But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe for there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
- Romans 3:21-26
The thought of evangelism is quite intimidating. Our palms immediately become sweaty, our hearts start to race, and our skin tone turns bright red. I often find myself in a situation in which God opens the door for me to share about Christ, and my mouth becomes dry at the thought of rejection. I wonder what I am going to say and how I am going to say it. However, the above passage reminds me that the message of a righteousness attained apart from the law is too precious not to share. To all those who fear the command of Christ to make disciples, I want to take a few moments to explain why this message needs to be shared with others.
We are using the wrong currency
We must first grasp a concept of God’s holiness to understand why we are using the wrong currency. As Paul Washer has said, “God is the fullness of all perfection”. God is morally perfect in all of his ways, and is of “purer eyes than to see evil, and cannot look at wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13b). God is also just who will judge and make war with everything and everyone that opposes Him. Because of this, we as human beings are presented with a problem because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). What is a holy and just God to do with those who have fallen short of His glory and have broken His laws? The answer is condemnation in a place called hell, where all of God’s wrath and anger towards sin will be poured out on those who do not have Christ as an advocate. What currency would you use to escape from the wrath of God? Would it be your own righteousness according to the law?
If all of the major world religions were stripped to their studs, they would simply show a series of values and principles that one must adhere to or achieve to meet an end goal. For some, that could mean heaven, nirvana, peace, or favor before God. In the world’s system, man strives and he earns his wages. In the end, the system is bankrupt because no amount of rituals or good deeds could ever cover our guilt. Isaiah 64:6a says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all of our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” If you attempt to appease God according to your own standard of righteousness, you are using the wrong currency.
We make it seem as though God owes us by expecting to earn something from Him for adhering to our own standard of goodness. However, Acts 17:25 says, “nor is he served by human hands as if He needed anything , because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” God is a holy and righteous judge who will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7). He will not judge us according to our own standard of goodness, but His own, and it is nothing short of absolute perfection. It is our job as ambassadors of Christ to make the correct currency known to those outside of the faith, to bring the mirror of God’s law to their hearts, and to strip them of all hope outside of Christ. We need to make known the righteousness that is apart from the Law.
Christ is the righteousness apart from the Law
However, we are not to leave them in the pit of despair. We are to point them to someone greater as our hope of righteousness. Our hope is Christ, the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law, “the radiance of the glory of God who upholds the universe by the word of His power”. (Hebrews 1: 3) Our hope is Christ the great high priest who was crushed for our iniquities. Our hope is Christ, of whom John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”(John 1:29) Our hope is Christ who by faith has clothed us in His own righteousness, so that when we do stand before God, we will be “presented blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24). Christ is our righteousness, the one who lived a life that we could never live, whose perfect obedience satisfied the wrath of the Father on the cross, and who rose again from the dead in triumphant victory. We must proclaim the gospel with passion and love, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Do you want to be motivated to evangelize? Think about how precious this Gospel is that God has given us. A righteousness has been manifested apart from the law in the face of Jesus Christ, not behavior modification, but righteousness engraved in the heart. The Gospel has transformed dead religion to the privilege of calling God “Abba”, the one who is the source of all things good and true. That is why we need to proclaim to all men everywhere to repent and turn away from idols and put their faith in the living God, for “His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and we can find rest for our souls.” (Matthew 11: 30).
Lord, I pray that the love of your name will overcome our fear of man. I pray that “words may be given to us in the opening of our mouths to boldly proclaim the mystery of the Gospel” (Ephesians 6:19) I pray that “we would not be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).
Let us continue to make Christ known to a dead and dying world for our own joy, the love of others, and for the glory of God.
- Joy Dudley