This morning’s Morning and Evening should be an encouragement to every believer. It is true that everyone is wicked, fallen, and freely evil (even Christians who have been saved by grace alone). Those of us who hold tightly to the doctrine of “total depravity” have a tendency to bang that drum as loud as we can (as if it were our job to keep everyone humble). If we are not careful, the joyous and glorious truth of Christ’s perfect righteousness can be subtly lost in the dwelling of our own corruption.
That said, you can’t have the good news without the bad news. Paul recognized this when he penned his letter to the church in Rome. Romans 1:18-3:20 contains a lot of bad news for mankind. This section begins with the wrath of God being revealed from heaven and concludes with no one being justified in God’s sight according to the law. Thankfully, Paul doesn’t end the letter there.
Romans 3:21-5:21 provides good news for the people of God. Here, Paul opens with the phrase “But now…” and proceeds to demonstrate how faith in Christ provides peace with God and eternal life. The bad news is essential and should not be neglected. However, we cannot afford to dwell in the dreariness of our own self-darkness and obvious short-comings. It is a good thing to dig deep into the foundation of our faith in Christ. But if we never focus on the walls and roof of the structure, we will find ourselves occupying a pit of self-focused piety. Rather, let us rejoice as Paul does in Romans 5:1-2 when he says,
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
I like how Spurgeon puts it in today’s devotional.
There are some who are always talking about corruption and the depravity of the heart and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further and remember that we are perfect in Christ Jesus.
What a glorious truth to consider! Christ’s perfect life has been added to our account. He was tempted in every way, but never fell. Through His sacrifice, our scarlet sins have been washed away in His perfect righteousness. May we perceive our sinfulness when we see ourselves, but forever keep our focus on the glorious Subject of our salvation.
Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.
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The LORD is our righteousness. — Jeremiah 23:6
It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ.
How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would be if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption and the depravity of the heart and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further and remember that we are perfect in Christ Jesus.
It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind “Christ Jesus, whom God made . . . our righteousness,”1 we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord—Christ has done it all. On the cross He said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in Him and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”2
You will not find on this side of heaven a holier people than those who receive into their hearts the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness. When the believer says, “I live on Christ alone; I rest on Him solely for salvation; and I believe that, however unworthy, I am still saved in Jesus,” then there rises up as a motive of gratitude this thought: “Shall I not live to Christ? Shall I not love Him and serve Him, seeing that I am saved by His merits?” “The love of Christ controls us,”3 “that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.”4 If saved by imputed righteousness, we shall greatly value imparted righteousness.
11 Corinthians 1:30, 2Philippians 3:9, 32 Corinthians 5:14, 42 Corinthians 5:15