by Pastor Scott Godinez
“WE WON!” Perhaps the two greatest words any sports fan might cheer. Even more so if its the biggest game of the season. Your team has just won it all and in your joy you cry out “we won! We won! We wonnnn!!!”
But let’s be real for a moment, they won, you’re simply sharing a mutual goal. Apart from joining in loud cheers and wearing matching jerseys, most sports fans have little influence on the outcome of a game (unless you’re John Green or Steve Bartman!).
Yet every season, sports fans the world over, cheer and chant their shared “victories”. But what if it actually worked like that? Just for a moment imagine with me, you’re sitting at home watching the Broncos win their 4th Super Bowl and you cry out “we won!!” Then a few weeks later you get a Super Bowl ring in the mail.
Wouldn’t that be awesome! Sadly, that dream is unlikely to come true anytime soon and I’m not referring to the future of the Broncos offense.
Fans don’t actually win anything, because they didn’t participate in the competition. It makes no sense for the viewer at home to feel justified in earning something they contributed nothing toward. There is almost nothing in the world that gives such a prize to such little effort.
There is in fact one prize greater than any bowl, medal, or trophy. A prize that spans the breadth of eternity. A prize that can never tarnish, rust or be stolen away.
The righteousness of Christ!
There is a fancy phrase used by bible scholars to describe what I am about to explain to you: Imputed Righteousness.
To truly understand this theological principle is to invite the greatest assurance of your salvation and comfort-filled truth into your heart. It’s neither a secret to unlock nor a hidden mystery, God wants you to taste and see his goodness as he reveals it across several verses.
God imputes the righteousness of Jesus to us. In its simplest form it means that we have been given the righteousness of Jesus. But we must dig deeper than that for even greater reward!
Endeavor with me as I unpack why I believe this to be one of the most encouraging doctrines of our faith.
Imagine you’re back in school about to take your final exam, and instead of receiving a test to prove your merit, the teacher hands you your updated report card showing every assignment graded with a perfect score including the future test you have yet to take and you notice that you now have perfect scores for every past grade level as well.
Now substitute “grades” with “perfect obedience to God” and you begin to see how incredible it is that God has given us this gift. By believing in Jesus (Phil. 3:9) we gain access to this imputed righteousness, this gifted “perfect rightness” from Jesus to us so that God can legally declare us worthy. And it doesn’t just stop there, what about our righteousness? It didn’t just disappear, there was an exchange made. Jesus takes on our sinfulness and he pays the penalty for it with his death.
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -2 Corinthians 5:21
Do not miss the depth of Jesus’ love here. When we declare Jesus as worthy of our praise think on this: Jesus exchanged his perfect righteousness for your broken sinfulness, so you would have heaven and he would have the cross. This divine transfer paid our debt in full when Jesus declared “it is finished!”
The only thing we contribute to Jesus’ victory is the sin that demands his sacrifice. Yet we rejoice in the cross as our hope because in that moment, God thinks of Jesus’ righteousness as our belonging to us..
It is imperative that it happens this way. How else can Paul promise us in Romans 8:1, that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”? It is because God has reckoned the righteousness of Christ to us! (Rom. 4:3, 6) We are not worthy on our own merit or accomplishment but instead we are justified by the cross of Calvary!
Oh I hope you can see it, you have victory over the penalty of sin because of the triumph of Jesus our Lord! In the Salvation Super Bowl we didn’t even make it to the field, yet we are promised “the free gift of God…eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden setting a heartbreaking precedent for the fall of mankind to repeat over and over. Until Jesus, “the last Adam, a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45) imputed his righteousness to us through our faith in him, forever changing our eternal destiny.
Do you have the confidence of Jesus’ perfect record? Do you believe that God has credited you with Jesus’ righteousness instead of your own? Because he does.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, -Ephesians 2:8
May you be encouraged in the security of your salvation, enraptured by the doctrine of imputed righteousness and altogether in love with our God who is mighty to save! (Zeph. 3:17)
We have won indeed.
PS. Here’s an infographic I designed to give you some fast facts for further assurance of your salvation. If you feel like you might not be where you need to be in your relationship with Jesus reach out to one of the pastors at Cornerstone! It is our passion to talk with anyone who wants to deepen their relationship with learn what steps to take to begin a new relationship with Jesus.
Let’s talk soon!