This is Not Too Good To Be True

All who who are united with Jesus Christ, are accepted and beloved without degree or level.

And for you who are united with Christ Jesus, there is nothing you can do to affect your standing. You cannot get closer to God. You cannot find yourself further from God. Your affections, thoughts, words, and deeds have zero effect on your position, for it is no longer “my righteousness” that matters but “My Righteousness” who is always mediating, representing, interceding, and priesting before the throne of God above. This is good news. This is the Gospel, and it is not too good to be true.

 

This morning, I met with a friend at a local coffee shop. During our conversation, he encouraged me with a quote from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan’s words so warmed my soul, I thought they might do the same for you. They have been altered to carry forth the thought in today’s verbiage:

After becoming united with Christ, as I was walking down life’s road, my conscience was soothed yet still troubled. It was at this point that I was caused to mediate upon the phrase, “My righteousness is in heaven.”

I then was aided by God’s Holy Spirit, and I imagined with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ sitting in heaven. There he was, Jesus Christ, My Righteousness, sitting at God’s right hand.

It mattered not what I did; there he was, My Righteousness, constantly before the throne of God.

The Judge could not say about me, “He lacks my righteousness,” for there he was, My Righteousness, sitting next to him.

And I realized that nothing I could think or do could make my righteousness better; it could not be improved. There he was, My Righteousness, sitting permanently and immutably upon his heavenly throne.

I also recognized that my bad affections, thoughts, words, and actions could not make my righteousness worse. For Jesus, as My Righteousness, was perfect, finished, and infinite. There he was, My Righteousness, sitting in my stead, and there he would remain unchanged, for he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Adapted from John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress)

According to Jesus, all men are either:

  • Against him or for him
  • Children of Lucifer or Children of the Lord
  • Goats or Sheep
  • Tares or Wheat
  • Lost or Found
  • Condemned or Condemned Not
  • Sinful Satanists or Sinful Saints

And all men who are united with Jesus Christ, are accepted and beloved without degree or level. Unlike the educational system, in God’s family there are no grade levels to master. Unlike the martial arts, there are no belts or degrees. Unlike the military, there is no distinguishing rank or pecking order. Men are either out or in. Men are either unredeemed or redeemed. Men are either consider unholy or holy. Men are viewed in light of “my righteousness” which is pitiful and damnable or “My Righteousness” who is perfect and unwavering.

This means, for all who are not united with Jesus Christ, all is hopeless for you. Abandon you illogical atheism. Abandon your foolish agnosticism. Abandon your piety, religion, and morality. There is a God. He is really knowable. He has a Law, and you are lawless and damned. For you, “my righteousness” is horrid and only hell awaits you following your death. Come to Christ and call him, “My Righteousness.”

And for you who are united with Christ Jesus, there is nothing you can do to affect your standing. You cannot get closer to God. You cannot find yourself further from God. Your affections, thoughts, words, and deeds have zero effect on your position, for it is no longer “my righteousness” that matters but “My Righteousness” who is always mediating, representing, interceding, and priesting before the throne of God above. This is good news. This is the Gospel, and it is not too good to be true.

Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina.  This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.