This is where we have to start. It is the absolute beginning of all we must understand and embrace as we form an accurate view of God and of ourselves. It is the base of the foundation upon which everything else must be built. If you don’t get this one accurate at the very beginning, you’ll be building your whole life on quicksand. So hold on to your seats, because I’m going to rock some of your worlds!
NOBODY is righteous, nobody, zip, zilch, nada—not even me!
Application #1: Satan’s lie is that we can achieve our own righteousness! We can’t!
If you ever thought, that by your own righteousness (any good thoughts, any good behavior), God could be happy with you, you have been deluded. Our own righteousness will never be complete until we see Jesus. (Galatians 5:5)
Application #2: There is no righteousness scale at the pearly gates, where your good deeds are measured, and by which you will earn your entrance into heaven!
Many people believe that God will let them into heaven one day, because when God weighs their good deeds against their bad deeds, their good deeds will outweigh their bad deeds, and God will let them in. That is a lie of the devil! Do not be deceived!
Application #3: Only God can take us in our unrighteous state, apply Jesus’ precious blood sacrificed for us, and present us before God the Father as if we were righteous.
All my wrestling over justifying any inappropriate actions in depression eventually led me to discover what Christ’s death on the cross was supposed to accomplish. This incapacity to be 100% righteous was why Jesus came to earth, to die a cruel death, so that He could deliver me from this righteousness hamster wheel. When He saved me and placed HIS righteousness onto me, even during those horrible times when I wasn’t actually acting or thinking righteously, then God looked upon me, and only saw Jesus’ perfect righteousness, not my incomplete righteousness.
So, whether I was sick or whether I was well, Jesus’ blood was always making up for whatever I lacked at every point. He took all my attempts to be good, to be better, to try harder to be perfect, and graciously applied the blood of Christ to them. Only then, could I be made acceptable to the Father. Jesus’ blood always had to intervene for my feeble attempts to be righteous. Why you ask? Because the Bible says that even our righteousness is like filthy rags in comparison to God’s perfect standard. Gratefully, even in those instances, when my attempts fell short, there was still Jesus’ blood which perfected my imperfections in my heavenly Father’s eyes.
You see, what I came to discover, through my questions and my searching the Scriptures, was that while God is pleased when we attempt to live according to the commands that He has given us, He certainly doesn’t expect us to ever measure up to His holy standard by obeying all those commands every single time. Otherwise, why did He have to come to die for us if it was possible to do it ourselves? (“For if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”) Galatians 2:21b (NASB) I finally embraced the realization that, because of His mercy, Jesus’ blood achieved that righteousness for me that I had been striving for all along.
You see, whether we are a little righteous, or a lot righteous, God will always still need to make up for what we lack. We can’t get where to want to be without His perfection which was accomplished on our behalf on the cross. We come before the Father as if we were righteous, but only because Jesus’ righteousness has been credited to us. When the Father sees His Son, and takes into account His sacrifice, which atoned for our sins, He then declares, “I am pleased.”
Whatever part you play (whether a little or a lot), will never be enough. God is the one Who credits to you a righteousness that IS enough, but only because of the obedience of the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God.
My friends, you are accepted. You are loved. As a believer, you are right now counted as righteous, not because of anything you do, because of what Jesus did. We’ll talk about this more later.
Application #4: God said HE would sanctify us! We don’t achieve our own sanctification by ourselves.
While striving to be holy, as an act of worship and obedience, isn’t a bad thing, it is nothing I’ll ever be able to arrive at by myself. Unfortunately, from my childhood, I came to believe the lie that ***it was not only possible to become holy in my eyes, but in God’s eyes, too.***
But in my depression, I found that I was going to have to get to be okay with my own inability to sanctify myself (that is, make myself holy), for it seemed that everything I did seemed wrong. When I finally gave up on my own ability to become perfect, God could finally take over helping me become “set apart” for Him (the true meaning of the word, “holy”). It was when I found out I couldn’t be holy no matter how hard I tried, that I found out Who was in charge of growing holiness in me, from the inside out. It wasn’t me! It was God!
Application #5: Praise God! We are not condemned without hope!
“Sin is, first of all, a condition of the heart… The condition of sin, into which every person who has ever lived was born, renders each of us unable to live up to God’s standard. Sin leaves us without the desire, will, or ability to do perfectly what God declares is right. Whether it’s a situation in which we try and fail or a moment when we rebel and don’t care, the playing field is level—we all fall short of God’s standard… We are all unable, we are all guilty, and there is not a thing we can do to help ourselves. None of us is good in God’s eyes and none of us can satisfy His requirement. It is an inescapable, humbling, and sad reality.
“But God didn’t leave us in this sorry, helpless, and hopeless state. He sent his Son to do what we could not do, to die as we should have died, and to rise again, defeating sin and death. He did all this so that we could rest in a righteousness that is not our own, but a righteousness that fully satisfies God’s requirement. So, unable as we are, we are not without hope. We can stand before a perfectly holy God, broken, weak, and failing, and be completely unafraid because we stand before Him in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.”Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional, (Crossway, 2014), January 30
Verses To Meditate On
Romans 3:10–12 (NIV): “As it is written, ‘there is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside. Together they have become useless. There is none who does good. There is not even one.’”
Romans 3:20a (NASB): “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.”
Galatians 3:24 (NASB): “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”
Galatians 2:16 (NASB): “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
Galatians 5:5 (NASB): “For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.”
In summary, when I embraced the fact that “There is no one righteous, no not one,” I finally stopped hopelessly trying to figure out on which side of the righteous line I was falling, and resigned myself to being in the unrighteous camp. It was a long time coming, but I finally got there. I began to embrace the realization that no matter how hard I tried, and no matter how well I behaved, I would never be able to justify myself outside the justification of Jesus Christ, and the righteousness that He credited to me, which I’d never earn by working to become more righteous.
Isaiah 64:6 (NIV) says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” How was it that I’d come to believe that anything I’d ever done for the Lord was anything but filthy rags? Even my righteous deeds were surely full of sinful intentions and pride. I began to see the truth behind my delusion, and why I wanted to find a way to relabel my condition as righteous. I think this is one place where my theology was all messed up: I believed He was calling us to complete sanctification on this side of heaven, and that somehow He expected from us complete righteousness, but then He mercilessly left us unable to attain it.
In summary, when I embraced the fact that “There is no one righteous, no not one,” I finally stopped hopelessly trying to figure out on which side of the righteous line I was falling, and resigned myself to being in the unrighteous camp. It was a long time coming, but I finally got there. I began to embrace the realization that no matter how hard I tried, and no matter how well I behaved, I would never be able to justify myself outside the justification of Jesus Christ, and the righteousness that He credited to me, which I’d never earn by working to become more righteous.Tweet