What Does God See?

A 6th century mosaic of Jesus at Church San Ap...

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The apostle Paul gives us an excellent summary of the salvation God provides in Philippians 3:9. Here is the very heart of the Good News in Jesus Christ.

That I may “be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness – a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness” (NET).

In this summary the apostle tells us there are two kinds of righteousness. There is man’s self-righteousness, and there is the righteousness God provides in Jesus Christ.

The righteousness of God speaks of His character. The greatest example of the righteousness of God is seen in Jesus Christ. God’s personality is vibrant and alive in Christ. Jesus said, “And the one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do those things that please him” (John 8:29 NET).

No man or woman on the face of the earth can attain God’s standard of righteousness. Human righteousness, no matter how good can never take a person to heaven. We are sinners and all our righteousness is tainted by the results of our sinfulness. Nothing that we do can ever atone for our sins.

The apostle Paul demonstrates in the first three chapters of Romans that when a person will not accept the free imputed righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, he will attempt a self-righteousness in that place. He will attempt to make a god like himself. The result is a corrupt and distorted representation of himself because he is depraved. But the fact is always the same: no matter how high you set your standards you still fall short of God’s standard. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NET). “There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one” (vv. 11-12 NET).

The temptation of the religious person is to look at his own perceived goodness. However, the Bible says, the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7 NET). God knows what is going on deep within our personal being. What does He see? What does he listen to?

The most important thing is that God hears us acknowledge to Him and to ourselves that we are sinners, and that Jesus Christ died on the cross in our place. Romans 10:9-10 reads, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation” (NET).

Paul was a religious Jewish person who counted every spiritual asset that he ever thought that he had gained as loss in order that he may gain Christ. The only thing that mattered for Paul was to be found clothed in Christ and His righteousness, “the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil. 3:9). It is a righteousness based on the finished saving work of Jesus Christ, and it is received from him by faith.

What does God see when he looks at you? Does he see his own righteousness? Does he see the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to you by faith? Does he see that righteousness of Christ imparted by the Holy Spirit working its way out into your attitudes and behaviors?

God will not accept your self-righteousness. He will only accept perfect righteousness, unearned and unmerited. If you are attempting to gain a right relationship with God by your own virtue, listen to God say again, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

The only righteousness God will accept is the righteousness from God by faith. There is only one standard—God’s. You must come to God through faith in Jesus Christ. God’s righteousness becomes yours personally through faith in Christ.


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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