“We must unite with Christ. There is a reservoir of power at our command, and we are not to remain in the dark, cold, sunless cave of unbelief, or we shall not catch the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. “ – Review and Herald, Jan. 24, 1893.
“We must rise above the frosty atmosphere in which we have hitherto lived, and with which Satan would surround our souls, and breathe in the hallowed atmosphere of heaven.” – Review and Herald, May 6, 1890.
The whole story of redemption and restoration is clearly set forth in the following beautiful statement by the pen of inspiration:
“Through Christ, restoration as well as reconciliation is provided for man. The gulf that was made by sin has been spanned by the cross of Calvary. A full, complete ransom has been paid by Jesus, by virtue of which the sinner is pardoned, and the justice of the law is maintained. All who believe that Christ is the atoning sacrifice may come and receive pardon for their sins; for through the merit of Christ communication has been opened between God and man. God can accept me as His child, and I can claim Him and rejoice in Him as my loving Father. We must centre our hopes of heaven upon Christ alone, because He is our substitute and surety. We have transgressed the law of God, and by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. The best efforts that man in his own strength can make, are valueless to meet the holy and just law that he has transgressed; but through faith in Christ he may claim the righteousness of the Son of God as all-sufficient. Christ satisfied the demands of the law in His human nature. He bore the curse of the law for the sinner, made an atonement for him, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ, and the sinner is made an overcomer with Christ; for he is made a partaker of the divine nature, and thus divinity and humanity are combined. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. Man cannot be saved without obedience, but his works should not be of himself; Christ should work in him to will and to do of His good pleasure.” – Review and Herald,July 1, 1890.
Let us carefully review this message which unfolds to the human mind the sublimest facts of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:
1. Restoration full and complete is provided for sinners. The atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross not only made our reconciliation with God possible, but it also made possible, for every sinner who may choose to accept the offer, restoration to Adam's glorious standing before he sinned.
2. The great gulf made by sin, that separates us so far from God and heaven, has been spanned by the cross of Calvary. What cause for praise and adoration!
3. The great problem of pardoning the sinner and at the same time maintaining the justice of God's holy law has been solved. Christ became our substitute. He took our place, and thus ransomed us from condemnation and death.
4. By His atoning sacrifice, Christ opened communication between God and poor, sinful lost man, so that we can now come to Him and receive pardon, cleansing, and salvation from all sin.
5. Because Christ alone became our substitute and surety, all our hopes centre in Him. There is no other name, no other way.
6. Because of man's transgression of the law, no flesh can ever be justified by the deeds of the law. But through faith in Christ, man may claim the righteousness of Christ as all-sufficient.
7. By appropriating the righteousness of Christ by faith, we are made overcomers with Christ, and thus become partakers of the divine nature.
8. In trying to reach heaven by the works of the law, we are attempting an utter impossibility.
9. While we cannot be saved without obedience, that obedience cannot be of ourselves. It must be Christ's obedience working in and through us, causing us to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Imputed, Then Imparted Righteousness
Righteousness by Faith, in all its meaning, is comprehended in the following definition:
“The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed. The righteousness by which we are sanctifiedis imparted. The first is our title to heaven; the second is our fitness for heaven.” – Review and Herald, June 4, 1895.
Imputed righteousness, by which man is justified from guilt, is the foundation upon which imparted righteousness is bestowed, which sanctifies the life conduct, and provides “our fitness for heaven.” As to the operation of these living principles, we quote as follows:
“Christ has become our sacrifice and surety. He has become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Through faith in His name, He imputes unto us His righteousness, and it becomes a living principle in our life.” – Review and Herald, July 12, 1892.
“No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven." – The Desire of Ages," p. 555.
“Christ imputes to us His sinless character, and presents us to the Father in His own purity. There are many who think that it is impossible to escape from the power of sin, but the promise is that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. We aim too low. The mark is much higher.” – Review and Herald, July 12, 1892.
“Jesus is our great High Priest in heaven. And what is He doing? He is making intercession and atonement for His people who believe in Him. Through His imputed righteousness, they are accepted of God as those who are manifesting to the world that they acknowledge allegiance to God, keeping all His commandments.” – Review and Herald, Aug. 22, 1893.
“In the religion of Christ there is a regenerating influence that transforms the entire being, lifting man above every debasing, grovelling vice, and raising the thoughts and desires toward God and heaven. Linked to the Infinite One, man is made partaker of the divine nature. Upon him the shafts of evil have no effect; for he is clothed with the panoply of Christ's righteousness." – Counsels to Teachers, pp. 51, 52.
"When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ, becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies, is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world.
"It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defence against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end." – The Desire of Ages, pp. 323,324.
The Outward Evidence of the Indwelling Righteousness
“Righteousness within is testified to by righteousness without. He who is righteous within is not hardhearted and unsympathetic, but day by day he grows into the image of Christ, going on from strength to strength. He who is being sanctified by the truth will be self-controlled, and will follow in the footsteps of Christ until grace is lost in glory." – Review and Herald, June 4, 1895.
“When we accept Christ, good words will appear as fruitful evidence that we are in the way of life, that Christ is our way, and that we are treading the true path that leads to heaven." – Review and Herald, Nov. 4, 1890.
“When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin; for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the sufferings of the Son of God.” – Review and Herald, March 18, 1890.
"When Christ is in the heart, it will be so softened and subdued by love for God and man that fretting, faultfinding, and contention will not exist there. The religion of Christ in the heart will gain for its possessor a complete victory over those passions that are seeking for the mastery." – Testimonies, Vol. IV, p. 610.
“When a man is converted to God, a new moral taste is created; and he loves the things that God loves; for his life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises, to the life of Jesus. His heart is drawn out after God. His prayer is, 'Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.' In the immutable standard he sees the character of the Redeemer, and knows that though he has sinned, he is not to be saved in his sins, but from his sins; for Jesus is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." – Review and Herald, June 12, 1892.
Thus it is clear that “man cannot be saved without obedience, but his works should not be of himself; Christ should work in him to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Christ becomes not only the "author," but the "finisher" of our faith.
"As we near the close of time, the current of evil will set more and more decidedly toward perdition. We can be safe only as we hold firmly to the hand of Jesus, constantly looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is our mighty helper." – Review and Herald, Oct. 7, 1890.
Wearing the Spotless Robe of Righteousness
Although the righteousness of Christ is freely offered, and provides restoration full and complete for the sinner; yet we are told that some "do not appropriate the righteousness of Christ; it is a robe unworn by them, a fullness unknown, a fountain untouched." How can there be such failure to accept and appropriate this greatest of all gifts, when –
"Only those who are clothed in the garments of His righteousness will be able to endure the glory of His presence when He shall appear with 'power and great glory' "? – Review and Herald, July 9, 1908.
"On Christ's coronation day, He will not acknowledge as His any who wear spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But to His faithful ones He will give crowns of immortal glory. Those who would not that He should reign over them will see Him surrounded by the army of the redeemed, each of whom bears the sign, 'THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.' – Review and Herald, Nov. 24, 1904.