Day 10

Righteousness Through Christ

from the Advent 2017: Joy to the World reading plan


Romans 3:21-28, John 1:1-5, John 1:14-18, Ephesians 1:7-10, Colossians 1:13-14

With its everyman protagonist George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life is the epitome of a classic Christmas movie. When a financial crisis hits Bedford Falls, the Bailey Building and Loan runs out of money and a warrant is issued for Bailey’s arrest. After enduring an existential adventure and a supernatural encounter with his guardian angel, Bailey recognizes just how wonderful his life is. Ultimately, he is saved by the generosity of the people to whom he has been so generous over the years. Bailey was made righteous before the law by the goodness of others who were reciprocating his generosity to them.

We are also saved and declared righteous before the law because of how Someone else loved us, but unlike George Bailey, we didn’t do anything to deserve the love we have been shown.

This time of year, we can get so caught up in the cuddly, cozy idea of sweet baby Jesus that we forget His birth was just one of many shots fired in the war for humanity’s salvation. The Advent season is for us to remember the beginning of Jesus’ life as a human, but John 1 tells us that this baby was no stranger to that which was to come.

In Colossians 1:14, Paul writes, “In [Jesus] we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” This is no small truth. The redemption Jesus purchased on our behalf is like the ransom paid on behalf of a slave or prisoner. Before He bled and died on our behalf, we were hopelessly chained to our sin with no desire or understanding of what it meant to be free.

Despite our rebellion, Jesus Christ paid the debt of our sin so that we, who call on His name, would no longer be held to account for our inability to uphold the law. We have been saved by a love we cannot earn and do not deserve.

Now, because we have been shown the grace of God and have been forgiven our debts, we have been commissioned to forgive the debts of those who have sinned against us (Ephesians 4:32). The Christmas season is, indeed, a season of giving. But this Advent, alongside whatever gifts you may be wrapping and tucking under the tree, consider those to whom you should give the gift of forgiveness—the ultimate gift given to us by our Savior, so that we might give it to others.

Written by Chris Martin

Post Comments (10)

10 thoughts on "Righteousness Through Christ"

  1. Brandon says:

    Forgiving others is to be Christlike and at the same time it also frees us up to love. If we have frustration and anger in our hearts it’s hard to have room to love. I find when I’m spun up and aggravated with people It affects my mood and how I treat everyone. To walk in a spirit of forgiveness is a gift to allow us to show Jesus love to the world.

  2. Jeff M. says:

    I love the George Bailey reference, and the note that it was his kindness towards others that brought about their generosity to him in the end. But unlike George Bailey, Christ’s generosity towards us had no bearing on our generosity towards Him. Chris does a great job and beautifully writes that we were hopelessly chained to our sin (and this next part is key) with NO DESIRE and NO UNDERSTANDING of what freedom really is.

    Gosh…isn’t that the truth. I think of my life before Christ and I really thought that’s all life was – and I look back and go “What a miserable existence!” 😂🙌🏽 Praise God for His grace to open my eyes to His love and grace. And what love it is that Christ would desire to come, to do the will of the Father knowing the cost, to buy back His sin-guilty sons and daughters who had chosen their sin over Him and become slaves to it. And it is this great love that then becomes the motivator for all we do!! We can, as the devo speaks to, then share our stories and extend forgiveness to those places we never thought we would be able to. This grace becomes the great motivator – we follow Jesus out of His great love and grace shown to us. You don’t think the Bailey family didn’t have folks over for dinner after the night they came with their gifts??

    I imagine George Bailey spent the rest of his life, and his family, in deep gratitude and awe of the generosity of His friends. But imagine for a moment the most undeserving person you can think of to receive a gift like that. In the Gospel narrative, you and I are that deeply undeserving person. And Christ came not because we were lovely, but to make us so. His love was the motivator. Immanuel – God with us! What a precious gift. Thank you Lord!

  3. Matt Baker says:

    I am so very grateful for the gifts of mercy and grace. Not getting the fate we deserve, but instead receiving something that we could never earn on our own just goes to show the love that God has for us. Praise Him! 🙌🏼

  4. Andrew says:

    Forgiveness is the greatest gift I ever received!

  5. Chase VH says:

    Gods love for us is insurmountable and can only be obtained through faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that God would come down and make a sinner like me righteous? That sounds crazy when you think about it, it reminds me of just how selfish I am and just how much I need the overwhelming grace and love of God. Thank you Lord for sending your only son so that I may live and pour out your love to others through my life.

  6. Trevor Gartner says:

    Never allow anything to influence or change the identity of Christ. Jesus does not need the quote unquotecuteness of the holidays to change his identity. There is no teetotaller, social justice warrior, Conservative representative moniker to attach to who Jesus is. He is the God who created us, we got home loves us the one who has shown his love in time for us while we were still sinners and has justified and adopted us into his family because of his righteousnes. Never allow that to be changed, altered, anything added to or taken from. Jesus knows who is, His Word describes and shows his identity, and nothing else comes close or is valid.

  7. Adam says:

    “It is better to give than to receive…”

    This is such a great example of extreme wisdom that I really didn’t know to appreciate growing up. Of course, it was only a matter of time before I learned to value these words. Even now, after just minutes ago having read today’s devotional, I’m floored by the power and vastness of these words. In particular, the thought of giving forgiveness far more than we expect it heaped upon ourselves. I feel so exposed thinking about that. Indeed, what an extreme gift forgiveness is. Forgiving is loving, and not forgiving is actively choosing not to love. Oh my regular pride and conceit. So completely grateful for this truth tonight!

  8. Colt Duppen says:

    The first passage reiterates the ideas from the past few days about God giving us his son to show us his righteousness. Again saying that there is no distinction, because all have sinned and fall short of his glory. But we are justified because Jesus has given us the redemption that we never earned. So with our faith to Jesus, we are able to overcome, even with our sinful nature.

    “A person is justified by faith apart from the words of the law.” This really speaks to me because it shows that we are inherently sinful, but must continue to have faith in Jesus because through him, we can be saved.

    God made life, all things through him. The light of man did not get overcome by the darkness. Jesus was given to us. Full of grace and truth and we have had the chance to see proof of the word. We have received forgiveness. I do not think it could be understated how important this idea is. In Jesus we have redemption, the redemption for all evils done by Man.

    The main lines from the sermon that stood out to me were about forgiveness of those who have wronged us. We need not worry about our debts to the Lord as often, because they have already been forgiven by Him and the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus. We can now focus on forgiveness of others. I’m going to be very mindful, not only this season, but in the future to work towards forgiveness of others. This is something that I have full control over and if we can be forgiven for all the sins that we have committed towards God, I should be able to pay it forward and forgive those who have committed far less towards me.

    “In Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

  9. Keaton Vander Hart says:

    I like the comments made that when Jesus was born it was one shot fired in the war for
    our salvation.

  10. Alberto says:

    Wow. The gift of forgiveness is such a beautiful thing. How often we take for granted just how great and merciful the Lord is to us.

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