As a teen, my doctor discovered a curvature of the spine, prescribing yoga as a treatment. Yoga lessons strengthened my back; they also opened my mind to eastern thought. I learned the idea that I could achieve enlightenment if I made enough effort.
All world religions teach a similar idea. In Buddhism, the eightfold path leads to Nirvana. In Islam, adherence to the five pillars means reaching Jannah. And the list goes on. World religions present an opportunity for humans to attempt to generate righteousness. This is one area where the gospel of Jesus differs. It says that God generates righteousness, which He then gives to human beings.
The first thing Adam and Eve did after sin was to make fig leaf coverings. But those scratchy fig-leaf bathing suits didn’t work. When God came into the garden, they dove behind the bushes in fear. Where was their confidence? Their attempt to resolve shame through their own righteousness? Epic fail.
Then God did something epic in response: He made garments of skin for them. Imagine the scene: The shivering pair stand by as God euthanizes their precious pets. Out drains the blood, as divine fingers cobble together a garment so sturdy it will ward off cold and rain. Then those gentle hands don them in the masterpiece symbol of His own righteousness. God made the garments, God clothed the humans. Every part came from God. They stood covered because of His righteousness, not their own. But in order for them to stand covered, someone they loved had to die.
Trembling in shame? No need to fear. Righteousness comes from God, and He has your back.
Imagine yourself cowering in shame, naked and frightened. You know that your sin has brought condemnation upon you, and that your fig leaves have failed to cover it. Then imagine God clothing you with a sturdy, warm robe made of His own righteousness. Now imagine yourself straightening up and standing tall, justified rather than condemned.
Throughout the day, as you lapse back into feelings of unworthiness, say out loud, “I stand in Jesus righteousness alone.” Say it right now with me: “I stand in Jesus righteousness alone.”
Let’s talk to the Source of our righteousness now. Jesus, just like those animals died to cover Adam and Eve, You died to cover all Your children. Thank you for that Gift, Lord. We can scarcely comprehend it, but as we stretch our minds to try, we know that our righteousness comes from You. Amen.
“You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10