Written by Rev. Nicholas Davelaar
Published in the Courier of Russellville, Arkansas
Everyone should know about alien righteousness. It’s at the heart of the gospel message.
That might sound bizarre, but only because when we see the word “alien,” what first comes to mind is either a person from another country or a little green creature from outer space.
That noted, the word “alien” can also be used as an adjective. The word “alien” can indicate that a certain person, place, or thing is strange or foreign. Put differently, something alien is not familiar or native.
To give an example, people sometimes refer to kudzu as an alien plant. This infamous vine originally came from Asia. Now it infests the American South. In fact, kudzu is sometimes called “the vine that ate the South.” For better or worse, this alien plant has made itself at home here.
In much the same way that an alien plant is a plant that is not native to a region, an alien righteousness is a righteousness that is not native to a people. Alien righteousness is a right standing before the holy God of heaven and earth that is foreign to you and me in the wake of Adam’s rebellion.
We are sinners; on our own, none of us is righteous according to Romans 3:9-10. You and I will not and cannot make ourselves right with God, nor even escape the wrath of God we deserve on account of our sin. We need a righteousness that is foreign to us, a righteousness we haven’t had since Adam rebelled against God.
How then can we be right with God?
Years ago one of the Protestant Reformers asked that very question: “How are you right with God?” He then went right on to give this answer as a summary of what the Bible teaches:
“Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.
“Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.
“All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.”
Is that your hope? Is your hope, your confidence in an alien righteousness, namely Christ’s righteousness? Or are you resting in your own, either completely or in part?
Think about that.
For further study, read 1 Corinthians 1:30–31.