For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God
for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written:
‘The righteous will live by faith’ (Rm 1:16-17 CSB).
The hideous beast I have often wrestled with is a crossbreed. A highly dangerous combination. Potentially deadly, even. The beast is part pride and part self-righteousness.
God has charged forth in this battle, mercifully waging war with this beast. And He is making gains—day-by-day, for He continues to fight on my behalf. And for His Name. (And thankfully so!)
The gospel shines a glorious light on the truth that Jesus is infinitely and perfectly righteous. It also convicts with the truth that I have no righteousness of my own. Now, that wounded pride at first. (Hopefully crucifying it!)
It is not only prideful, but utterly foolish, to think I could ever outperform His righteous performance. Where I stumble on even just the first commandment, He kept all the Law to perfection.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
(2 Corinthians 5:21).
Righteousness comes only by imputation from the only Righteous One—through faith.
The great good news is that those in Christ are imputed with His righteousness. Because of that gift of grace, those in Christ can cease striving . . . and failing. Because futility is exhausting!
I agree with what C. H. Spurgeon had to say on the topic: “The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.”
What, then, slays the beast of self-righteousness raging within? Besides the Spirit dwelling in bowed hearts? The sword of the Word of God! The Spirit applying the gospel in order to transform hearts.
I am convinced that self-righteousness is the gospel’s antonym. In fact, it’s not only its opposite, but it’s anti-gospel. Any self-righteousness in me so puffs up pride, leaving no room for the gospel. The beast pushes it right on out!
And self-righteousness is false. It’s smoke and mirrors. But the righteousness of Jesus Christ? It’s true. His is a righteousness to trust in. Count on. Rest in.
Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life;
and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness
(Rm 6:13 NIV).
The delivered children of God can stand before Him arrayed in Christ’s righteousness. It is a gift of such gracious magnitude that stirs in us a worship response to therefore treat others rightly, as His instruments.
In these harsh days of such cruelty and injustice, hunger for righteousness comes easily. But it is a hunger God’s children are to long for in themselves as well. By grace and the abiding Spirit we are enabled to extend His righteousness toward others. And, by looking to the righteousness of the Righteous Lord of the Gospel, we can overcome the struggle with righteousness (Romans 7:15-8:4).
The gospel is a real beast slayer—because by it the very power of God is unleashed, to demolish every pretense that hardens hearts.
Isn’t that really good news?