What is Righteousness by Faith


Kevin Straub

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What is righteousness by faith? Is it cheap grace? Let Elder A. T. Jones give

us some thought on the matter:




The righteousness of God is revealed to faith. Rom. 1:17.


Faith is complete dependence upon the Word of God, expecting that Word

to do what the Word itself says.


Is there, then, righteousness spoken by the Word of God, so that people can

depend completely upon that Word, that the Word shall accomplish what the

Word says?


There is. Indeed, that is the very object of the gift of Christ. For him “God

hath set forth…to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are

past, through the forbearance of God.” Rom. 3:25.


Seeing then that God hath set forth Christ expressly to declare, to speak, the

righteousness of God, it is certain that the Word of God has been spoken, upon

which there can be complete dependence, expecting that Word to do what that

Word says. In other words, there is righteousness that can be received by faith.

Wherein is this word spoken? It is spoken in the word “forgiveness.” “He is

faithful and just to forgive us our sins;” “there is forgiveness with thee.”


Now what is the meaning of “forgive”? The word “for-give” is composed of

“for” and “give,” which otherwise is give for. To forgive, therefore, is simply to

give for. For the Lord to forgive sin, is to give for sin. But what does the Lord

give for sin? He declares “His righteousness for the remission of sins.”


Therefore when the Lord forgives — gives for — sin, He gives righteousness

for sin. And as the only righteousness that the Lord has is His own, it follows

that the only righteousness that God gives, or can give, for sin is the righteousness

of God.


This is the righteousness of God as a gift. As all men have only sinned, and,

if they are ever clear, must have forgiveness entirely free; and as the forgiveness

of sin — the righteousness of God given for sin — is entirely free, this

is the righteousness of God as a free gift “upon all men unto justification of

life.” Rom. 5:18.


Every soul, therefore, who ever asks God for forgiveness of sin, in that very

thing asks God to give him righteousness for sin. Every soul who asks God

for forgiveness, asks it solely upon the Word of God, which speaks forgiveness.

And faith is entire dependence upon the Word for what the Word speaks. Thus

righteousness is altogether of faith.


“Every one that asketh receiveth.” You have asked the Lord many a time to

forgive your sins; that is, you have asked Him to give for your sin. But when

you ask the Lord to give for your sin, in that you ask Him to give the only thing

that He does or can give for sin, which is righteousness. That is what it is to ask

forgiveness of the Lord.


And He does forgive — He does give for — your sins when you ask Him. He says

He does, and He does. “He is faithful” — that is, He will never fail — “and just to forgive us our sins.” And the only thing He gives for sins is His righteousness.

Then why not thank Him for the righteousness that He freely gives for your

sins, when you ask Him to?


Do you not see that righteousness by faith is just as plain and simple as the

asking God for forgiveness of sin? Indeed, it is just that.


To believe that righteousness is given you for your sin, when you ask forgiveness;

and thankfully to receive that righteousness as the gift of God — this is

what it is to exercise faith.


Yet how true it is that “we suffer much trouble and grief because of our unbelief,

and of our ignorance of how to exercise faith.”


“Hast thou faith?” Have the faith of God. “Here are they that keep…the faith

of Jesus.”


RH Mar. 14, 1899


è Now, some would wish to remain carnal and receive God’s gift as a free ticket. Do not go to the “cheap grace” side. The flesh is always seeking for salvation in continued deliberate practice of sin. If we do this we do not want forgiveness, because then we do not want to give our sin for His righteousness. There is a trade-in to be performed in this, if you read it properly.


This is truly His righteousness and it is truly given. By keeping the eye fixed, in faith,

upon Christ, we cannot sink in sin. Peter learned this lesson when walking on water.

As surely as Peter got wet, so too will we go under when embrace the flesh again and

look back.