In Acts 17:30-31 we read “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” An honest heart will read those words and will feel dread. To be judged by a Holy God based off my righteousness doesn’t leave me much hope. I know what I’ve done; and it’s not good. Not even on my best day. I don’t consider myself a really bad person. Perhaps you are even better than me in doing good. Regardless of how good we think we are we still have fallen far short of the righteousness of God. In Isaiah 64:6 we find that “all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags.” On our own, the very best we can produce is a dirty, stinking, filthy rag. Something that is not even fit to be cleaned; just thrown away. We are to be judged by our own righteousness. Scary thought!
But there is hope!
I can be judged not of my righteousness but based on the righteousness that God is willing to grant me. Romans 4:6-8 describes the blessed state of a person that knows the forgiveness of sins; a person to whom God has imputed righteousness. That gives me and you hope! This imputed righteousness isn’t just pulled out of thin air. It comes from Christ’s righteousness. The perfect life he lived. His life sacrificed. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read of the offer God has made to all of mankind: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” God is willing to take all the vile things I’ve done and place them on Jesus Christ on the cross. And in place of my sin, God is willing to take the perfect life Christ lived and place it on me. This offer isn’t based off how much good I’ve done or how many times I’ve failed. It’s 100% Christ. That’s why Romans 10:4 declares “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.”
Christ is the answer and our only hope!
So how does one get this righteousness? Does one have to do a certain amount of good deeds or maintain a certain level of morality in order for God to offer them this deal? Certainly not. This is all about Christ’s perfect life. Romans 3:20-22 tells us the only way to access this is by faith. Note especially verse 22: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” The answer is faith! A complete trust in the promises of God. A trust that when I submit to the gospel of Christ, God will keep His promise to impute Christ’s righteousness to me. I don’t have to depend on my ability (or lack of); just my willingness to surrender to a Holy God’s plan by placing total trust in Him and His power.
Now imagine standing before God on that day when he will judge the world in righteousness.
But this time you are not standing there being judged based on your righteousness but based on the imputed righteousness of Christ. Standing there in that position there is no dread; only joy and peace. Philippians 3:9 declares “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” You can trust God’s promise. You can have hope. God’s righteousness is available to you. All you have to do is surrender to God by faith.