Words and phrases are sometimes read or heard in sermons that are not clearly understood. Righteousness by faith is one such phrase; frequently used, but dimly understood. It is very important that all who desire to live eternally with Yahuwah have a clear understanding of precisely what “righteousness by faith” is, because it is the only way anyone shall be saved.
To be “righteous” is to be in agreement with the divine law:
"Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man." (Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.)
Scripture exhorts: “But you, O man of Yahuwah, . . . pursue righteousness, piety, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11, Restored Names Scripture) Only those who follow after righteousness, those who, in their inner-most thoughts and feelings are in agreement with Yah, will be saved.
The problem is:
There is none righteous! No, not one!
There is none who understands! There is none who seeks after Yahuwah.
They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable.
There is none who does good! No, not one!
(See Romans 3:10-12.)
It is because all are sinners that righteousness by faith is such a precious divine gift. Referring to the Saviour, Scripture declares:
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15, 16, KJV)
Yahuwah’s gift of His Son encompasses much more than redemption from sin. It also includes recreation of the innermost thoughts and feelings into the image of the divine. The Redeemer of mankind was tempted on every single point whereby you can be tempted, but He never sinned. Therefore, by His death for you, He can give you His own righteousness so that you may stand before Yahuwah as though you had never sinned.
Therefore, if anyone is in Yahushua, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of Yahuwah, who has reconciled us to Himself through Yahushua the Anointed, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that Yahuwah was in Yahushua reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them . . . For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of Yahuwah in Him. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17-19, 21.)
The gift of Yahuwah is total reclamation from the effects of sin in all who believe. This is Yahuwah’s righteousness and it can only be obtained by faith because it is a gift. None can attain Yahushua’s righteousness by their own efforts or works:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20, NKJV)
It is only when the repentant sinner lays hold of the precious promises by faith that he becomes justified.
“Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4, NKJV)
Paul explained to the believers in Galatia:
A man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Yahushua the Anointed, even we have believed in [Him], that we might be justified by faith in Yahushua and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (See Galatians 2:16.)
Yahuwah “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV) However, in order to accept this great gift and all the benefits it brings, you must exercise faith. “Faith” itself is not always clearly understood for what it is. Faith is belief, but it is also much more.
"Now faith is the substance [confidence, margin] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)
Simply put, faith is:
"The assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth." (Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.)
To accept the righteousness wrought out by Yahushua by His perfect life, one must exercise faith for “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to [Yahuwah] must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV) True faith is not emotion. Rather, it is the calm decision to trust Yahuwah’s promise because of who and what He is, needing no other proof or evidence to believe. Many people wait to feel strong emotion before they feel they have faith. This is a mistake. The very time to exercise faith is when you are feeling the most bereft of Yahuwah’s love and presence.
Many begin their Christian walk exercising faith in the Saviour to accept and forgive them. They believe, at the first, that the Spirit of Yah will be given to them and they are baptized, joyfully trusting in their Redeemer. However, as time goes by, many begin to live as though they will be saved by their own efforts in obeying the law. This was the trap into which the Galatians fell. Paul asked bluntly:
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Yahushua the Anointed was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (See Galatians 3:1-3.)
There is nothing that anyone can do to somehow earn salvation. It is a gift, from first to last, which is accepted by faith in the promises of Yahuwah. The first step to accepting the righteousness of Yahushua by faith is simply to make the choice to believe that what He has said He will do. He has promised you:
". . . the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (John 6:37, NKJV)
Lest any hesitate, He further urges:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30, NKVJ)
The second step is to accept by faith that the warning to the Laodiceans applies to you individually.
And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, . . . “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot . . . Because you say, ‘I am rich and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked – I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed; that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (See Revelation 3:14-18, NKJV.)
You cannot see the depths of sin and degradation in your own heart. Therefore, it is necessary to accept by faith that the Laodicean condition applies to yourself. Then and only then will the Great Physician be able to provide the divine cure. This is received by faith in the great and precious promises. Pray with David:
"Have mercy upon me, O [Yahuwah], According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. . . . Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. . . . Create in me a clean heart, O [Yahuwah], And renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:1, 2, 7 & 10, NKJV)
Then, finally, choose to believe that He has done so because He has promised that He would.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto [Yahushua] the author and finisher of our faith . . . ." (Hebrews 12:1, 2, KJV)
Yahushua came to reveal that divinity combined with humanity does not commit sin. Those who accept the righteousness of Yahushua by faith will find that when they are doing Yahuwah’s will, they are but carrying out the promptings of their own desires.
"For to this you were called, because [Yahushua] also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth; . . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.' " (1 Peter 2:21, 22, 24, NKJV)
Righteousness by faith is more than an attitude of the mind. It is the result of the attitude of the mind. Righteousness by faith is right-doing by faith in the power of Yahushua. The purified will is ONE with Yahuwah. Yahushua, living out His life in the believer, perfectly keeps the law of Yah. This is truly righteousness by faith and it brings with it divine peace and a rest unknown to those who try to obtain Heaven by their own efforts. The Sabbath is a symbol of the rest that awaits all who cease from their own efforts to be saved and instead trust in the merits of a risen Saviour.
There remains therefore a rest for the people of Yahuwah. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as Elohim did from His. (See Hebrews 4:9, 10.)
Those who accept the righteousness of Yahushua by faith will want to keep the divine law. It is written on their hearts and is therefore no longer a burden but a joy! The remnant, those who are translated to Heaven without seeing death, are those who have chosen to accept the righteousness of Yahushua by faith. They are described in Revelation:
Here are they that keep the commandments of Yahuwah, and the faith of Yahushua. (See Revelation 14:12.)
Choose today to take Yahuwah at His word. Accept the salvation so freely offered. Believe that what He has said, He will do. Then, “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4) with Him.