Righteousness on Judgement Day
When people are asked, "When you die, are you going to Heaven and why?" The answers usually go anywhere from "I try to be good," or "I haven't killed anyone," to "I obey the commandments," and to "I believe in God." All these answers reflect the opinion, that on judgment day, God will judge us on how good we are, how holy we lived or upon our righteousness. That is reflected in many people's lives by how they live. Some, for example, attend daily mass and receive sacraments often, doing so for this very reason, as their church teaches, "The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." Of course, the idea behind this is simply that the more one participates in these, the more often they merit grace. It should be noted that Biblically speaking, Jesus did institute the sacraments, both of them, but they were NOT to dispense divine life for us, for that was accomplished at Calvary by His shed blood. While others may believe in different religions, the reasoning behind most religions are reflected by the same types of replies as expressed above, including when they say, "I believe in God," in which ultimately reflects the idea that their God will see how well, or how righteous they are. Often, too, this can be seen in people's attitudes when attempting to describe someone by identifying them as "he was (or is) good person." But what does the Bible say about righteousness and how we are judged on Judgment Day?
God's word tells a completely different story. We are not judged upon how good we lived, nor how righteous we are. For the Bible says "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.... For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:10,23) And it also says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law." (James 2:10,11) Furthermore, the Bible adds concerning our righteousness, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6) Elsewhere, concerning anyone's attempts to achieve righteousness and using Israel as an example, it says, "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law....For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. " (Romans 9:31,32 and 10:2,3) Paul also adds in several other places, "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: " (Philippians 3:9) "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us...." (Titus 3:5).
Do you see the difference? In the first paragraph, the people expressed that they would be judged upon their righteousness. The second paragraph, we see that the Bible tells a different story, "... that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Romans 3:28) "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
The difference explained - "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 Jesus died at Calvary, nearly two thousand years ago, He said, "It is finished!" (John 19:30) He did what was needed to atone for sin. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21). As Paul explains, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." (Romans 4:5,6) Whose righteousness? Not ours, but rather Jesus' righteousness imputed to whosoever believes. (See also 1 Corinthians 1:30 and Romans 4:20 to 5:1)
The Choice: Referred to as "The Gospel of Grace" in Acts 20:24, it is clear that we can trust in what Jesus did, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9) accept His Gift, and stand before the Father on judgment day clothed in Christ's righteousness, or we can stand before God based upon our righteousness and efforts, supposedly attained by mass and sacraments? But Scripture doesn't allow both as by definition, the Biblical definition of grace means - "Favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that same person deserves." And as so clearly stated in the Bible - "... if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:6) Any attempt to rationalize that God, by grace, gave us a system of works is purely a teaching of man's efforts to justify himself and a contradiction by definition.
In closing, Gospel-Light Ministries asks you upon who's righteousness are you counting upon? Christ's imputed righteousness attained by faith in what Jesus accomplished at Calvary, or your righteousness and the righteousness that you've been able to merit in your lifetime by what you accomplished or did? For those that feel we are judged upon our righteousness, the Bible gives us a sobering example in Matthew 7:21-23. Check it out!