Our Right Standing with God is the One Standing at God’s Right Hand
As I have taught on the doctrine of justification these past weeks, my heart has been strangely and powerfully moved. I have felt, even if only in glimpses, the power of biblical truth to transform the heart and impact the emotions. I was encouraged to read in John Bunyan’s autobiography that this is not a unique experience in the heart when the mind is gripped by the truth of this doctrine! I have included his account of this encounter with the doctrine of justification below, followed by a brief journal entry I wrote after first reading it:
One day as I was passing into the field … this sentence fell upon my soul: Thy righteousness is in heaven. And methought I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, “he lacks my righteousness,” for that was in front of him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, “The same yesterday, today, and forever.” … Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that from that time those dreadful scriptures of God [e.g., Hebrews 12:16-17] left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.
May the Spirit open my eyes through the Scriptures to see this vision of the unchanging Christ as my Righteousness – my substitute sin bearer and my substitute obedience provider! It is an overwhelming truth – what God requires Christ provides. He pays my penalty and performs my obedience. He takes the burden of my transgressions and gives me the free gift of His righteousness. When I trust in the sufficiency and efficacy of who He is for me and what He has done, I am united to Him through that faith and the Father is pleased to no longer count me sins against me but rather to reckon His Son’s obedience to my account. On the basis of this great exchange, I hear the Father’s verdict over my life: “justified – you owe no further penalty and you lack no further righteousness! You are in My Son, My perfect One, and I confer upon you His status, for His sake!” Hearing this Last Day verdict brought forward into time through the doctrine of justification will truly cause my chains to fall off, my afflictions to be loosed, my temptations to flee away, and my heart to overflow with rejoicing in the grace and love of God! My right standing with God is the One standing at God’s right hand!