Imagine a group of people following you around and constantly pointing out all your sins; from “big” sins (stealing) to “little” sins (white lies). Imagine their accusing voices becoming such a regular part of the noise of your life that you hear their words in your mind as you lie down at night, and see their faces when you wake up in the morning! No one would endure this for long. Even if every single accusation they made against you was just and true, and every sentence righteous, you would run far-far-away, as fast as you could!
The Law of God functions in a similar way. It defines righteousness and accuses us of unrighteousness. Whereas another person may falsely accuse us, the Law of God always justly accuses us of sin. For example, the Law tells me I should never lie. I look at my life and remember how I have frequently lied. By comparing myself with God’s standard I learn of my own unrighteous standing before Him. Therefore, I stand guilty and condemned before a holy God.
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20.)
Once we finally arrive at this unhappy conclusion we have to decide on a good course of action. How should you respond? You could just go on despising the Law of God, taking the attitude that the righteousness of the Law is to be avoided at all costs. Or, you could suppress the truth and replace it with a false religious system. Or, you could attempt to obey the Law’s demands of perfection. You could join a group which claims a method which will make you perfect before the eyes of God.
But there is another way! Jesus died to pay the penalty for all our sin and to make the righteousness of God available to us! This righteousness is given as a gift. It’s credited to our account! It’s free to us because it was bought with the blood of Christ.
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 3:21-25.)
Here’s the right response: “I run to Christ as the only means of my salvation! I repent, and put my faith in Jesus!” As soon as you put your faith in the cross of Christ everything changes- including your attitude toward God’s righteous standards.
Think about the just accusations of the Law of God. Before you became a Christian those accusations stung because they were true and you knew you deserved the condemnation of God. But now that you are saved from the wrath of God and have been given the righteousness of Christ you can boldly say: “Jesus paid it all!” Although the accusations of the Law may still be true, the condemnation has been taken away. A Christian will never face this wrath of God!
“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8:33-35)
When a person puts their faith in Jesus, as the only way to be relieved from the condemnation of the Law, their attitude toward the Law is suddenly transformed from irreconcilable animosity to love! The righteousness of the Law is now their goal and supreme joy. The Spirit of God lives within Christians, helping to point our feet in the right direction!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:1-6.)
This amazing change in heart disposition is clearly seen in David’s attitude toward the Law of God. Consider what David wrote in Psalm 119.
“My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word. Remove from me the way of lying, And grant me Your law graciously.”
For the Christian righteousness becomes a sought after habit. Christians seek to “put on” righteousness like a Roman soldier used to put on a breastplate. A Christian knows they can protect themselves from all the devil’s complex schemes with simple righteous living. Before being given the gift of righteousness through faith in Christ a person may hate the righteous standards of God seen in such places as the Ten Commandments, but after salvation a man will strive for, love and tearfully cry out for more and more ability to live a righteous life. He will hunger and thirst for righteousness.
What’s your attitude toward the righteousness of God?