Pristine Grace

Righteousness By Death
by Jim Byrd
Righteousness By Death

    It is impossible to be correct about the righteousness of Christ being freely imputed to sinners without proclaiming the Savior’s bloody death. Every child of God rejoices in the life of the Son of God who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and honoring to God in every way. He was obedient to the law of God, under which He was born, both outwardly and inwardly. Concerning His glorious life, however, as flawless as it was, had that been the extent of His obedience, no righteousness would have been brought in for sinners. He had to be “obedient UNTO DEATH, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:9). The robe of righteousness which covers the souls of the children of God must never be separated from the sacrifice of the Son. “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21). The thrust of this verse, obviously, is that righteousness is not obtained by our obedience to the law, but it is also clear that Paul links the bringing in of righteousness with the death of the Savior. This was beautifully typified when the Lord covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve with “coats of skins” (Genesis 3:21). There was no covering provided for them apart from the deaths of animals (probably lambs) in their stead. Surely the teaching is that the sacrifice of Christ in the place of His guilty people satisfied God so as to declare them “justified freely” (Romans 3:24-26). Never think too little of the impeccable life of the Savior which qualified Him to be the Sin-Offering for His people, but be careful not to undervalue His bloody sacrifice by suggesting that righteousness for sinners was established by His life. Think about it: if we were made the righteousness of God by His life, would not that render His death unnecessary because that which God requires for entrance into the kingdom of God is righteousness? “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). The obtaining of righteousness apart from the death of the Son of God would be contrary to the Scriptures for righteousness is necessary to enter into glory. O how thankful we are for the life of Christ which established Him as qualified to offer Himself unto God for the sins of His people. Think of each lamb which was put up for four days prior to killing them for the Passover (Exodus 12:5-6). The freedom from all imperfections rendered each lamb qualified to die in the stead of a firstborn, but it was not the purity of each lamb, though necessary, that saved the firstborn, but the death and the shedding of its blood. “When I see THE BLOOD, I will pass over you” (Ex 12:13). Righteousness was brought in, therefore, when Messiah finished the transgression, made an end of sins, and made reconciliation for iniquity, that is, when He died for our sins (Daniel 9:24).