'Righteousness.' It’s one of those Bible/church words that can make matters of faith seem inaccessible. But it simply means 'right-ness.' It's God’s standard of perfection, an expression of who He is and what He expects of us. We all NEED righteousness to have life with God now and forever. So how do we get this righteousness? We naturally look to ourselves. We are quick to claim, 'I'm a pretty good person,' and figure that ought to count for something with God. But consider the Apostle Paul. No one equaled his knowledge or discipline or zeal for a religious life. But after Jesus confronted his misguided pursuit of righteousness, Paul said, "Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss."
Our efforts to meet God's right standard are a "loss," empty. God knows that, so He gives us righteousness through Jesus. You see, righteousness is not about who you are and what you do. Righteousness is all about Jesus and what He did for us – the sinless life He lived for us, the sacrificial death He died for us. Paul learned that all he needed and all that counted was Christ: "Not a righteousness of my own that comes from the law" (not by what I do), "but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." (Philippians 3:4-9) Believe the good news and know that YOU ARE RIGHT WITH GOD THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS.
'How can you believe the Bible? It’s just a book written by men.' Have you ever faced that question? Has it ever left you in silence? Has it ever left you in doubt? When you face such doubts or opposition, LOOK TO THE BIBLE AS THE TRUE AND TRUSTWORTHY WORD OF GOD. Yes, the Bible speaks for itself. Who do you most want to take the stand in a trial? …The person on trial! And God is pleased to take the stand and speak for Himself. How many critics and defenders of God’s Word have come and gone? But the Word of God remains. That in itself is powerful testimony that this is more than just the word of men.
Marvel at how the Bible speaks with one Voice (resonating through some 40 authors over about 1600 years), pointing to salvation in Jesus. Peter, an eyewitness of Jesus’ glory, wrote, "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place." (II Peter 1:16-21) This light penetrates the darkness of our sinfulness with the good news of forgiveness and eternal life in Him who was crucified for us and raised to life. This is a light the world cannot extinguish, and it brings a hope, peace, and joy that the world cannot give and the world cannot break. For these reasons and many more, you can LOOK TO THE BIBLE AS THE TRUE AND TRUSTWORTHY WORD OF GOD.
How do you react to something that doesn’t make sense? It’s all too easy to sit in judgment, to shake your head and call it foolishness – simply because it doesn’t make sense to you, because it is an offense to your wisdom. To many, the message of the cross is offensive and foolish. 'Is there really something that wrong with humanity, that bad in me, that it took God in the flesh, nailed to a cross, to save me?' When we’re full of ourselves, the cross is foolish and offensive to us; self is the enemy of the cross.
Have you ever noticed that those who come to the cross of Christ are the weak, the broken, the despised, the nothings, the 'foolish'? Count me in! For when you see your need for the cross of Christ, you will never lose the wisdom of the cross, and you will never lose the certainty of salvation. "This is what God in His wisdom decided: Since the world did not find Him through its own wisdom, He used the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe it." (I Corinthians 1:20-25) You are wise to hold on to such foolishness. Come and see that THE CROSS OF CHRIST IS THE WISDOM OF GOD.
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.