“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
So how can we become righteous and be saved?
Jesus Christ gives His perfect righteousness as a free gift to all who believe in Him (Romans 3:21–22). If you stop trusting in your own righteousness, religiosity and good works, and if you trust and rely on Jesus Christ alone to save you, then His perfect obedience and righteousness will be counted as yours, and you will become a child of God (Galatians 2:16).
Learn more by reading my article (English) called Declared Righteous below.
If you understand Cebuano, I encourage you to watch my video teaching on justification.
“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)
Justification is the act of God in counting or declaring a person to be “not guilty” and “righteous.” How can a person be counted or declared “not guilty” and “righteous” in God’s court?
God requires perfect righteousness for us to be saved from hell and for us to be accepted as His children and heirs.
God is our Creator and King. He is infinitely righteous and holy. And He demands from us perfect righteousness. Specifically, He demands perfect obedience to His holy laws, threatens severe and eternal punishment for disobedience and offers eternal life and happiness for obedience.
We all fail to achieve perfect righteousness before God.
Adam failed to perfectly obey God’s law. He sinned against God. And as our head and representative, we are all charged with his guilt and have all become subject to God’s eternal condemnation and wrath. Moreover, we all inherit the total corruption of human nature that came upon Adam when he sinned. Thus, all human beings are born guilty before God and totally sinful and depraved in nature. Thus, we all sin in heart, mind, words and actions all our lives. Thus, we are all guilty and are all bound to suffer God’s eternal condemnation and wrath in hell.
Through the ministry of Moses, God gave us His laws – His holy commands, His threat of temporal and eternal punishment for disobedience and His promise of blessing and eternal life for obedience. Many people believe that we are saved by obeying the law. But the Bible teaches (and our human experience confirms this) that no human being is able to meet the demands of God’s laws perfectly and consistently. Therefore, Paul tells us in this verse that “a person is not justified by works of the law… by works of the law no one will be justified.”
So how can a man be “justified” before God?
Jesus Christ gives His perfect righteousness as a free gift to all who believe in Him.
God, in His great mercy and grace, sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to provide for our justification. All His life on earth, Christ perfectly and consistently obeyed all of God’s holy laws. He was tempted in every way and yet He never once sinned. And on the cross He suffered the penalty for man’s sin, which is demanded by God’s holy law. He satisfied God’s justice and earned forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life for His people. Therefore, all who put their trust solely on Him for salvation are justified before God. Christ’s perfect satisfaction, obedience and righteousness are counted as theirs. And they are adopted as children of God.
This is what Paul means when says that “a person is… justified… through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ.”
Stop trusting in your own righteousness, religiosity and good works. Trust and rely on Jesus Christ alone to save you. If you will, Christ’s perfect satisfaction, obedience and righteousness will be counted as yours in God’s court. And you will become a child of God.
May the Lord give you grace to make the shift.