"The just shall live by faith… Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:17; 5:1).
The just live by faith because they were enlivened and justified by the faith whereby we receive God's redeeming grace in Christ. Indeed, to be "just" in our Lord's spiritual economy means that we have been "justified." We cannot make ourselves righteous in His sight and determination because His standard far exceeds our spiritual and moral capacities. "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). Thus, since we cannot stitch together our own robe of righteousness, our Heavenly Father enrobes us with the righteousness of the His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us… righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30).
The hymn writer Isaac Watts beautifully portrays this breathtakingly wondrous bestowal of grace.
"And lest the shadow of a spot should on my soul be found, He took the robe the Savior wrought, and cast it all around!" (From "Awake My Heart, Arise My Tongue", published 1707).
Watts' sublime and poetic depiction of the enrobing of grace made possible through Christ sings to us of the justification whereby God views His trusting children as "in Christ" (I Corinthians 1:30). He sees the robe, as it were, the garment once ripped from the Lord Jesus in order that He might be adorned with our stained and mangled cloak of sin. "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21). The Lamb of God wore our robe in order that we might wear His, and "by Him all that believe are justified from all things" (Acts 13:39).
We may not always act as if we are justified and thus just, but in Christ, God deems that we always are. In fact, believers are so enrobed with our Lord's righteousness that "blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Romans 4:8). To the degree Christ bore our sin, we wear His righteousness. Yes indeed, a "breathtakingly wondrous bestowal of grace," and one that calls and motivates us to respond in the most heartfelt determination to live as justified and just…
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him."
Weekly Memory Verse
And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, that as ye have heard from the beginning, so ye should walk in it."
(II John 1:6).