"One act of righteousness"

Vaclav's picture

Philippians 2:8, "And [Jesus the Son of God] being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!"

Jesus Christ the Son of God "who being in very nature God" appeared among us sinners "as a man". "He humbled himself" and in that state of humiliation lived and obeyed his Heavenly Father perfectly in our place. We try to obey God, but sadly fail since God expects and accepts only perfect righteousness. Jesus Christ in his experience "as a man" "became obedient to death", in our place as our representative.

His whole life was a life of perfect trust and obedience to God his Heavenly Father in our place. What you and I ought to be right now is perfectly righteous in order to be accepted by a holy God. But in ourselves, we are not and never will be perfectly righteous as God requires of us in his holy law. And that is why Jesus came to earth "as a man" to represent us "as a man", to obey God the Father perfectly in our place.

The Father gave Jesus the work of redemption to accomplish, and he finished the work ending it in his death on the cross for our sins. At the end of Jesus' earthly life, he prayed to his Father with these words, "I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do." (John 17:4) And on the cross, Jesus cried out, "It is finished". Not 'I'm finished' as 'I'm dying', but in the sense of I have finished the work of redemption my Father in Heaven gave me "as a man" on earth to do for his people. In his life and in his death he did "fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15) as "one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Instead, Jesus' obedient life and his substitutionary death were the "one act of righteousness" (Romans 5:18) by which we are justified freely by God's grace through faith in him.

In Ezekiel 18:20 we read that "the soul who sins shall die". We all have sinned, so we all deserve to die. We all deserve God's justice on our sins. But in Christ God had mercy on those who put their trust in him by withholding his judgment on them since Jesus absorbed all God's wrath on himself in their place. Jesus kept the law of God "as a man" in our place and took the punishment of the broken law on himself for us.

And not only that but in Christ, we receive everlasting life. In Christ, we are loved forever, for we have received the free gift of God's "amazing grace" in being forgiven all of our sins and instead we are credited with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Just as the apostle Paul tells us 2 Corinthians 5:18, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." That is what theologians call "the great exchange". When God looks at us he doesn't see sin, instead, he sees the perfect righteousness of God in Christ on us.

So we are saved by "grace alone" through "faith alone" in "Christ alone" for "God's glory alone" revealed to us in "Scriptures alone".

My friend, do you know the joy and peace of "the great exchange" in your own life? Or are you still trying to justify yourself before God and before others by your own imperfect works?