Pristine Grace

How Do We Appear in God's Sight?
by Bill Parker

     Proud, unbelieving men work hard to have an appearance of righteousness, holiness, and piety before men, but the vital issue of eternal life is how we appear before God. Christ rebuked the Pharisees over this issue – “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Matt. 23:27-28). They appeared righteous before men, but it was only an outward show. God judges according to truth, not outward show. God looks on the heart. Rest assured that if a sinner appears righteous unto God, that sinner is truly righteous in God’s sight. It is neither a fake, pretend, nor merely outward righteousness. How, then, is it possible that a SINNER could truly appear righteous IN GOD’S SIGHT?  The only way of righteousness before God is not by our works but only by God’s grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Like Noah, the only way for a sinner to be found righteous in God’s sight is to find “grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen. 6:8). And God’s grace reigns  “through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21). This is the righteousness of God we find only in Christ. As Christ was “made sin for us” (our sins imputed, accounted, charged to Him), we are “made the righteousness of God IN HIM” (His righteousness imputed, accounted, charged to us)  (2 Cor. 5:21). This is not a pretend righteousness but one that stands the test of God’s holy law and justice as we stand before Him in Christ (Rom. 8:31-34; Php. 3:7-10). As the result of this work of Christ for us, God’s people are given by the Holy Spirit, in the new birth, the reality of the power of spiritual life and faith from and in the Lord Jesus Christ. As our righteousness in Christ is not merely an outward show, our faith is not merely an outward profession. It is true heart faith in Christ as the Lord our Righteousness. Paul wrote of this as the “circumcision of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not men, but of God” (Rom. 2:29). We who are made the righteousness of God in Christ are also born again by the Holy Spirit, and we glory NOT in appearance, but in heart  (2 Cor. 5:12). This means we truly and sincerely glory in Christ from the new heart. This is how we appear IN GOD’S SIGHT. We who are righteous in Christ have spiritual life by which we glory in Christ and stand BEFORE GOD AS RIGHTEOUS.