(Article for publication week of 2-13- AD 2013)
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:22).
Everyone who truly believes in Christ for his whole and sole righteousness is justified by God, and saved with an everlasting salvation. The promise of the gospel is to “all them that believe,” not all them that “work”. The scriptures make it plain and clear that salvation flows to a person by faith, not works. Romans 4: 5 plainly says, “but to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The very righteousness of God is unto and upon all them that believe in Christ for their whole and sole righteousness.
Note well the believer has the very righteousness of God upon him. In order to be saved and spend eternity in heaven with God, you must be as righteous as He is, and our text says that all that believe have that righteousness upon them. It is not a mixture of your righteousness and God’s, it is all His righteousness. So Paul says in Philippians 3:9, “and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
Please further note that the righteousness of God is “upon” the believer, not “in “ the believer. This is a vital point that I want you to have clear in your mind. Confusion between justification and sanctification is the root of many, perhaps most doctrinal errors. To be sure, God does put a new nature in a believer, but that new nature that follows after peace with all men and holiness (Hebrews 12:14) is not what gives the believer a right standing before God. It is having the very righteousness of God as his covering that gives the believer access to God and declares him to be right with God.
Next, let us see that our text tells us something wonderful about justifying, that is saving faith. The faith that justifies is said to be the “faith of Jesus Christ.” Justifying faith is a faith of which Christ is the “Author and finisher” (Hebrews 12:2). To be Biblically precise, we must see that saving faith is not a production of man, but rather a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). The only reason one man believes in Christ and another does not is that Christ gifts a person to believe in Christ. When our text speaks concerning the “faith of Jesus Christ,” it is telling us that faith is a gift of Jesus Christ to His people, and they look to Him alone for their whole and sole righteousness. I hope you can see this, for it is a vital and important truth of the Word. I want you to see that your faith is not in any sense a procuring cause of salvation. Salvation is all of grace from first to last, and even the faith whereby one is enabled to come to Christ is a gracious gift from God. The point of our text is that God furnishes everything necessary for justification, and the believer furnishes nothing. “Salvation is of the Lord”!
What an encouraging text for us this week! What a glorious gospel to preach to sinners! The very righteousness of God is upon all them that believe in Christ. Are you trusting in Christ Alone for your salvation? If so God has declared you as righteous as Himself. His righteousness is upon you personally, and really. There is no condemnation to you, and not one charge can be brought against you. Salvation is unto and upon all them that believe. May the Lord bless you my dear readers.