Have you doubts about the Bible — any part of it? Take for example the greatest of all miracles, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our text says plainly that God “raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,” ROMANS 4:24.
Perhaps you feel it is especially intelligent to require “proof” for whatever you hold. All right, what proof have you for the doubts you hold? What proves to you that OUR LORD did not rise from the dead? (You may point to countless other unraised bodies, but here we are talking only of the LORD.) Look about you at God’s vast creation, do you not see plain proof of power? Indeed, scores of us right here could stand and testify of our acquaintance with Jesus Christ. He is very much alive. He has changed our lives, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Now, keep listening, because I have even stronger words. Not only must you believe what happened to Jesus physically, but that very thing must happen to you spiritually — resurrection from the dead! (John 5:25) You must not only believe in your head about the resurrection, you must experience it in your heart.
How vital is verse 25! Christ “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Crimes are settled by the cross. Then true righteousness comes by the Lord‘s rising and going back to heaven to intercede for us. And, remember, there is no salvation, no being saved apart from this TRUE righteousness. How do I look to God? This is the all-important question.
I. TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS MUST BE GIVEN TO US
Does this fact surprise you? Righteousness must be given because we are so hopelessly in debt to God. Guilt lasts forever.
If there is a debt you are unable to repay — how long will you owe it? Forever! ‘Til death….and even then it will be charged against what is left. The soul will still face its guilt even after death. Of course, God is willing to forgive sins on the proper grounds.
Here the Scripture teaches us that “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” verse 3. Thus, true righteousness only comes by imputation, verse 24. It must be imputed, credited, counted to us by a gracious act of God. How this levels us all!
See the words “also for us” in verse 24. This points up the fact that just as Abraham entered into a fellowship of faith with the dead-raising, life-giving God, the same door is open to us.
Until we are registered in heaven as a member of God’s family, He will not accept or bless our life on earth. If an alien wishes the blessings of our America, let him move in and be naturalized be counted and recorded as a citizen. So spiritually it is not settled until God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” Colossians 1:13.
II. TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS MUST BE RECEIVED BY FAITH
Next, on our part there must be a response — a deliberate act of the will. This is nothing less than true, saving FAITH.
Mention of the word “faith” disturbs some. They look troubled when told that they must believe in the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection.
Friend, here is a world full of living people, none of whom made themselves! Do you believe God succeeded in making the First Adam? Well, why should the Second Adam (Jesus) be more difficult? Or, would you trust “evolution” to do it without even a virgin — and without God!!
Let me hasten to add that there is also no virtue in just uh-huhing right doctrine. We are here considering saving faith, a personal relation with God.
This true faith required to receive Christ as our righteousness, involves TRUST. Notice the little word “on” in verse 24. This believing ON God involves:
FIRST, trust in His Word. Read verse 23.
SECOND, trust in His Work. He “delivered” — gave up — His Son to death for our sins. Then He raised Him up to glory.
Let me ask you, what difference has it made in your life that the ground beneath the rugged cross was drenched in His blood? Are you sure you share in it — at all?
THIRD, trust in His Person. We are counted truly righteous before God only “if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” This means commitment to a Person!
Oh, rebel heart, you are not your own. You BELONG. You owe yourself lock, stock and barrel to Another. Turn from your impure living. Your body is not your own. Nor is your time, or money. What joy will be yours when you come and know His forgiveness….
Offenses and guilt settled. Rebellion ended. Peace! Peace with God, a peace that is beyond words.