Posted by: Kris Lindsey | October 26, 2013

Righteousness in a Parallel Kingdom

No, it couldn’t be—could it? My hands gripped the steering wheel as I grappled with three points in our church’s book study, The Search for Significance by Robert McGee.

I agreed when McGee said God sees us as we really are—He sees everything. But if Romans 3-4 says all who believe in Jesus are righteous through faith, why do some people say, “In God’s eyes we are righteous.” Was I really righteous, or was God viewing me through rose-colored glasses?

I shifted in my seat as I turned the wheel and leaned into the curve.

It was McGee’s next point that really blew me away. “Visualize two ledgers: On one is a list of all your sins; on the other, the righteousness of Christ.

ledger??????????????????

Now exchange your ledger for Christ’s.”

No, that can’t be right. Sounds blasphemous. I envisioned Christ’s ledger glowing white and pure. But I still sin—mine must always have a few smudges hanging around.

Still, McGee insisted that God transferred our sin to Jesus, and His righteousness to us. To prove it, he cited 2 Corinthians 5:21:

“He made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Yes, that is true. I remember studying that verse.

McGee then said, “By imputing righteousness to us, God attributes Christ’s worth to us.”

Hmmm. Me… worth the same as Christ? I let off the gas to let a car merge into my lane.

For the triple-whammy, McGee said, “God can create something out of nothing simply by declaring it into existence. He spoke and the world was formed…”

Earth

McGee continued, “In the same way, we were condemned, but now we are declared righteous.” Righteous–just because God said so? More memories of Romans chapters 3-4 flashed through my head.

But how could I be righteous when I sin? That didn’t make sense. My brain spun, did a cartwheel, then landed with a thump. In college, my professors could grade me on whatever standard they chose. Some graded according to a percentage of correct answers. Some graded on how I compared with other students in the class—on a curve. A few told us to give ourselves whatever grade we thought we deserved. If a professor had the power to decide the criteria for a grade, I supposed God could declare me righteous independent of my performance if he wanted.

Then my vision became crystal clear. My righteousness had nothing to do with my deeds, or what I deserved. God’s criteria was based on what Christ did–His redeeming sacrifice for us on the cross.

“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:22, 24).

So…when we believe and receive Jesus, we are not only forgiven, we also receive His righteousness as a free gift. With that, we are now as fully pleasing to God as Christ is. Fully pleasing to God…

I rounded the final curve and glided toward home.

Wow, God’s ways are so different from ours, it’s like living on a different planet. Suddenly, my whole body felt lighter, as if gravity had decreased a notch, and I slipped into my parallel universe—the Kingdom of God.

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Responses

  1. Wow Kris, great explanation! “It is like living on a different planet”, or living under different value system. I’ve been struggling with at my bible study the last few weeks. Can I use your example? 🙂

    • Thanks, Wendy. And yes, feel free to use this example. Let me know how the discussion goes, as I’m still exploring the in’s and out’s of this myself.

  2. Great thoughts, Kris. Thanks


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