“It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace, to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ. How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are “perfect in Christ Jesus.” It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind that “Christ is made unto us righteousness,” we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord, Christ hath done it all. On the cross he said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in him, and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, “Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” You will not find on this side heaven a holier people than those who receive into their hearts the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness. When the believer says, “I live on Christ alone; I rest on him solely for salvation; and I believe that, however unworthy, I am still saved in Jesus;” then there rises up as a motive of gratitude this thought–“Shall I not live to Christ? Shall I not love him and serve him, seeing that I am saved by his merits?” “The love of Christ constraineth us,” “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto him which died for them.” If saved by imputed righteousness, we shall greatly value imparted righteousness.” -Charles Spurgeon
“You stand before God as if you were Christ, because Christ stood before God as if He were you.” – Charles Spurgeon
A. W. Tozer: “When God justifies a sinner, everything in God is on the sinner’s side. All the attributes of God are on the sinner’s side. It isn’t that mercy is pleading for the sinner and justice is trying to beat him to death. All of God does all that God does.” Attributes of God
“As our past increases and our future shrinks, however, our minds tend to start looking backward rather than forward. In some ways that’s natural and normal since there’s more to look back on than to look forward to. It can be good for us too; the past can be a source of tremendous joy and thankfulness as we reflect on the mercies we have received and enjoyed from God’s good hand. But that lingering backward look can also cause deep pain and even despair as we ponder bad decisions, bad choices, and bad relationships.” -David Murray, The Happy Christian
BTW NOTE: I often preach the imputed righteousness of Christ as a salve for the person struggling with regret. We look back and see failures, and are filled with shame. But in Christ, God looks ‘back’ at our life and only sees the righteousness of Christ and is well-pleased. In Christ, our past is no longer a thing to rationalize or defend or explain away or ignore. It’s covered with the righteousness of Another. That can give peace to a hurting heart.
BTW NOTE1: This is why the proclamation of grace in Christ–that God knows everything about us, even the very worst, yet accepts us completely because of Christ’s person and work– is a message that will resonate with millennials.
BTW NOTE2: The article also has some interesting insights on social media’s ability to spark feeling of inferiority in people (so social media becomes like the Law), and also has some fascinating stats related to worry and anxiety.
This is a horrible story, but one that illustrates that the doctrine of justification (and all the practical issues of acceptance and approval that are related to it) is very much a live and meaningful topic even in a rapidly secularizing culture like ours.