I have been receiving a lot of questions lately about some of the things I have written concerning the nature of the righteousness imputed to us, as well as my view concerning Christ’s law. Judging by the questions, it appears to me there is still a great deal of confusion about where I stand on these subjects.
Christ’s death was the satisfaction of the law’s demand for disobedience.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
What does the text say shows God’s righteousness? THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS!
Who does the text say about this Christ? HE IS THE ONE WHOM GOD PUT FORWARD AS A PROPITIATION (satisfaction of God’s wrath)!
And according to the text, how did He propitiate? BY HIS BLOOD! Notice, it does not say by His law obedience.
5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Where there is forgiveness (remission) of these . . . What is the “these”? The lawless deeds! Guys, what does the Holy Spirit say results in no more offering of sin? Does He say obeying the law results in no more offering for sin? No! He says the remission of sins results in no more offering for sin. Duh. Of course. Because there are no more sins to remit.
But what is it that He says did the remitting?
10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Recently a few people who should have known better have nevertheless accused me of saying we do not need Christ’s righteousness, but rather only forgiveness. This is ridiculous. I have never said any such thing.
What I have said instead is what I just said above. That where there is forgiveness (remission) of lawless deeds there is no longer any offering for sin, AND it was the death of Christ which accomplished this remission. This death is what makes His people righteous, and it did it by removing their lawless deeds.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Those who include Christ’s law obedience in with His righteousness are insisting that this remission is not enough to be set free from the punishment for sin. At least, those who are accusing me sure sound like they are saying this.
Let me conclude by reminding these folks that it wasn’t His law obedience that justified Christ. Remember, God had imputed the sins of His elect to Christ. Fat lot of good all that obedience did then, didn’t it.
No, what justified Christ was His resurrection.
3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord