I thank God that my righteousness will not be counted to me when I die . I thank God that when I die, I will not receive the proper payment for the sins I have accumulated. I thank God for the good news that Jesus Christ has declared me righteous. I am thankful that His righteousness has been given to me . His perfect life for mine. God Himself, the second person of the trinity was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He perfectly fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s law. He died a gory death on a cross, was buried for three days and was raised from the dead for the justification of all of those who believe this amazing news. It is these demands of God that condemned me each and every second. I, along with everyone else, have been commanded to love God with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love others as myself. This law had done nothing to offer me life whatsoever. It had only done what it was intended to do – crush me beneath its weight and give strength to my sin. I can’t love God with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength, or love others as myself. It was a law of death to me. I was dead in sin, a corpse clothed in the darkness of my own grave. But then the words of Christ hammered forth from a direction that I was not looking in and caused my bones to become wrapped with sinews and flesh. I could do nothing else but stand in new life.
His voice did not suggest or offer, it gave me no options. It only made me alive. And I had been declared righteous, not because I am righteous, but because of the perfect obedience of Christ on my behalf. Though I have been declared righteous, my flesh still calls to me, “But you have sinned here and there. You haven’t done enough. You have sinned so greatly.” And this causes sorrow for me. And how easy it is to quickly look at the good things I have done to try and justify myself. How effortless it is to feel condemned when the law is reflected upon. I am silenced by the turmoil that churns inside of me and makes my neck hot with stress. But when I am reminded of how great and weighty my sins might be, I am reminded of how much greater Christ is.
Think of how absolutely perfect Jesus is. Think about what kind of worth Christ has, that if we could dare put a price on Him, what it would be. It is completely asinine to even entertain the idea. And yet, that is the price it took for my sin. His blood wasn’t shed in vain. He didn’t do for the man in hell what He has done for me. I am not bragging about my worth. I am bragging about His worth. For Christ to have done for the man in hell what He had done for me would make His blood of no real worth. It would make “me” the difference between the man and hell and me. No. Christ said, “It is finished” because my sin was actually being paid for – my debt against God had just been cancelled. It wasn’t potentially being cancelled. It was finished. In Christ, I am not commanded to do the law. He did it. I am freed to do the law. I can love God and neighbor, knowing that it is because I love God and not because I am piling up my righteousness. Nope. That’s been taken care of.
There are no requirements to this righteousness of Christ. I didn’t have to do any work to receive it. Not even my own faith is a requirement. It is a gift God had given me. Repentance is not a requirement. It is a gift God had given me. God sees all those who believe as being 100% obedient all the time. When I sin, God is not pushed further from me, and when I am obedient, He is not brought closer to me. Christ’s righteous life is literally given to me. God hears my prayers because of Christ – for His sake. If Christ’s blood was shed on my account, and yet I must do good works to gain God’s affection, then for what do I need Christ? The Scriptures are clear that God is pleased simply by the fact that I believe, not how many works I have done while having faith. I still lift my voice and confess my sin, and every time, my voice is overpowered by the words, “It is finished.” And so, I am thankful that my righteousness, if it can even be called that, will not be counted to me when I die.
This being said, James Dobson gives an answer that perhaps many Christians would give when asked about the current condition of our country. Unfortunately, he creates a critical confusion between the law and gospel as many others do. As I watched this clip, I wondered who Dobson was referring to. Who is the “we?” “We” need to remember who “we” are as a nation? “We” need to continue to honor God with the holy living? Dobson appears to be referencing the nation in general – ie. both Christians and non-Christians alike.
Dobson suggests that God would bless unbelievers if they start living holy lives and remember their Christian heritage. It is impossible to please God apart from faith. Not faith that a god exists out there somewhere. Not faith that the God of the Bible is true, but other gods are equally valid. Not faith in the God of the Bible, just so long as I can define Him apart from clear passages of Scripture. No. Faith in the perfect obedience of the biblical Christ, the death of the biblical Christ, the three day burial of the biblical Christ, and His resurrection for believers. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father ruling over the nations. The problem with the USA is not that people are not living in holiness, or that Christians aren’t living holy enough. The issue with the USA, like anywhere else, is that men are dead in sin. They are dead. They are not alive. They may be physically walking and breathing, but spiritually, they are maggot food. Their only hope is to hear the gospel so that Christ might call His sheep out from the crowd.
Nations in the past had been judged by God, because they were wicked nations. Not to sound like Fred Phelps here, but we are a wicked nation too. Every nation is wicked. Of any nation, Israel, up until the death of Christ, was considered a godly nation though Israel was often judged for breaking the covenant God made with them through Moses. Last time I checked, God didn’t replace Israel with another earthly nation when they were destroyed. Israel served its purpose. They were the nation God used to give the law, foretell of Jesus Christ through the law and prophets, and birth Jesus Christ. After Christ ascended to the right hand of God the Father, the kingdom of God came in power. The new physical kingdom many of the Jews expected never came because they misunderstood the Scriptures. Christ told them Himself that “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” [Luke 17:20-21].
Laws are good. I like laws. Laws keep people from killing me. Laws keep people from killing my family members. Laws keep people from stealing from me. Laws keep people from stealing from my family members. Theologically, there are three uses of the law. The first use is that in government so (like I mentioned before) we aren’t killed, etc. The second use is that which strengthens sin and shows me my need of Christ. The third use shows me what a good work is. Can you guess which one will earn me God’s favor, blessings, miracles, etc.? None of them.
See, it’s not just a crazy notion for Dobson to suggest that God would bless this nation because of the morals or “holiness” of unbelievers. It’s crazy to suggest that God would bless believers because of their holiness or good works. If I sound like a broken record about this, I am happy to be a broken record. It is only by the righteousness of Christ that God would ever bless, favor, or perform miracles. I add nothing to that but my sins.