I often hear when I listening to preaching the phrase “The Righteousness of Christ is reckoned to believers.” By which is meant, if I understand the teaching aright, that Jesus vicariously kept the law for us.
Just as we haven’t, don’t and can’t keep the law of God, and therefore are unrighteous. He however could and did keep the law of God, and therefore His righteous keeping of the law, is what is reckoned to us, so that we are seen as having perfectly obeyed the law.
Popular as it is I must admit that I can’t find that teaching anywhere in the bible. I realise that :
Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.
However it’s not with any desire to be contentious, but I’m in a quandary. Realising that It’s a view everywhere preached, but unable to see that it agrees with the clear teaching of the Bible.
First of all it seems to me that this teaching is not represented in the shadows and types of the Old Testament.
The sacrificial lamb was indeed to be witbout spot or blemish. But this answers to the perfect sinlessness of:
The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
He was without sin. He did no sin. He kew no sin. Therefore he was the only suitable substitute.
But nowhere in tbe Old Testament is the life of the sacrifice, before death, said to be accepted in place of the offerer.
The sacrifice, being perfect, was a suitable substitute, but it was the death of the sacrifice, instead of the sinner, the shedding of it’s blood, which made atonement.
A substitute is one who stands in our stead. We are condemned to die. He died in our place.
he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Secondly, the Apostle Paul insists that the reckoning of the Righteousness of God to the ungodly is totally apart from the Law, which was given by Moses.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 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: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Justification is through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus.
And if we are thereby reckoned righteous, and justified in the sight of God, what else do we need? Why is anything else required?
Our Law breaking wasn’t balanced out by Our Saviour’s Law keeping. Our Law breaking is what caused the curse of God to fall on His Son. As the Apostle Paul says:
Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
Everywhere in the Scriptures salvation is in His blood. in the above passage it doesn’t say that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by keeping it for us. It states that he redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us.
He stood as it were in the breach. Between the wrath of God and the sinner. Something deep within the very being and heart of God passed, by the eternal Spirit, between the Father and the Son. God was making an end of sin, by the sacrifice of His Son.
God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, (he who knew no sin;) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
This is the Law:
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
This is the gospel:
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
The righteousness of faith is testified to by a great cloud of witnesses. These all died in faith. Jesus is said to be at the head of this great company as the preeminent example of faith. He is the author (file leader) the one at the head of the line, of all the faithful. The author and finisher of faith. In Him faith reaches it’s culmination and final purpose. The bringing in of the Righteousness of God, by faith of Jesus Christ.