As I've been reading through Romans lately, I've been struck anew with the frequency of the term "righteousness through faith". (1:17, 3:22, 4:5, 4:9, 4:11, 4;13, 9:30, 10:6) Although this is not news to me, the reality of it has again stirred my soul. This righteousness that I can now claim by Christ's blood is not something that I can put on like my favourite sweater, rather, something that I put on "by faith". It is his perfect life that has been written across my debt card in heaven's courtroom.
I had an interesting conversation recently with a woman. We were discussing our spiritual backgrounds, and as she shared her journey, I was faced with some new questions. Her "testimony" did not address any part of Christ's work on the cross. (I find this part of "spiritual journeys" can often be "overlooked"). She mentioned that she has always believed in God and Jesus. Now, if that belief in God includes a belief in Jesus as her Savior, Redeemer, and Lord, I am comfortable with her understanding. However, without such understanding, I wonder if there is "righteousness through faith". What does that faith need to be in? Unfortunately, we were not able to engage in further discussion to clarify what she exactly believes, which will hopefully be a part of our next conversation. Nonetheless, my heart is fearful that many have "faith", but haven't ever considered what that "faith" is actually in. So what does our "faith" need to cling to?
According to Romans 3:22 "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Paul say this after he explains that the law shows us our shortcoming in God's courtroom. We need to believe Jesus is in that courtroom. Then Paul continues "God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood." Not only do we need to believe that Jesus went to the courtroom for us, but that it is His blood that was laid on the bench as our payment. How can we not weep when singing "Nothing but the blood", or "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross". It cost Him precious life blood to give me a clean card in heaven. And to top it off, Christ did this "even when we were dead in our trespasses" (Eph.2:5). How marvelous! Now that's a reason to celebrate! That's the reason for joy at Christmas!