This article by Tim Oliver, is a communication between Tim and Karen about the requirement of God's Righteousness and how it is met by God for the believer in Jesus. Even though this dialog pertains to an LDS person, for the time being, the issues covered here address the important points on this topic in understanding what it is that God requires on our behalf, and what is unacceptable as well, and how that requirement is met and satisfied, righteously, in Christ, by his death on the cross. This alone satisfies the righteousness of God.
Karen: I am meeting with a couple of Mormon missionaries and was wondering if you have any verses that succinctly state the righteousness that God requires is a never-having-sinned righteousness. I was trying to get this point across to them last meeting.
Tim: That is a great question, Karen. But like the doctrine of the Trinity, it is not a matter of one single verse containing a succinct statement of the doctrine. That does not make it untrue. But it can only be understood by comparing scripture with scripture. The case is in the character of God, the nature of sin, the nature of the atonement and Christ’s own perfect righteousness. The case is necessarily cumulative, built block upon block. But it is solid, and it is beautiful.
The first great block is the character of God. God is absolutely holy and righteous. That is his nature and character. “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). God himself knows no other of standard of righteousness than himself. For God, any other standard is necessarily a lesser standard, and is therefore unrighteousness, and therefore unacceptable.
Jesus did not die to lower God’s standard, or to make an unacceptable standard (that which we can achieve) acceptable. Jesus died to make unacceptable people acceptable. He does not make them acceptable by lowering the standard (agreeing to accept what they are able to do). He makes them acceptable by what He did. Jesus fully met and satisfied God’s one and only standard of righteousness throughout His own perfect, sinless life, then sacrificed it on the cross. God has the sovereign freedom, power, and right to credit or apply Jesus’ absolutely perfect, infinitely acceptable and God-pleasing righteousness to the account of whomever He chooses, as a free gift. He can do that, righteously, without compromising His own holiness, because Jesus paid for it completely, with His blood.
Some agree that God requires something more than what we can do on our own, but propose that God makes unacceptable people acceptable by taking their efforts (what they are able to do) and then tacking on something extra—Jesus’ effort in the atonement—to make up the difference. But God will not allow mixture when it comes to righteousness. Mixture is unrighteousness. Purity is: “without mixture.” Only one ingredient. Mormonism, and every other pseudo-Christian religion, attempts to mix our efforts together with Jesus’ effort as payment for sin. But that subverts the atonement, and corrupts the Law of God. Both unacceptable! God absolutely will not allow anything marred by sin ever to be counted in any way as part of what will justify a person in God’s sight.
Having already sinned, the best you could ever do—to completely stop sinning—is less than what Jesus did. Jesus did what had to be done—to live completely without sin throughout his entire life. Why? Because that is the standard God requires. That was the whole point of the requirement that the lambs offered in Israel under the Law had to have no marks of any kind, no blemishes, nothing injured, etc. They were intended to picture the sinless perfection of the true Lamb of God!
Timothy Oliver was raised as a Seventh-Day-Adventist, and in is late teens became an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ--Latter Day Saints (LDS) and a missionary for them. After being confronted with questions during his mission, which he could not answer, he finally was saved by the sovereign grace of God Almighty. He is a friend and consultant to RethinkingAdventism.com and a regular contributor.
Timothy Oliver is currently an active missionary in Malaysia, along with his wife Suzie. If you are interested in supporting them make your check or payment out to:
P.O. Box 305
Santaquin, UT 84665
For more background information and ministry information and ways to support Timothy and Suzie Oliver -- click HERE.