The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 133 of 181
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3: 10 - 31.
pp. 181 - 186
In the section we are studying we have seen that God's answer to man's sin is the
provision of His own righteousness, resting on the basis of Christ's redemptive work on
the cross and received personally by the sinner on the ground of faith or trust in Him.
There can be no doubt that `righteousness' & the verb `to make righteous' are key words
in this great epistle, and they run right throughout like a golden thread as the following
summary shows:
God's righteousness revealed in the gospel
1: 17
God's righteousness required and
found wanting in human attainment
1: 18-3: 20
God's righteousness provided through faith in Christ
3: 21-31
A concrete illustration of this--Abraham.
How God reckons righteousness to a sinner
4: and 5:
God's righteousness and the freedom it brings to serve Him
6: and 8:
Israel's attitude to this righteousness
and their failure through not receiving it
God's righteousness in practice in the daily life
As stated before, the terms "righteousness" and "make righteous" are terms of the
law-court. These words do not mean "to make virtuous" or "to make sinless", as is
evidenced by the fact that the redeemed sinner is still capable of sin and does not attain
absolute perfection until resurrection glory when he is then presented "holy and
unblameable and unreproveable in His (God's) sight" (Col. 1: 21, 22). In the exposition
of Galatians we pointed out that the process of justification is expressed in terms of law
in the Old and New Testaments. We repeat it here:
1. God is set forth as the Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18: 25; Isaiah 1: 7, 8;
Romans 8: 33).
2. The person to be justified is guilty. He is looked upon as exposed to the righteous
judgment of God (Rom. 1: 32). The sinner's mouth is shut (Rom. 3: 19).
3. There are three accusers:  (1:) the law of God (John 5: 45);  (2:) Conscience
(Rom.ii.15); (3:) Satan (Zech. 3: 2; Rev. 12: 10).
4. The charge is drawn up in legal handwriting (Col. 2: 14).
5. The gospel provides the guilty person with a plea (Rom. 3: 23-25).
6. The Lord Himself is the Advocate (I John 2: 1, 2).
7. The sentence for all believers is one of complete forgiveness, justification, and
acceptance by God, and title to eternal life and inheritance (Rom. 8: 1, 33, 34;
II Cor. 5: 21).
Such are completely cleared and acquitted by God, Whose righteousness is beyond
question. This is done on the principle of grace, since men, being sinners, cannot be
acquitted on the grounds of any merit of their own. It is God's gracious favour that meets