What Is Righteousness By Faith?

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

We want to consider an experience, and it is to be researched not merely as a subject of theory, but as something in which our experience is brought into focus. This experience is described in the words of Apostle Paul:

Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, 9 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:

The apostle Paul is applying the doctrine to himself, to gain and appreciate it as an experience. He counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus His Lord. He suffered the loss of all things for that, that he might be found in Christ, that he may have the faith of Christ, and that his righteousness would not be his own righteousness, which is gained by his knowledge of the law, but that it would be the righteousness which is gained by the faith of Christ from God.

Sadly, this subject of righteousness by faith is dragged down into the morass of debate today; and among all the different groups and churches of one-upmanship mentality (where everyone says, We have it right, the others don’t), I hate to enter into such a sacred subject with a one-upmanship mentality. I do not wish to communicate this mentality here. Rather, my purpose is that we would gain the experience of righteousness by faith; because in this one-upmanship and debating atmosphere of the theory of this subject, the reality of righteousness by faith is missed. People are still not helped.

Preaching Around God’s Word

We want to solicit Inspiration at the very outset to point out this particular problem of theoretical debate:

Well-educated, intelligent men preach at the Word and round the Word, but they do not touch its inner meaning. They do not present truth in its genuine simplicity.  {ST, January 11, 1899 par. 5}

This is the problem. They are intelligent men; there is no denying of the fact; but they are preaching at the word and around the Word, not touching its inner meaning, not dealing with genuine simplicity.

How very many there are that know not the gift of God. They talk of the truth, they talk of heaven and of religion, they talk of faith, but they know it not. They have not an experimental knowledge what faith means, or what it is to trust God, of what it is to drink of the living water of life day by day. {TDG 301.3}

These words should really cause us to turn our minds in sincere prayer to the Lord, that we might go deeper than merely talking of the truth, or preaching of the truth, or at the Word, or about the Word. Talking of heaven, talking of faith, and yet not knowing it. How many I have seen in my experience over the years in that very condition; and I often tremble within, asking myself, Is it my fault that in the sharing of God’s word people are not getting the living experience of that?

Failures in Ministry

Sister White was here writing about the ministers and what their problem is:

Our ministers have some experiences to gain that have not yet been gained, standards to reach higher than those yet attained. They have lessons to learn of personal ministry for souls. There is a special work to be done for the newly converted. {GCB, June 6, 1913 par. 7} 

What is it?

Do not think when these have embraced the doctrines of the message, that you can leave them there. {Ibid.}

People are brought under the ministries of the churches of today into the doctrines, and now that they have been baptised, you leave them there. And the ministers go on, doing all sorts of other things, but not doing what is written here.

Many have thus been left in spiritual darkness; they know not how to go forward. {Ibid.}

They know the doctrines; the church has taught them clearly; but they don’t know how to go forward.

Go to these souls; pray with them; lift them up. Do not rest until you see that they are striving to reach the standard that God’s Word sets for his children. {Ibid.}

Here is the responsibility of a minister. But now is the most important part altogether:

We talk much about the truth; but unless we live the truth, unless we ourselves are reaching its standard, and helping others to reach it, our work will not have the approval of Heaven.  {GCB, June 6, 1913 par. 8}

What a thought to meditate upon. On this subject of righteousness by faith it is imperative that we don’t just talk about it, that I don’t just preach about righteousness by faith, that we don’t just concentrate on the theory of the word, but on how to really engage in righteousness by faith. That is my purpose: to go beyond the doctrine to the exposé of living doctrine, that the doctrine may become alive to us.

Righteousness by Faith in Living Reality

The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven. {FLB 116.2}

Many commit the error of trying to define minutely the fine points of distinction between justification and sanctification. Into the definitions of these two terms they often bring their own ideas and speculations. Why try to be more minute than is Inspiration on the vital question of righteousness by faith? {FLB 116.3}

What is this question of righteousness by faith? It is a vital question. And why be more minute, why make it more complicated? In all its simplicity it is very plain. It is my prayer that where the complications have been stirred by all the different voices sounding around us, we may be able to see the simplicity of righteousness by faith, this vital doctrine.

The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven. {FLB 116.2}

The statement above is the expression that Sister White gave, under inspiration, of the doctrine of righteousness by faith. If you know this statement and you know what this is saying, you may be perfectly correct; but do you have it in your experience? That is the question. Many people go out teaching what justification and sanctification are as a theory, at the Word and around the Word.


What is this in living reality? We know very well the word justification, or, to justify. We use that when we come to people who we think are doing something wrong; we tell them they are doing something wrong, and they justify themselves. You know what justification means. Yes, indeed; every person on this planet is a sinner that needs justification. He is condemned; and because of the sins that we have committed, whatever they be, we are condemned. There are sins of different magnitude, and some are worse than others. I hear people say that certain sins are the worst sins, when Sister White does not say they are. The worst sin is pride! Self-esteem is the worst sin. It is the worst one over the top of all the actions of sin. But whatever the sin is,

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

He is talking about both Jews and Gentiles, or, in today’s terms, Christians and infidels. There is none righteous. That needs to be accepted. And the condemnation that lies upon every human being is uttered here by the psalmist:

Psalm 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin [is] ever before me.

Any true and genuine person will acknowledge this. As they look back over their life, it absolutely devastates the peace within. “My sin, look at what I’ve done.” And when you come face to face with challenges of either death or something that really churns your memory, up comes before you the terrible skeletons in your cupboard. Everyone meets it. King David said, My sin is ever before me; I acknowledge my transgressions.

As those who are believers of God and the Bible come face to face with this appreciation that “there is none righteous, no, not one,” and that the sins that we commit are always there in our face, they express themselves in those words:

Ezekiel 33:10 …Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins [be] upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? 11 Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

So from a statement like this there comes this conviction, “I have to change! I want to turn; I want to live;” and so I make the effort of changing. But what do I discover? The cry of Romans 7 comes up within very soon.

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me;

I want to change, yes;

Romans 7:18 …but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

And this appreciation within every human being who is convicted of righteousness and of sanctification comes up again and again inside of the person. “Oh dear, I’ve wanted to be different, but I have failed; I’ve wanted to reach a higher standard, but I keep on slipping into certain activities which don’t harmonise with the standard. What is going on??”

Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

This is the condition of every human being, whether they see and understand it or not. None are righteous, no, not one. This is our predicament; and what is needed to release such a struggling soul?

Under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, look back at your whole life. Is there anything good? In the light of God’s word, is there anything good? If you’ve done anything good, is it true that the good has been so mingled with the wrong that it makes the whole thing wrong? And you stand there in your internal self and think, O wretched man… Is there any way out for me?? Remember, we are here dealing with justification. What is needed to release such a struggling soul? It is written here:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world,

Who did He love? The world full of sinners; He loved them.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

What is the simple release mechanism to a person who is fully conscious that the good he wants to do he doesn’t do and the evil he doesn’t want to do he does? He is convicted, he acknowledges his sin, and he is overwhelmed with his true, weak, sinful condition. What is there for him? What must you and I do to find release? What does whosoever mean? It means me. Whatever my sins have been, however degraded I feel about myself, I am the whosoever; if I will believe in Him I will not perish.


This body of death is going to die because of my sins. Is there any hope? can I stop perishing? Yes, if I believe in Jesus; then that will happen; I will not perish. This has to be be-lived. It has to be be and lived to accept that.

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. And what will God do?

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Here lies the ingredient of be-lieving. With everything that overwhelms me, with all my sins that come up before me and are always before me, I am to believe the fact that God loves me (this is why He gave His Son), that He will rebuke and chasten me, and that He wants me to be zealous and repent. This is another extremely important exercise in righteousness by faith. For me to be justified, to have righteousness imputed to me, I must be in a state of brokenness of spirit. Remember, a broken and a contrite heart God will not reject. Here then is a very important thing. I am to be repentant, to be broken and acknowledge my sin before the Lord and accept everything that God puts across my path in His love – rebuke and chastening, etc.

Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

Through Jesus Christ, whom God sent because He loved the world, there is preached the forgiveness of those sins;

Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Here is the word justified. If I believe in Him, if I repent, as my sin is ever before me and I am in a broken and a contrite spirit over that and I am prepared to accept the rebuke and chastening of the Lord and accept Jesus as my personal Saviour, then what do I receive? The forgiveness of my sins; and I am justified from all things from which I could not be justified in any other way. How many sins does that include? All things, not one missing. Whether it be rebellion, apostasies, killing someone, failing to bring our children up correctly, whatever it is… Forgiven. This is justification.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Can you see what is spelled out here? I am riddled with my sins, I am frequently overwhelmed and I even fail Him again and again, and I can’t get myself out of this wretched condemned feeling; where is my release? In the fact that God loves me, that God gave His only begotten Son that if I would believe in Him I might be justified. And if I listen to the preaching of Him, I will be forgiven as I am repentant for my condition and in a broken and a contrite spirit. If I have no self-justification, and I am totally broken – God will not despise that condition. He says, I love you, I am going to chasten you and impart to you forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as his sin is ever before him, what is a justified person experiencing? As he accepts Jesus and comes into this appreciation, as he opens his heart to this forgiveness, what happens? “We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Here lies a perfect release, rejoicing in hope. What is hope? It is something you don’t see yet but that you believe is going to happen. So you rejoice. Even though your sin is ever before you, you rejoice. This is justification accepted.

It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. {SC 62.2}

Don’t you want that? Do you want escape from this condemnation and this horror?

He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. {Ibid.}

Is that real? Can you believe that? As my sin is ever before me, I take hold of this in Jesus Christ, His justification, His perfect life, and as I am struggling with the things that I am still struggling with and I fail and I come to Him in brokenness of spirit again, can I believe that when I come to Him He looks upon me as though I had never sinned? Believe this. This is righteousness by faith. This is justification by faith. Jesus’ character stands in place of your character; it is accounted to you. This is justification, the righteousness which is imputed. It stands as yours, and you are regarded by God as though you had never sinned. Can you embrace this by faith? Can you see the practice, the experience that is needed? Lord, give me such a faith, to believe that my grotty life is truly in Your eyes as though it didn’t exist.

Righteousness by Faith

It is only ours if we believe this. It is not ours if we don’t believe it. But if I do believe it and continue to believe it, even if sin happens to me again; if I am justified because I believe in Jesus, but I fall, what is written? Can I believe what is written?

Proverbs 24:16 For a just [man] falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Who falls? A justified person, a just man. As you fall again, are you no longer a just person if you have the same contrite spirit that continues with you, if you continue to believe in Jesus? Are you a person who will then say, “Oh, that’s good, I can continue sinning because I’m going to be justified again”? That’s not a just man’s thinking. A just man is someone who believes in Jesus and believes that when he makes a mistake he is not condemned, because he believes that he is forgiven when he repents; because he will repent; he’s a just man, he will rise again.

There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ, and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. {FLB 118.4}

Can you identify with this description? This is the living reality. We know the pardoning love of Christ, we submit ourselves to it, we are contrite, and our heart has been changed; but my character is imperfect, my life is faulty, and I am ready to doubt whether my heart has been renewed by the Holy Spirit.

To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes; but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Said the beloved John, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” And do not forget the words of Christ, “The Father himself loveth you.” John 16:27. He desires to restore you to Himself, to see His own purity and holiness reflected in you. And if you will but yield yourself to Him, He that hath begun a good work in you will carry it forward to the day of Jesus Christ. {Ibid.}

This is righteousness by faith. Even though I will often fall down because I see another ugly little characteristic that has been revealed to me, I do not despair. My sin is before me, and those ugly little characteristics that I may not have been fully aware of, come up before me in greater dimension. This is what is written. The path of the just is as a light that gets brighter and brighter. The nearer you come to Jesus, the worst you will feel about yourself. The painful discoveries of more detail are horrifying to us; but don’t despair! We are justified as we continue to come to God in a repentant and contrite spirit. This is righteousness by faith. This is justification continually imputed to us.

Having covered all this, how do you feel, dear believer? As you take this on board, what happens inside of you? Don’t you love Him? Aren’t you drawn by this love? What is God like? In my deplorable, grotty life and with all my character defects and failures, He loves me so much? Let it sink in. He loves me and He justifies me as I come weeping before Him with my ugly condition. It is those who don’t do this who will fall further into mischief. But the just man will do this. He is justified; he will come with contrition again and again, weeping for his sins and character defects, and God does not cast him off. What does this love do within you? The love of God constraineth me. In other words, it impels me, it makes me go forward. Now I know how to go forward because I believe in justification in its simplicity.

The light of truth irradiates his understanding. A glow of perfect love for the Redeemer clears away the miasma which has interposed between his soul and God. {HP 200.3}

What has interposed? My sin has separated me from God. It is the sin that is the miasma. But now, through justification, as I see this mercy of God and His love for me, the love for the Redeemer clears away this miasma which has interposed between my soul and God.

The will of God has become his will, pure, elevated, refined, and sanctified. His countenance reveals the light of heaven. {Ibid.}

When a person feels redeemed by this justification, the face lightens up. I have seen this in the ministry over the years. And when a person loses that by doubting again, the face gets dark again.

His body is a fit temple for the Holy Spirit. Holiness adorns his character. God can commune with him, for soul and body are in harmony with God. {Ibid.}

Here is the transition of justification into sanctification. The justification of my sin through the precious gift of God’s love affects me, and now my love for God fills me with a joy and a decision that I will do whatever God says. This transition is represented in nature. You pick up a dog that has been badly treated by a harsh master; the poor dog has received a heavy beating and is left on the side of the road; you go up to that dog and speak kindly to him and start to lift him out of his bad condition, and you bring him into the love of your kindness, and see how that dog will obey you. This is where God finds us – totally bereft, hopeless – and He picks us up and loves us, and we will do whatever He says. His will will become mine.

This is the ongoing work of faith. As I am justified and I fall and rise again and my heart is filled with this love, I am being justified continually, and even though I may make mistakes, I continue to see this justification and my heart gets warmer and warmer and more determined to do everything that God says.

Preserved Blameless

1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You might say, But I’m not blameless; I’ve sinned again, I’ve failed again. No, no; believe in the forgiving grace of God. And as I have failed him, I am justified because I will rise again because of His wonderful love for me. I will come and repent. And as I continue to repent freely and openly because of what Jesus has done for me, the love keeps on pouring in, and I am justified as though I had never sinned. That means blameless. And I will remain under that justifying work and the work of sanctification in connection with it; I will be blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In others words, He is saying, Stay under justification, and let God continue to sanctify you. Stay under justification; you’ll need it again and again and again as you grow out of your character defects by God’s love. The good traits will be increasing and the evil traits will be simultaneously decreasing in this path of justification and sanctification. It is righteousness by faith. If I will believe as I let God’s love permeate me, I will be changed. The glowing of His love will change me into submitting to His will in every respect; and I will be held blameless through justification and blameless in the impartation of God’s sanctification. Through justification we are accepted of God just as if we had not sinned; and the Spirit of Prophecy then goes on to say:

More than this, Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart by faith. {SC 62.3}

The justification by which we are warmed within us changes our heart; and if I will abide in this, I will be preserved blameless.

You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him; {Ibid.

Do you see what we need to do? Once I understand that I am justified even though I am so grotty and dirty; once I repent and confess my sin that is often before me and I fall again and rise again; as this connection with Jesus, this continual surrender of my will to Him, continues,

…so long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. {Ibid.

Is this also righteousness by faith? To do things according to His good pleasure it is He that works in us by that love. There is a continual application of justification. As it generates in me this amazing appreciation of the Father and of Jesus’ love for me, it is a continual development, a continual surrender, and a continual work of God upon my heart to do His will. This is the way it works. But I have to keep on believing. I must not drop back.

So you may say, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. So Jesus said to His disciples, “It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Matthew 10:20. Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same good works –works of righteousness, obedience. {Ibid.}

This is righteousness by faith in action.

So we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast. We have no ground for self-exaltation. Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us. {SC 63.1}

This is grace.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

This is the work of righteousness by faith.

David and Saul

Here I would like to introduce, as an example, King David in contrast to King Saul. Both of these men were born again and converted. But Saul lost his salvation while David was a specimen of the true redemption that we have just contemplated. The Bible declares King David as the specimen of God’s grace.

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, [even] the sure mercies of David. 4 Behold, I have given him [for] a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

The sure mercies that God expressed to King David are the everlasting covenant that God will make with us if we will incline our ears unto Him. Now what made David a man after God’s own heart? Was he less sinful than Saul? He was more sinful than Saul. He did far more objectionable things. David had multiple wives; King Saul didn’t have many wives. David also had concubines besides; adultery was his practice. Just look at King David. This was not a model of righteousness. In that respect Saul appeared more righteous. What differentiated the nature of these two men? What made David the person of whom God could say, “He is the commander; here are the sure mercies that I will give to every other sinner”? What made him like that and Saul not, so that Saul lost his life and David was redeemed? Just read Psalm 51. There you see the calibre of King David. After he had done all those other wrong things in his life, he wrote this psalm.

He first married Saul’s daughter; then he married Abigail, and it went on from there. We are told that he made a terrible mistake in marrying Abigail. But it went on. And as he finally came to this climax of sinfulness with Beth-Sheba and Uriah the Hittite, we come face to face with a situation that is to be given as an example to the veriest, hopeless sinner with a right attitude. It is there in Psalm 51. Study it carefully. And compare it with the following scripture. Samuel was here speaking to King Saul after he had been instructed to destroy all the Amalekites:

1 Samuel 15:19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? 20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.

But God has instructed him to kill the king as well, and also the sheep. Yet Saul said,

1 Samuel 15:21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. 22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.

What should he have done right then? If he had the attitude of David, what would he have done? He would have done Psalm 51; but he didn’t. That was the problem. And he continued to harden himself more and more and more. And as a result, that prophecy of Samuel came true.

Repentant and Believing

…the rainbow of God’s promise, which was a token of His covenant with Noah, was seen by John encircling the throne on high—a pledge of God’s mercy to every repentant, believing soul. {CTr 314.5}

What was the character of David? No matter how sinful he was, he was repentant and believing. Can you see the righteousness by faith? This is the repentance that has to come for the person to be justified, and then to believe. If you want to please God, you believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, whatever their sins have been.

David was a representative man. His history is of interest to every soul who is striving for eternal victories. In his life two powers struggled for the mastery. Unbelief marshaled its forces, and tried to eclipse the light shining upon him from the throne of God. Day by day the battle went on in his heart, Satan disputing every step of advance made by the forces of righteousness. David understood what it meant to fight against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. At times it seemed that the enemy must gain the victory. But in the end, faith conquered, and David rejoiced in the saving power of Jehovah. {ST, August 11, 1909 par. 9}

The struggle that David endured, every follower of Christ must go through. Satan has come down with great power, knowing that his time is short. The controversy is being waged in full view of the heavenly universe, and angels stand ready to lift up for God’s hard-pressed soldiers a standard against the enemy, and to put into their lips songs of victory and rejoicing. {ST, August 11, 1909 par. 10}

What is the standard? Christ our righteousness.

The only way in which [the sinner] can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son. {FW 101.1}

Our part in God’s program of righteousness by faith, by which we are preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord, is to be repentant and believing.

This is how faith is accounted righteousness; and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to a greater light. He can say with rejoicing, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; {Ibid.}

Experience this. The only way that righteousness can be ours is by faith to let God bring the merits of Christ upon us, and then going on from grace to grace. But what is it that I must do? Repent and believe, repent and believe, and believe more when I sin again. This is how I will be kept blameless.

So Christ, the great High Priest, pleading His blood before the Father in the sinner’s behalf, bears upon His heart the name of every repentant, believing soul. Says the psalmist, “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me.” Psalm 40:17. {PP 351.1}

I believe it. It is the repentant, believing soul who perseveres and does not rebel. He lets God change him to do His will.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

So as children who have been justified and whom He is sanctifying by faith, we will say, I love You so much because of the glow of Your love to me, and now, please, tell me where I am going wrong; please, show me how to eat, how to drink, how to dress, how to live; and as You show me, it might cut right across my habits, but I am going to do Your will nonetheless. This is righteousness by faith. Let us submit and believe in God’s way of righteousness by faith.


(Illustration by Moody Publishers, used under CC BY)

Posted on March 9, 2018, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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