"But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. . . Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood . . . Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" Romans 3:21, 22, 25, 28. Do you understand the tremendous import of these words?!!
When you or I believe and grasp by faith what Jesus accomplished for us at the cross and accept His perfect righteousness, which is "upon all them that believe", we are seen as righteous, as justified based on Jesus' perfectly lived life rather than on our ongoing bungling attempts at keeping His perfect law. This is amazingly good news for all who find themselves as part of "all". "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23.
It is in this context that we can understand Hebrews 10:14. "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." The cross made Christ's righteousness, His perfection, available to those who are being sanctified or purified.
We are told in Romans 4:3 that "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." We have no personal righteousness to present, but Christ's is more than adequate for all who claim it by faith.
Some, at this juncture, may be concerned to know the place of the law. It has not lost its importance whatsoever. To quote Paul, "Do we then make void the law through faith?
God forbid: yea, we establish the law" Romans 3:31. When we enter into this faith venture with Jesus Christ, the law actually becomes part of who we are by the Lord's activity in us. "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them" Hebrews 10:16.
As we daily surrender our lives to Christ, we are covered by His righteousness while He continues to implant His character, as revealed in His law, into our hearts and minds. We are told in Philippians 2:5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." If we let Him, He makes it happen!
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.