Facts Every Man Ought to Know

by D. M. Panton

1.  All man have got to meet God as a Judge.  "God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because He hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world" (Acts 17:30): for "all the world [shall] be brought under the judgment of God" (Rom. 3:19).  This judgment will be conducted by strict process of law, based on the acts of every soul, acts recorded with unerring precision in the books of God.  "I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened; . . . and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works" (Rev. 20:12).  Nor can any man avoid this judgment.  "Reckonest thou this, O man, . . . that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" (Rom. 2:3).

2.  The Judge will adjudicate exactly according to the evidence.  It is impossible for a just judge to clear a guilty man, or to condemn a man who has obeyed the law.  "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condeneth the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord" (Prov. 17:15).  Of this abomination God, of all judges, will not be guilty: and He says so.  "The Lord [is] a God. . . that will by no means clear the guilty" (Ex. 34:7): "He will not at all acquit the wicked" (Nah. 1:3).  He is a Judge of absolute righteousness.  "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25): "for He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth" (Ps. 96:13): "at the revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render unto every man according to His works" (Rom. 2:5).  The records will decide the sentences.

3.  A man must be able to present to the Judge a perfect righteousness.  "Not the hearers of a law are accounted righteous before God, but the doers of a law shall be justified" (Rom. 2:13).  What does this mean?  That it is not enough to be forgiven for having broken the Law: if I am to be saved, I must be proved to have kept it: the soul must be proved, not only innocent, but righteous.  "Cursed is every one which continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them" (Gal. 3:10).  The only righteousness which any judge - much more the Righteous Judge - can accept is a complete, flawless, life-long obedience to the whole Law: less than this involves the Curse of a broken Law.  One sin snaps the chain, one disobedience shatters the vase that holds eternal life.  "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all" (James 2:10).  Law can justify only those who have kept it in its entirety.

4.  No man has such a righteousness to present.  With the Searcher of all hearts as Judge, my conscience as accuser, my life as evidence, and the secrets of my heart as witnesses, what is the finding of the just Judge?  "All under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no not one" (Rom. 3:9).  I am found guilty: "not having a righteousness of mine own" (Phil. 3:9); for "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6).  But Himself cannot save a soul against law: every man is lost.

5.  A perfect righteousness has been provided.  What is it?  "The righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:1).  Christ obeyed the whole Law.  Matt. 5:17.  John 8:29.  His righteousness is the righteousness of a Man: it is a righteousness according to Law: it is the righteousness whereby alone the Law's prisoner is justified.  "A man is not justified by works of law, except through faith in Jesus Christ; . . . because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2:16).  Here is a paradox.  A man is not justified by works of law, except: He is, and he is not: what does it mean?  This.  I am not justified by works of law wrought by myself: I am justified by works of law wrought by Christ.  What I did not do, He did: what I was not, He was: and if "in Christ," I am "found" - not guilty, but, "in Him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:9).  In Christ, His righteousness is mine: for "through the obedience of the One shall the many be made righteous" (Rom. 5:19), "unto whom God reckoneth righteousness apart from works" (Rom. 4:6).

6.  This perfect righteousness may become any man's.  "The righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus [is] unto all" (Rom. 3:22).  To refuse it is to be lost: even as Israel, "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth" (Rom. 10:3).  Christ is offered to all.  John 3:16; 10:9; 1 Tim. 2:4; 1 John 2:2; Rev. 22:17.  "God in Nature is God above us; God in Providence is God beyond us; God in Law is God against us: but God in Christ is God for us, with us, and in us."

7.  This righteousness becomes any man's simply on faith.  Christ wove; I wear: Christ obeyed; I believe: Christ gives; I take.  "The righteousness which is through faith in Christ," - "the righteousness which is from God [as a gift] upon [the shoulders of] faith" (Phil. 3:9): "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" (Rom. 3:22).  Christ wove the flawless robe He bore it up from the wardrobe of His grave (John 16:10): He clothes me in it the moment I believe: - The Law is vindicated, the Judge is satisfied, the angels rejoice, and one more soul passes into everlasting life.  Isa. 61:10.  Rom. 3:26, 31.

Facts  Every Man ought to Know.