Our True Source of Righteousness: Christ Alone
"For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness." - John Calvin
The true source of righteousness is Christ alone, and not the law. When an individual's conscience becomes troubled, worrying about how they may obtain God's favor and the confidence that would come with standing before God, it is important to remember that they cannot rely on the law for righteousness. The law itself is perfect, but it cannot bring about righteousness because it reveals our imperfections and failures to meet its standards.
Instead, the individual should look to Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law. Christ is the true source of righteousness because of His perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection. His righteousness is given to those who believe in Him, and it is not based on any merit or worthiness of their own.
Therefore, the individual should not rely on their own good works or attempts to follow the law, but on Christ alone for their righteousness. In doing so, they can have the assurance that they will have favor with God and the confidence to stand before Him on the day of judgment.
As believers, we must continually remind ourselves of the sufficiency of Christ's righteousness for our salvation. We must resist the temptation to place our confidence in our own works or efforts to earn God's favor. Instead, we must place our trust in Christ, who alone can provide the righteousness we need to stand before God. Let us look to Him and hold forth His righteousness for ourselves and for those around us, that they too may know the true source of righteousness.
There are many Bible texts that affirm the idea that Christ surpasses all the perfection of the law and is the only source of righteousness for believers. Here are a few examples:
- Romans 3:21-22: "But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."
- Philippians 3:8-9: "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
- Galatians 2:16: "know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified."
- Hebrews 7:18-19: "The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God."
- 1 Corinthians 1:30-31: "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'"