ARTICLE 23 – OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE GOD
We believe that our blessedness lies in the forgiveness of our sins for Jesus Christ’s sake and that therein our righteousness before God1 consists, as David and Paul teach us. They pronounce a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works (Rom 4:6; Psalm 32:1). The apostle also says that we are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:24).2
Therefore we always hold to this firm foundation. We give all the glory to God,3 humble ourselves before Him, and acknowledge ourselves to be what we are. We do not claim anything for ourselves or our merits,4 but rely and rest on the only obedience of Jesus Christ crucified;5 His obedience is ours when we believe in Him.6
This is sufficient to cover all our iniquities and to give us confidence in drawing near to God, freeing our conscience of fear, terror, and dread, so that we do not follow the example of our first father, Adam, who trembling tried to hide and covered himself with fig leaves.7 For indeed, if we had to appear before God, relying – be it ever so little – on ourselves or some other creature, (woe be to us!) we would be consumed.8 Therefore everyone must say with David, O LORD, enter not into judgment with Thy servant, for no man living is righteous before Thee (Psalm 143:2).
1. 1 John 2:1. 2. 2 Cor 5:18-19; Eph 2:8; 1 Tim 2:6. 3. Psalm 115:1; Rev 7:10-12. 4. 1 Cor 4:4; James 2:10. 5. Acts 4:12; Heb 10:20. 6. Rom 4:23-25. 7. Gen 3:7; Zeph 3:11; Heb 4:16; 1 John 4:17-19. 8. Luke 16:15; Phil 3:4-9.