We cannot earn righteousness; no one deserves it. It is a gift. Isaiah 64:6 declares: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Man has a need for morality and justice. We cannot fulfill this need ourselves, but God, by grace and goodness, allows us to receive what we can not earn.
Romans 3:22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Righteousness is an unmerited favor we can only receive from God.
My scripture study following up the sermon makes me say that Isaiah 64:6 should not be read to say that man should not strive to do good works. God is pleased with good deeds and when we help one another. As noted in Isaiah 64:5: “You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved?”
What is the answer to that question? The response is 'we are saved through faith' as noted in the New Testament passages above and more, such as Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Christ’s blood covers our sin and yet we continue to sin. We cannot perform enough good works to outweigh our sins. As believers who have accepted Christ to rule in our hearts and lives, we hold onto the promise that our filthy robes will be replaced by His pure covering through His sacrifice. As our Sunday School teacher noted at the conclusion of our lesson this morning: “We continue to struggle with sin because our salvation will not be complete until His [Christ’s] return.”
(All scripture references are NIV.)
I think this song fits this message perfectly.
Lord, I Need You by Matt MaherVerse for Today:
Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9not by works, so that no one can boast.
10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Christ, I believe and accept You as Lord of my life. I thank you for giving me the unmerited gifts of salvation and righteousness. Although I am saved by faith, let me be mindful to do good works, as directed by You, to show Your Love and glory in this life.