Question 60. How are you righteous before God?
Answer: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. That is: although my conscience accuse me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them, and that I am still prone always to all evil, yet God without any merit of mine, of mere grace, grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never committed nor had any sin, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me, if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.
Question 62. But why cannot our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God?
Answer: Because the righteousness which can stand before the judgment-seat of God, must be perfect throughout and wholly conformable to the divine law; whereas even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.
From The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 23 & 24
This past Wednesday we sang this hymn at prayer meeting. Parts of it have stuck with me since then.
Augustus M. Toplady and William Croft
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. John 7:37
Fountain of never ceasing grace, Thy saints’ exhaustless theme, Great object of immortal praise, Essentially supreme;
We bless thee for the glorious fruits Thine incarnation gives; The righteousness which grace imputes, And faith alone receives.
In thee we have a righteousness By God himself approved; Our rock, our sure foundation this, Which never can be moved.
Our ransom by thy death was paid, For all thy people giv’n, The law thou perfectly obeyed, That they might enter heav’n.
As all, when Adam sinned alone, In his transgression died, So by the righteousness of one Are sinners justified;
We to thy merit, gracious Lord, With humblest joy submit, Again to Paradise restored, In thee alone complete. Amen.
Trinity Hymnal #440
Run and work the law demands but gives me neither feet nor hands.
The gospel speaks of greater things, it bids me fly and gives me wings.
I heard this poem recited by Hal Jones of Westminster Seminary on a WHI broadcast. In doing a little research there are a few other versions and each is ascribed to different authors including John Bunyan, John Berridge and Ralph Erskine.