His days Judah will be saved,
 And Israel will dwell safely;
 Now this is His name by which He will be called:

This is a prophecy about Jesus Christ. Not only is He called "A King" and "a Branch of righteousness," but Jeremiah specifically predicted that "He will be called" by a special name—"THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Two things impress me here: 1) That special name, and 2) That "He will be called" by it. Who do you think will call Him by that name? It seems to me that the answer is: His people will call Him that. Now I ask you, "What percentage of present-day Christians do you think have ever called our Savior by that name?" Probably less than 1%. Have you ever specifically called Him by that name? Hopefully, after reading through these Bible studies, you will. Then you will be fulfilling Bible prophecy!

Years later (after Jeremiah's prediction), Jesus Himself taught the multitudes in His famous "Sermon on the Mount." Speaking of such basic essentials as food and clothing, Christ declared, "after all these things the Gentiles seek." Then, addressing His listeners, He urged, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). As important as food and raiment are, two other things are much more essential. The first is, "the kingdom of God," and the second is, "His righteousness." It is "His Righteousness" that this study is about. Now notice carefully: Jesus said we should not only "seek" after "His righteousness," but that we should do so "first" above everything else!

According to the New Testament, "righteousness" is centered in our Savior. Writing later of "Christ Jesus," Paul stressed that He [Jesus] "became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the LORD' (1 Cor. 1:30). Thus Jesus "became for us…righteousness." In other words, He is now "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Jeremiah predicted it.
Jesus said we should "seek" it "first."
Paul said that Jesus Himself has become righteousness for us.

What does this mean? What exactly is "righteousness" anyway? We will find out in Part 2 of this special series.

Bible Study (Part 2)

As we saw in Part 1, the prophet Jeremiah predicted that one of the special names of Jesus Christ would be, "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:6). The New Testament also proclaims "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" (Rom. 3:22).

An examination of any good concordance will demonstrate that the word "righteousness" appears many times in both the Old and New Testaments. In this Bible study series we will seek to establish the following:

1.     What "righteousness" is exactly
2.     How much of it we have naturally
3.     It's role in the plan of salvation
4.     How it is centered in Jesus Christ
5.     How it can be ours "through faith"
6.     How this will affect our lives

E. J. Waggoner, author of the book, Christ and His Righteousness (1890), wrote another little tract entitled, Living by Faith (both are available from White Horse Media). On p. 10 Waggoner wrote, "One of the greatest causes of the failure of many people to understand the book of Romans, and indeed, any other portion of Scripture, is a failure to hold to first principles and Bible definitions. Men attempt to define some terms according to their theological training, and find it hard work to make them fit. Then if they at one time accept the Bible definition of a term, they do not adhere to it, but give some other meaning the next time they meet with it. This can lead to nothing but confusion."

How right he is. One key to understanding, wrote Waggoner, is to "accept the Bible definition of a term." So, what is "the Bible definition" of "righteousness"? Instead of offering my own opinion, Ill let the Bible itself give the answer. Look closely at these verses and notice how the Bible connects "righteousness" with God's "commandments" and "law."

David wrote: "All your commandments are righteousness" (Ps. 119:172).

God said through Isaiah: "Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law" (Isa. 51:7).

In the book of Romans, Paul referred to "the righteousness of the law" (Rom. 8:4).

In the same book he stated plainly that one cause of Israel's failure was that "Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone." (Romans 9:31, 32).

Thus David, Isaiah, and Paul all agree that God's "commandments" are "righteousness" (Ps. 119:172), that when His law is in human hearts, those people "know righteousness" (Isa. 51:7), and that God's law is "the law of righteousness" (Romans 11:31). Therefore if we stick to "the Bible definitions" we can be assured that God's law not only demonstrates "righteousness," but also is in itself a definition of "righteousness."

To summarize so far:

1.     Righteousness is defined by God's Law.
2.     Israel pursued "the law of righteousness," but missed it.
3.     The reason was "Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone." (Romans 9:32).

All of this is absolutely vital in order to understand the wondrous message about how Jesus Christ Himself is "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

As we will see, He is "that stumbling stone." Remember, righteousness is centered in Him.

To be continued….

Bible Study (Part 3)

It's time to focus Romans 3. As we do, it will become very clear that the biblical message about Christ our Righteousness is inseparably connected with a proper understanding of the Law of God, and to our relationship to it. In fact, the twin topics of Christ our Righteousness and the Ten Commandments are actually two sides of the same coin.

Don't let anyone fool you about this.

Here's the proof. In Romans 3:21-26 Paul refers four times to the message of "righteousness" that comes to us through faith in Jesus Christ (see Romans 3:21, 22, 25, 26), yet the immediate context of his message is the previous two verses about the Law of God. Notice carefully,

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19,20).

Here Paul also mentions "the law" four times. Many who read these verses superficially assume that this "law" applies to Old Testament Jews alone, has finally passed away, and has no particular relevance to us today; but this is entirely false. Look closely. In the light of "the law":

"every mouth" should "be stopped"
"all the world" is "guilty before God"

Thus "the law" is not just for Jews, but is for "every" person. Paul also refers to "the law" as being in full force right "now" (the first word in verse 19). Not only that, but the spiritual condition of "all the world" is that every human being now stands "guilty before God" as a violator of His law. The word "guilty" means that we are accountable, and face judgment. Based on such circumstances, instead of attacking either God Himself, or His law, each of us should humbly acknowledge our desperate condition and shut our mouths. Contrition, silence, and sincere repentance are most appropriate.

The truth is that it is only as we fully grasp the bad news of our spiritual condition before God as violators of His law that we can even begin to appreciate the good news of the gospel of His Son. In other words, apart from law, grace is meaningless.

That's enough for now, for I don't want to give you too much to digest at one time. In your private time, I urge each reader to thoughtfully consider Paul's message in Romans 3:19. God has a law. It is still in force. The whole world is "guilty before God" for breaking it. And thus, we all need a Savior.

In Part 4, we'll look closely at verse 20.

To be continued…

Bible Study (Part 4)

Continuing on from Part 3, let's once again notice carefully what Paul wrote in Romans 3:19, 20:

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19,20).

In Part 3 we discovered (based on verse 19) that the basic spiritual condition of "every" human being before "the law" of Ten Commandments is that of being "guilty before God." Being "guilty before God" not only means that we are directly accountable to our Maker for our actions, and that we will be judged by them, but it also implies that we cannot get ourselves out of our own mess by our own efforts.  

"Therefore," Paul continues—and this is his logical conclusion based on verse 19—"by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight." The phrase, "by the deeds of law," refers to all human efforts to rescue ourselves from our own plight, even by conscientious obedience to the "law." It won't work. We're stuck. No matter how hard we try, our "guilt" remains. We simply can't be "justified" by our own works. When Paul wrote, "Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified," the words, "no flesh," apply to both Jews and Gentiles. Thus

1.     The Law applies to everyone, Jew and Gentile.
2.     Both Jews and Gentiles are equally guilty before God.
3.     No amount of human effort, good works, or "deeds of the law," can solve the problem.

Notice carefully that Paul wrote about being "justified in His sight." Our main concern shouldn't be how we appear in man's sight, but in "His sight," meaning God's sight. In simple terms, to "be justified in His sight" means to no longer stand "guilty" before God based on His own legitimate verdict. To be "justified" means to be legally clean, clear, and innocent before the Lord and before the moral bar of His eternal judgment. Can man find help in the law to achieve such a wondrous condition? No. But does the law serve a purpose? Yes indeed. What purpose?

Paul's answer is, "for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (verse 20).

In other words, it is the force of "the law," applied to the conscience by the Holy Spirit, that finally gives us a living "knowledge" of our true condition, reveals our "sin," exposes our "guilt" in "His sight," shuts our mouths, and brings us to our knees in helplessness.

Believe it or not, this is a great thing.

For it creates a need for a Savior.

To be continued…

Bible Study (Part 5)

Let's start by summarizing what we have learned so far. A careful reading of Romans 3:19-20 reveals that:

1.     God's Law applies to everyone, Jew and Gentile.
2.     Both Jews and Gentiles are "guilty before God" as lawbreakers.
3.     No amount of human effort, good works, righteous acts—all referred to as "the deeds of the law"—can "justify" us before God or solve the sin problem.
4.     By the law comes "the knowledge of sin."

If you question these points, simply read Romans 3:19,20 again carefully. Based on these facts, it cannot be stressed strongly enough that "the law," while it certainly cannot save or justify us, nevertheless remains in full force in New Testament times and has a definite place in the biblical message of righteousness by faith. As Romans 3:19 states, "by the law is the knowledge of sin." Thus it is "by the law" that we discover our sinful condition, our need of a Savior, and the very reason why Jesus Christ died—which was to pay the just penalty for those very sins. When professed Christians reject the law "in the name of Christ," what they are really doing (without realizing it) is destroying the truth about the reason why Jesus Christ died in the first place—which again, was to pay the price for our sins of breaking the law (compare 1 John 3:4 with 1 Cor. 15:3). In Romans 3:19-26, Paul rejects this distortion by placing the law and the message of Jesus Christ together in their proper relationship.

Now for the next step: Paul continues, "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets" (Romans 3:21). This verse is jam-packed with vital information, and should be analyzed carefully. First, Paul's focus is "the righteousness of God." God's righteousness is what we sinners desperately need—not our own, which is filthy rags. This righteousness is "now" being "revealed," which means that the knowledge of it and the message about it is "now" coming to you and me. This righteousness is "apart from the law," which means it does not come from "the law" itself, but from another place. Yet make no mistake about it: such righteousness is "witnessed by the Law and the Prophets." In other words, "the law" witnesses or testifies to that righteousness and fully agrees that it is in perfect harmony with itself. 

In other words, if the law could talk, we might hear it say, "I require righteousness, and all sinners fall short of it. But ah! There is another place where the exact righteousness that I require can be found, and I will accept it completely. It satisfies me fully."

As we will see in Part 6, that other place is the unique Person of Jesus Christ, "our righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6), whose "righteousness" is "now" being "revealed" as being available to each of us as a free gift!

The best is yet to come!

To be continued…

Bible Study (Part 6)

After stating that "all the world" is "guilty before God" for breaking His "law," and that "by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight" (Romans 3:19-20), Paul then points to the only hope of lost sinners:

…even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on allwho believe (Romans 3:22).

It's is God's righteousness that we need, not our own, for "all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Just yesterday our dog unexpectedly unloaded a large amount of urine on our carpet, and believe me, the rag used to mop it up ended up "filthy." Get my point? In the same way, "all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" before the Lord. They stink. Why is that? The simple reason is because all "sin" is nasty to God, and we sinners are permeated with it. Now, we may not think so (for we all have a natural bent toward self-righteousness and pride), but God thinks so; not because He is mean, but because He is holy.

Yet God is also loving (see 1 John 4:8), which is why He has so mercifully provided a way of escape for us. This way of escape is His righteousness, which He now offers to us as a free gift. In Romans 3:22, Paul makes it clear that this "righteousness" only comes "through faith in Jesus Christ." Notice the following New Testament facts:

1.    Jesus Christ is God (see John 1:1-3, 10; Phil. 2:6).
2.    Jesus "became flesh" (see John 1:14; Heb. 2:14).
3.    As a Man among men, Jesus never sinned even one time (1 Peter 2:22).
4.    Jesus perfectly obeyed the law of God (see Mat. 5:17).
5.    Jesus manifested tender love in everything He did, and "love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:10).
6.   Through daily obedience to the law, Jesus earned the right to the title, "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:6).
7.   On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid the full penalty for "the sins [law breaking] of the whole world" (see 1 John 2:2).
8.   On the third day, He rose from the dead (see Luke 24:7; 1 Cor. 15:3,4).
9.   Jesus Christ's righteousness (His righteous character) is "the righteousness of God," and thus it is perfectly acceptable to the law (see Romans 3:21).
10. Because our Savior "gave Himself for our sins" (Gal. 1:4), He now offers "Himself" and His righteousness to each of us as a free gift (see Romans 6:23). 

Again, this "righteousness of God" only comes to sinners in one way. Not "by the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:20), or by human effort, but through "repentance" (see Acts 20:21) and "faith in Jesus Christ" (Romans 3:22).

Repentance means sorrow for sin,
and a choice to turn away from it.

Faith means trusting Jesus Christ completely,
and having "no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3).

To be continued…

Bible Study (Part 7)

Paul wrote:

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe (Romans 3:21-22).

Here Paul plainly stated that "the righteousness of God" (which is what we sinners desperately need and must have), comes "through faith in Jesus Christ." Genuine "faith in Jesus Christ" means:

1.    That we accept the biblical fact that we are "guilty before God" as violators of His moral law (verse 19), and realize that we are hopeless in ourselves (verse 20).
2.    That we make a firm choice to turn from (repent) of all sin.
3.    That we trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, and not in ourselves in any way.
4.    That we believe in Jesus Himself as our personal Savior.
5.     That we realize that the very "righteousness of God" is given to us when we have faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul stressed that this "righteousness of God" comes "to all and on all who believe." "To all" means that it is now being offered "to all" human beings on planet Earth, no matter how sinful they may be. This is most encouraging. Do you feel too sinful to be saved? Do you imagine that there is no hope for you? If the devil tempts you to believe this, resist him. Say, "Away with you Satan. Jesus died for me!" Rest assured, there is hope. "To all" includes you. Jesus loves you. His righteousness is now available to cover your sins. Right now, God is offering it to you; yes, even you.

Yet look again. God's righteousness comes "on all who believe." Thus we must personally "believe" in order to get it. Some say we already have it before we believe, and that we should simply believe in what we already have—but this is not what Paul says. A simple way to illustrate this error is by noting that Jesus Christ's righteousness is also referred to in the Bible as a "garment." In Revelation 3:17-18, Jesus tells Laodiceans that they are "naked," and must put on "white raiment that you may be clothed." Thus to be "naked," and to "be clothed," are opposites. We can't be naked and clothed at the same time. The question is, "Are Laodiceans really clothed, but don't realize it? Or are they really naked, and not clothed, without realizing it? The answer should be obvious. They are naked, and not clothed. But if they would only follow Christ's counsel to "be zealous and repent" (Rev. 3:19), then they would be clothed, and be no longer naked.

Get it?

It's the same with us, and with Romans 3:22. When we genuinely repent of our sins and have "faith in Jesus Christ" as our Savior, only then can we be clothed with the white robe of His righteousness. Only then are we no longer "guilty before God."

When Paul wrote that Christ's righteousness is "on all who believe," he meant legally. Such a transaction is "written in the books" of record in heaven (see Daniel 7:10; 12:2; Rev. 20:12), and our status of being "guilty before God" is removed. In other words, we stand clear before His law as if we had never sinned.

As we shall see later, it is only as we are first justified legally, that we can be fully transformed morally. Both are essential. But the legal precedes the moral.

Never forget it.

To continued…

Bible Study (Part 8)

Continuing our study of Romans 3, Paul wrote:

For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed (Romans 3:23-25).

"There is no difference" applies to both Jews and Gentiles. In the light of God's law, we have "all" sinned, are alike "guilty before God" (verse 19), and are in the same boat. But the Good News is that we can be "justified freely" by the "grace" of Jesus Christ. "Freely" means for free and without reservation. It's a divine gift lovingly given. As stated before, to be "justified" means to be no longer "guilty before God." 

"Justified" is a legal term and means, "to be declared just or righteous" by the Lord. This happens when we have sincere "faith" in Jesus as our Savior and trust fully in the merits of "His blood." That blood shed on Calvary represents Jesus Christ's worthy, righteous life-a life that is good enough to save us all. In the gospel, God has "set forth" Jesus Christ as our Savior, "to demonstrate His righteousness." Don't miss it. 

It is "His righteousness"--not ours--that should be our focus. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, we experience "His forbearance" (mercy), and can rest assured that God has willingly and freely "passed over the sins" we have "previously committed." How marvelous! demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).

Notice carefully that four times in six verses Paul's focus is the Lord's righteousness, not ours.

"the righteousness of God" (Romans 3:22)
"the righteousness of God" (Romans 3:23)
"to demonstrate His righteousness" (Romans 3:25)
"to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness" (Romans 3:26)

Obviously, Paul wanted to make sure we didn't miss the message of righteousness by faith.

That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26).

"That He might be just." A careful study of Exodus 34:5-7 and 1 John 4:8 reveals that God's character is a blend of mercy, truth, and justice rooted in infinite love. Man has sinned, and in order for God to "be just" He simply cannot overlook or ignore even the smallest violation of His law. His righteous integrity demands that a just penalty be executed against every sin. So how can God remain "just" and yet save sinners at the same time? This is the divine dilemma. Fortunately for us, His love has found a costly solution. The answer is that He bore the penalty against our sins Himself, in the Person of His own Son. Now, God can still "be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus"!

Because Jesus Christ bore the justice that we deserve ourselves, and then rose from the dead, God can now legally grant us mercy and still maintain the integrity of His justice and law. This is His royal plan, the plan of salvation. But notice again that God can only be "the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." If we resist His love, and stubbornly refuse to have personal faith in Jesus Christ as "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS," then we can't be saved. Tragically, we then remain in a legal state of being "guilty before God" (Romans 3:19) and remain subject to divine justice (Romans 2:5,6).

Since this is the case, it should be obvious that the smartest thing we can ever do is to repent of our sins and choose to believe in Jesus Christ as our righteousness.

If we do, the results will echo into eternity.

To be continued...

Bible Study (Part 9)

After building a rock solid case that Jews and Gentiles can only be "justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28), Paul continued:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ... (Romans 5:1, NKJV, emphasis added).

To be "justified by faith" means that we can stand completely innocent of all wrongdoing before God and His law when we repent of our sins and have faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:6), our Savior, and our best Friend. These five words, "we have peace with God," describe a legal peace with the Lord of heaven and earth through faith in His gospel. "Not guilty!" is the blessed verdict of heaven. A direct consequence of this wondrous, judicial "acceptance" by God is an inner peace that fills our hearts. Paul continued,

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).

Again, don't miss the order: The legal peace (being "justified by faith," verse 1) comes first, and this is followed by "the love of God" being "poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who [is] given to us" (verse 5). In other words, once we are first set right with God above, we can then experience His love, peace, and joy below on earth. The line, "the love of God has been poured into our hearts," reveals that God's own love flows into our hearts through the doorway of biblical justification by faith. This love comes from "the Holy Spirit" who is "given to us." The word, "given," means it is a free gift.

Now here's a key question: when "the love of God" through the Holy Spirit enters our hearts as a free gift after we are "justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28), what about the law? Do we ignore it, and keep breaking it? Many think so, but this is not what Paul taught. Notice carefully:

Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law (Romans 3:31, emphasis added).

To "establish the law" means two things. First, it means to "establish" the law's authority as a present, active revealer of both the character of God and human sin (see Romans 3:20) to help sinners sense their need of justification by faith. Second, it means to establish the law in the heart of a new believer in Christ so that he now joyfully chooses to obey it through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is clearly taught in Romans 8. Notice carefully:

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit...that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1,4).

Jesus Christ "fulfilled" the law (see Mat. 5:17) when He walked this earth two thousand years ago in human flesh. This is how He became "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Then He "died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3) of breaking it (see 1 John 3:4), and rose from the dead (see 1 Cor. 15:4). And now, as our resurrected High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary above (see Heb. 8:1,2), He can now justify us freely, lift our guilt, and remove our condemnation when we have faith in Him. But more than this, He can renew our hearts so that "that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:4). Remember, the Holy Spirit brings "the love of God" (Romans 5:5) into our hearts, and true "love" leads to "the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:10, KJV), not the breaking of it.

Thus the true, New Testament message of "righteousness by faith" and justification by faith" plainly teaches us that:

1. We are "justified by faith" in Jesus Christ apart from the deeds of the law.
2. Justified, forgiven, "peace with God," "no condemnation" believers in Jesus will keep the law through the love and power of the Holy Spirit.

This is the word of the Lord. Don't let "false teachers" (2 Peter 2:1) who preach "another Jesus" or "a different gospel" with "a different spirit" (2 Cor. 11:4) steer you away from it.

To be continued....

Bible Study (Part 10)

Revelation 14:6-12 contains God's last message to a lost world before the return of Jesus Christ (verse 14) represented as being proclaimed by three angels with "a loud voice" (verses 7,9) to "every nation, kindred, tongue and people" (verse 6). The third angel concludes:

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

This is the word of the Lord. Notice carefully that God's final, apocalyptic "saints" (who accept the three angel's messages) have two primary characteristics: 1) they "keep the commandments of God," 2) "and the faith of Jesus." Thus they combine obedience to God's "commandments" with "faith" in "Jesus" as their Savior. The goal of this entire series (Parts 1-10) is to clarify how this combination works, and to inspire you to be on the Lord's side.

In a nutshell, the heart of the third angel's message can be illustrated by two mountains: Mount Sinai and Mount Calvary. On Mount Sinai, God gave His law of Ten Commandments amid thunder and flame (see Ex. 19-20). On Mount Calvary, amidst the horror of a great darkness, the Son of God paid the full penalty for our sins of breaking it (see Matt. 27:32-50; 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 John 3:4). Mount Sinai shows us our dire condition as lawbreakers (see Romans 3:20). Mount Calvary reveals our Savior. Without the cross, the law brings hopelessness. Without the law, the gospel is meaningless. Thus both are essential, and inseparable.

To summarize, why do we need a Savior? The biblical answer is, because we have broken "the law of righteousness" (Rom. 9:31). 

What did Jesus Christ do to save us? He kept the law perfectly to become "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:6), and then paid the just penalty for our transgressions because He loves us. Without a Savior, condemnation hangs over us and we remain "guilty before God" (Rom. 3:19). Without Jesus, our only future is "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish" (Rom. 2:8-9) and "the day of wrath" when God "will render to each one according to his deeds" (Rom. 2:5-6). What misery. Thank God for His gospel! Through repentance and faith in "Christ our Righteousness" we can legally be pardoned, forgiven, cleared, justified, cleansed, and then transformed into "obedient children" (1 Pet. 1:14). This is the fullness of God's message and the goal of the third angel. This alone can prepare us for the return of our Lord on a "white cloud" to reap "the harvest of the earth" (see Rev. 14:14-16).

I will conclude this series with six Bible texts. Read them. Meditate on them. Trust them. Receive them. Live them. Jesus loves you. May God bless you!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him (Romans 5:9)

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith (Eph. 3:17)

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:4)

Love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10)

Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

The End

Recommended reading:
Christ and His Righteousness, by E. J. Waggoner (1890). 

Steve Wohlberg is the Speaker/Director of White Horse Media. With B.A. and M-Div. degrees in Theology, he has been a guest on over 500 radio and television shows, produced numerous TV series, hosted the nationally syndicated radio show World News and the Bible (2004-2006), and has authored 21 books. An international speaker, Steve has conducted Bible seminars in Russia, South Africa, Canada, Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, and in cities throughout the U.S. 1-800-78-BIBLE.