Apart from Christ we have no merit, no righteousness. Our sinfulness, our weakness, our human imperfections make it impossible that we should appear before God, unless we are clothed in Christ’s spotless righteousness.
Christ, Our Righteousness
Ellen White “answers” our questions on the topic.
By Ellen G. White
What does it mean to say Christ is our righteousness?
Apart from Christ we have no merit, no righteousness. Our sinfulness, our weakness, our human imperfections make it impossible that we should appear before God, unless we are clothed in Christ’s spotless righteousness. We are to be found in Him, not having our own righteousness, but the righteousness which is through Christ. . . .
Christ is called “the Lord our righteousness,” and through faith, each one should be able to say, “The Lord my righteousness.” . . . No works that the sinner can do will be efficacious in saving his soul. Obedience was always due to the Creator; for He endowed man with attributes for his service. God requires good works from man always; but good works cannot avail to earn salvation. It is impossible for man to save himself.
That sounds pretty bleak.
There is hope for every one; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [John 3:16]
. . . .When faith lays hold upon this gift of God, the praise of God will be upon our lips, and we shall be able to say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Then we shall be able to tell the lost concerning the plan of salvation, that while the world was lying under the curse of the law, meriting death, the Lord presented terms of mercy to the fallen and hopeless sinner, and brought out the meaning and value of His grace. Grace is unmerited favor.
But how does Christ take our place?
In his humanity Christ was tried with as much greater temptation, with as much more persevering energy than man is tried by the evil one, as his nature was greater than man’s. This is a deep mysterious truth, that Christ is bound to humanity by the most sensitive sympathies. The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon His divine soul. . . .
The work of Christ upon earth was to seek and save that which was lost. Ever before Him, He saw the result of His mission, although the baptism of blood must first be received, although the weight of sins of the world was to gather upon His innocent soul, although the shadow of an unspeakable woe was ever over Him; yet for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross and despised the shame. He endured all this that sinful man might be saved, that he might be elevated and ennobled, and have a place with Him upon His throne.
Does that mean “once saved, always saved”?
If the love of God is not appreciated, and does not become an abiding principle in the hard heart to soften and subdue the soul, we are utterly lost. The Lord has no reserve power with which to influence man. He can give no greater manifestation of His love than that which He has given. Heaven’s richest gift has been freely offered for your acceptance. If the exhibition of the love of Jesus does not melt and subdue your heart, by what means can you be reached? Has the love of Christ failed to bring forth an earnest response of love and gratitude? . . . Let not Christ say of you, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” . . .
It is impossible for man to save himself. He may deceive himself in regard to this matter; but he cannot save himself. Christ’s righteousness alone can avail for his salvation, and this is the gift of God. . . . Let faith take hold of Christ without delay, and you will be a new creature in Jesus, a light to the world.
This dialogue is arranged from the article “Christ Our Hope,” published in Review and Herald, December 20, 1892. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.