Christ died for all our sins. Every single wicked thing we’ve done.
Every command we’ve broken – every violation. Every sinful thought, word and deed we’ve done – every “sin of commission.”
But he died for even more than these.
Christ also died for all the good things we should do but fail to do.
Every “sin of omission.” Like loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Anybody done that today for 15 minutes straight? Or loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Anybody pray as much as he should? Sacrifice as much as she could for Jesus? Give as much as he could to the poor? Any husbands out there who always love their wives as Christ loved the church? Anybody out there who never fails to rejoice – ALWAYS?
Jesus died for all the acts of kindness we neglect. All the times we should speak up for Jesus but don’t for fear of man. All the times we should serve others but give in to laziness. All the times we should love others but just don’t.
That’s why when God justifies us, he not only declares us to be “not guilty,” but God declares us to be “righteous.” Not guilty of the sins we’ve committed because Jesus paid for them. But positively righteous because Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience, which God credits to us who believe as a gift.
Justification is sometimes explained God looking upon me “Just-as-if-I’d never sinned.” But that’s only half the story. The other half of justification is that God sees me “Just-as-if-I’d always obeyed.”
It’s not our own righteousness. It’s a righteousness from God:
“…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— “(Philippians 3:9).
Paul didn’t plan to wave his own righteousness before God on judgment day. He counted on God welcoming him into heaven because of Christ’s righteousness.
But, you ask, if God sees us as righteous, what’s the point of doing anything good? Good question. Scripture says God’s gift of righteousness doesn’t make us passive. In fact, we’re to run hard after righteousness.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:11)
How can we who have received God’s righteousness live for unrighteousness? That’s insane. Romans 6 says believers are slaves of righteousness (v18) – propelled by righteousness, possessed by righteousness. We serve righteousness. We do what righteousness dictates. So we pursue righteousness, but when we fail to pursue it perfectly, when we fall short of loving the way we should or serving with a joyful attitude like we should, we don’t sink into despair, because God has counted his own perfect righteousness to us.
Our hope is always in Christ’s performance, not ours.
Now that’s good news!