Friday, December 15, 2017

No Righteousness but Christ’s – Uses of the Law: Unlawful Uses (3)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 0:01
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No Righteousness but Christ’s

Uses of the Law: Unlawful Uses (3)

Romans 5:17

If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

The righteousness of Jesus Christ is the basis of our salvation. Only because Jesus fulfilled all righteousness can any of us receive the gift of salvation and entry to the Kingdom of God.

This gift of righteousness is not merely a “positional” gift, that is, a “credit” to our account sufficient to ensure that, on the day of judgment, we will pass through into glory because of the righteousness of Jesus. It is that, to be sure, but not only that.

As believers live for Jesus Christ, His Spirit works within them to will and do of God’s pleasure. His pleasure is to transform us increasingly into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:12-18). As we are transformed, this will be conspicuous outwardly, in our words and works. These will reflect less of the old person we were before the gift of righteousness, and more the new person that we are and are becoming in Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:17-24).

In short, righteousness will be evident in us as the fruit of our salvation. But this is not our righteousness. It is not that we, who had been evil, are now suddenly good, and capable of good. We are not. But Christ is at work within us, and He is bringing forth the gift of righteousness by grace through faith, so that we are becoming more like Him.

Our work in this is to seek the Kingdom and bring holiness to completion in the fear of God, which we do, not by overthrowing the Law of God, but by establishing and walking in it (Rom. 3:31; 1 John 2:1-6). But we use the Law unlawfully if we claim that our obedience is our own work, and the righteousness which is the fruit of that obedience is that of anyone other than our Lord Jesus Christ.

For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the life of faith, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Bookstore, then Church Issues.

In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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