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Your joy rests on Jesus’ righteousness



In today’s sermon, we see how one righteous man, Noah, led the way to the salvation of his family members, and even the human race. 


We, too, are saved on account of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through faith in him, we, too, are counted righteous. May this article1 reveal how justification by faith does not merely lead to our salvation but also speaks to our deepest joy. 

~ Pastor Luwin Wong

 

What if you really believed that God is 100% for you? That he not only accepts you, but accepts you fully, because of the perfect person and work of his Son? That your best successes can’t earn you any more access, and your worst failures can’t take any of it away? If you did — really did — it might change everything for the pursuit of joy in your life.

 

The Christian doctrine that deals with God’s acceptance of us into right relationship with him is called justification. It’s the long j-word that has so much to do with the short j-word that we’re all seeking in our own way: joy.

 

Justification by faith alone

Justification deals with how we get right with God. Here, the setting is the law court. There’s a defendant (you), and there’s a Judge (God). And we’re all rightly charged with unrighteousness — a treasonous offence against the Judge himself.


To be justified means that the Judge declares you righteous, rather than guilty. It means to be cleared of any wrongdoing. The remarkable thing, according to the Christian gospel, is that even though we truly are guilty, God “justifies the ungodly” through faith (Romans 4:5).

 

Gods full acceptance of us is owing to the righteousness of another, Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1). We are declared righteous, and fully accepted by God, not on the basis of any righteousness in us, but only through faith, looking outside ourselves and joining us to a righteousness not of our own doing Jesus who is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30; Romans 5:19; 10:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

This justification by faith alone is at the very heart of the gospel. Martin Luther called it the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. And those who most deeply hold to justification by faith alone become the worlds freest people, truest lovers and greatest doers, all because they have found a greater and deeper capacity and potential for joy.

 

His righteousness, our rejoicing

One key biblical passage for why justification by faith alone is essential for true joy in God is Philippians 3:1 and the verses that follow.

 

In chapter 2, Paul stresses that it is joy that keeps him going in the ministry, and joy that he hopes inspires the Philippians to pursue unity and humility. He returns to that theme of joy a few verses later as he turns to address the orientation of the church toward her enemies.

 

Rejoice in the Lord(Philippians 3:1) is not only the connection to what has come before, but a banner that flies over the section that follows. This is no simple segue. This is the very thing that will separate true believers from religious posers. Paul focuses in on what binds the church together, and gives her the wherewithal to stand firm in the face of opposition: joy in Jesus. Rejoice in the Lord.

 

The main contrast Paul makes here between the church and her opponents is the varying sources of their confidence. The opponentsconfidence, for right-standing with God, is in their own performance, but the true people of God put no confidence in the flesh(Philippians 3:3).


We cannot be truly happy unless Gods acceptance of us is totally based on Christ.

 

“Now did my chains fall off”

John Bunyan (16281688), the persecuted baptist pastor and author of The Pilgrims Progress recalled the day, walking through a field, when the Spirit opened to him the glory of justification by faith alone and with it, opened for him the floodgates for the pursuit of joy. After much distress and anguish of heart, he says, he finally saw

 

that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, “The same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. . . . Now I went also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.

 

Such has been the testimony of many a joyful saint.

 

Bunyan experienced, with the apostle Paul, that the full acceptance of God, by faith alone, on the basis of Christs righteousness alone, is essential to the unencumbered and uncompromised pursuit of joy.

 

The joy of acceptance

Have you tasted the joy that comes when justification by faith alone sheds its light into your darkened soul? There are many causes of joylessness in Christians, but one that too often has been overlooked is this: if we are weak on justification, we will be weak in joy.

 

True Christian joy is inconsistent with any theology that compromises justification by faith alone. Those who are strongest in justification by faith alone will be freest in their pursuit of joy.


 

David Mathis, (March 19, 2015), Your Joy Rests on Jesus’s Righteousness. desiringGod.Taken from https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/your-joy-rests-on-jesuss-righteousness

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