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God’s Gift of Righteousness

by | Jun 12, 2023 | Perfection, Righteousness

“For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the Law but through the righteousness of faith …. [Abraham] grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’ But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:13, 20b-25 ESV)

Righteousness means being right and whole and good and healthy—being the way God made us to be. We know that without righteousness, we won’t be able to stand before God. We won’t have peace with God. We won’t become what God created us to be; we will miss out on the joy and life of God’s kingdom.

But we also know that we can’t “do” righteousness. Ever tried to live a single day perfectly, without a single evil thought or word or action? You can’t do it. I can’t do it. Abraham couldn’t do it.

This is what it means to be a sinner. It means to be broken, to be flawed in a really deep and basic way. It means you desperately need help—because you can’t fix yourself. Nobody can, not even Abraham.

This is why we need a different kind of righteousness. We need somebody to give us righteousness, to make a free gift out of it—because we surely aren’t going to earn it. Who can do that? Only God. Only God born into our human race as the Man Jesus Christ.

You know what Jesus has done for us—how He grew up among us, living the same life we have. He dealt with the same problems we have—stress, family fights, money trouble, even homelessness. He carried our burdens. He walked in our shoes. And He did all of this with a good and faithful heart, treating people with love and patience—living our life the way it should be lived. Even Jesus’ enemies couldn’t point to a single evil thing He had ever done (see John 8:46).

Finally, He allowed Himself to be betrayed by a friend, handed over to His enemies, and put to death on a cross. He took our death upon Himself—He paid the penalty we couldn’t afford to pay. And then He rose from the dead, never to die again. He rules all of creation, and He has promised to be with us forever.

And Jesus says to us now, “I love you. Take My righteousness and give Me all your wrongdoing. Take My perfect life in exchange for yours. Take My life in exchange for your death. Take My victory over death and share it with Me, forever, in My kingdom. Only trust Me. I will keep My promise, and all these good things will be yours. Trust Me, and I Myself will be yours.”

We Pray: Dear Lord, give me Your good gifts. I trust You—help me to trust You more! Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on June 7, 2023
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. Did anyone ever offer you something that seemed too good to be true? What happened?
2. Do you think people ever consider Jesus’ offer to be “too good to be true”?
3. If Jesus’ promises are really, absolutely true, what difference will that make for your life?