The heart of the gospel is that there is a way to obtain the righteousness of God apart from the law and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. There is only one way we can be accepted before God, and that is by having Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. Is that your hope?
This excerpt was taken from the full sermon, “The Breastplate of Righteousness (Part 1)“.
Now here is the heart of the Gospel. In the Gospel, this is what’s revealed: That there is a way to attain the righteousness of God for yourself – not by the law. Oh, that is good news! Because we can’t get there by the law. Do you see that? The law of God. The law! You know what that is. That’s God saying, “Thou shalt…” “Thou shalt not…” That law – it comes face-to-face with the rebellion of man.
And you know what the result always is? Condemnation. Hell. You get hell. That’s this world. You see, people don’t recognize they’re walking around in this world. They’re objects of God’s wrath. They are under the wrath of God. Why? Because they’ve broken His law. And you know what? If you ask them: “Yeah, we’re pretty good people.” You know what they’re doing? You know every single person in this world that will tell you that they’re a good person, you know what they’re doing? They’re putting their confidence in a righteousness which is by the law.
But you’re cursed if you haven’t done everything written in the Book of the Law. That’s the problem. Nobody gets right with God through the performance of the law, and that’s what verse 20 says. On that basis, no one can be justified. What’s that? Justified. That means: it’s one or the other. It’s justification or condemnation. You know what this is? This is legal terminology. You stand in God’s courtroom. You’re justified if you’re found not guilty. If you are found guilty of any crime, you’re condemned. You come face-to-face with the law, and you know what the law says to all mankind? Condemned. You’re undone. This is not the way to God. You better find another way.
So, this major turning point. This is called the righteousness of God because it’s the righteousness that He demands. It’s His standard. This is God’s divine requirement of righteousness for us. If you have any hope of standing before God on judgment day and God saying, “Well done,” or God saying, “You’re just,” or God saying, “You’re righteous,” or God saying, “Come in…” “Come into the Kingdom prepared for you,” if you want to be accepted by God, you will only be accepted one way on one condition, and that is that you yourself have this righteousness of God to your account. If you don’t have it, you’re undone. You will die the death of that eternal fire forever. And there’s no exception. There’s only one way to God and it’s not through the law. That is the beauty and the truth of what is being set forth right here.
You have to recognize what this is saying. We might have achieved the righteousness of God by way of the law if any had actually kept it. But you see, you see what it says. “Every mouth may be stopped…” v. 19. Have you ever heard somebody – I’ve heard this – “Oh, when I get there on judgment day, I’m going to say to God…” You know what? That verse tells me nobody’s saying anything. The mouth is going to be stopped. To come into the presence of this holy God, men are going to recognize immediately: we are in trouble. Their sins are going to stare them in the face. What you find right here is there is a path to righteousness apart from the law. It’s possible. This is the thing. It is possible to receive a perfect righteous standing that is not through the works of the law, but a righteousness that is for you if you believe in Jesus Christ.