My righteousness … or His

Vol. 4, No. 7 

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own . . . –Philippians 3:8-9

It is not an exceptionally long flight – from Salt Lake UT to Albany NY, but there was plenty of time to discuss with a member of the Mormon Church the underpinnings of his belief – he vested his righteousness in the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. Since he felt his righteousness depended upon what he believed through his church, he was not interested in what the Bible had to say about righteousness.

He said that he had a good family, his church (stake), activities, and missionary endeavors;  his financial giving proved his righteousness.

The question: “How good do I have to be to go to Heaven?” is a popular question – and many interject their own presuppositions (read opinions).  

I was traveling with a seminary professor on this trip, and the Mormon gentleman sat between us. When one of us spoke, the other prayed.

So, I could not help myself, I asked the question: “How good must a good Mormon be to go to Heaven?

He made some comments; but I remember qualifying the question:

  1. Who determines your qualifying goodness?
  2. If God determines it, what is it essentially?
  3. How can a man tie up with Jesus Christ and so share His goodness (righteousness) and be made fit for heaven?

You see, there is a problem. Humankind wants to have their own way. Biblically it is called self-righteousness. So, people offer their own goodness based on their presuppositions of character. And because there is a “little” good in every person, the work is to restrain whatever evil might tender its presence. Attainable in the mind of the self-righteous. Thus, it is up to us to fit ourselves for the presence of God.

Piece of cake! Right? No!

God must have His way. God has provided a goodness that will fit us for heaven. Read about it in His Word. It is called “imputed righteousness” (imputed goodness). A simple word, imputed; it just means charge to my account. Who deposits this – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ became what He was, not sinful, so that I might become what I was not (righteous). All God’s righteousness is vested in Christ, and that now, in turn, is placed in my account. How long is His righteousness imputed to my account? Forever! For all of eternity.

What a deal!

God has made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him  –2 Corinthians 5:21

In Christ’s righteousness you can be good enough for heaven!/

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

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