Part 4 - "A Better Hope"
Why faith? Because "the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by the which we draw nigh unto God" (Hebrews 7:19).
There are really only two ways humanity can seek to approach God. First, we must be spiritually and morally perfect from the moment of our conception and eternally thereafter. A perfect God cannot lower His standards to accept or relate to imperfect beings who seek to approach Him by their own merits and efforts. "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you… "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil" (Isaiah 59:2; Habbakuk 1:13). No sinner has ever drawn near to God by such futility, again, because by Scriptural definition, Perfection cannot receive even a hint of imperfection.
The other way to approach God involves He who declared, "I am the way" (John 14:6). The Lord Jesus Christ offers His imputed and imparted righteousness to all who will come to Him by faith.
"Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us… righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30).
"God 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).
To those willing to humble themselves and end their vain attempt to justify themselves by God's moral code (or any other), the Lord Jesus enrobes with His pristine spiritual and moral perfection. Believers are united to the Spirit of the Lord Jesus to the degree that we are "hid with God in Christ" (Colossians 3:3). When our Father sees us, He sees first the robe of righteousness we wear as a free gift purchased for us by our Savior. We could not buy such a garment by our own efforts. We rather receive it as a gift. Why faith? Because faith is reception. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12). God must do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. Faith acknowledges His ability and our inability, affirming with the hymnwriter, "Nothing in my hands I bring, only to Thy cross I cling!" Or more importantly, we affirm with the Apostle Paul, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God" (Romans 5:1).
Perfection achieved, or perfection received. We either attain to our own righteousness, an impossibility, or we access the grace of the Lord Jesus by having His righteousness imputed to us as the freest gift ever given. Every religious philosophy or movement other than Biblical Christianity offers the former way of futility, that is, of seeking to approach a perfect God by our woefully imperfect efforts. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus alone provides justification according to God's standard. Only the "better hope" of a Savior crucified, resurrected, and ascended to Heaven as the life-giving Christ offers the robe of righteousness worn by all who humble themselves to receive the free gift of saving grace in the Lord Jesus. Why faith? Because no other hope of righteousness exists.
"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Weekly Memory Verse
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."