“Z” is for Zeal

“Z” is for Zeal.  Here we are, the last letter of the English alphabet and the last “A to Z Theology” blog (for now).  Webster defines zeal in this way, “In general, zeal is an eagerness of desire to accomplish or obtain some object” (1828 Dictionary).  A more comprehensive definition is given at the end of this newsletter so continue reading.  Zeal when misdirected or grounded in some false beliefs or assumptions can have devastating effects.  In the case of many dictators or rulers throughout the history of the world their zeal to eliminate or exterminate whole people groups is wicked and sinful, a greatly misdirected zeal you could say.  Zeal can be found in virtually every arena of life: religion, politics, science, academia, sports, and many other areas as well.  We will not explore zeal in all these areas rather we will begin by taking a look at the zeal of our Lord and then see how His followers are to have such zeal.

Jesus’ Zeal

During the course of Jesus’ ministry our Lord cleansed the temple twice.  Once at the beginning of His public ministry (John 2:13-22) and once during passion week shortly before His crucifixion, the end of His public ministry (Matt. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48).  Only John records this first temple cleansing. We read in John 2, “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me’” (vv. 15-17).

Jesus enters the temple and observes the marketplace it has become.  And this all taking place in the court of the Gentiles.  The only place permitted for the Gentiles to worship God was instead a house of trade.   In the second instance of the temple cleansing Jesus speaks of the temple as being a house of prayer yet they made it a den of robbers (Matt. 21:13).  The disciples recalled here in John that it is written in Psalm 69:9, “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17b).  The zeal, or passion, Jesus had in seeing to it that His Father’s house not be treated as “a house of trade” (or a “den of robbers”) is seen when He makes a whip of cords and drives merchants and buyers out of the temple, out of the court of the Gentiles.  Jesus’ zeal was so great that it would “consume” Him.  Jesus displays a righteous zeal both times as He cleanses the temple.  Certainly our Lord was also zealous to do His Father’s will and be obedient to God’s commands.

Our Zeal

What of our zeal?  Paul writes, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).  The picture Paul paints is great.  Zeal is a passionate burning desire, and here Paul speaks about not being slothful, or lazy, in our zeal.  Rather we are to be fervent, enthusiastic or zealous you could say, in spirit while serving the Lord.

Earlier Paul speaks about not having a zeal for God without knowledge (Rom. 10:2).  One could understand how this could be taken to an extreme.  Paul said of himself before his conversion to Christ, “as to zeal, a persecutor of the church” (Phil. 3:6a).  Paul sought vehemently to stop this Christian sect from advancing further.  His zeal to destroy followers of Jesus was extremely high.  After the Lord met with Paul on the Damascus Road he still had a great zeal but the direction and focus of that zeal was forever changed.  Paul would proclaim Christ crucified too much of the known world at that time.  He was zealous for the glory of God (see also Num. 25:10-18) and the salvation of sinners.

When Paul’s zeal was being directed by false knowledge it equated to persecution of the church.  RC Sproul Jr. said, “We don’t increase in our knowledge by decreasing in our zeal. Neither do we increase in our zeal by decreasing our knowledge. Rather, the two are supposed to feed and encourage each other” (Article: Knowledge Without Zeal).  May we have a burning desire to understand the truth of God according to Scripture that our zeal to make Christ known would be like that of our Lord Himself.

In case you have any question about what zeal in religion looks like I close with this quote from J.C. Ryle.  He said, “Zeal in religion is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire which no man feels by nature—which the Spirit puts in the heart of every believer when he is converted—but which some believers feel so much more strongly than others that they alone deserve to be called ‘zealous’ men” (Practical Religion,  1959 ed., 130).  Do you have a burning desire to please God in all arenas of your life?  Do you have a burning desire to do His will when it is hard and opposite of what many around you are doing?  Do you have a burning desire to advance God’s glory in every possible way?  May we have such a zeal for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

“Y” is for Yahweh

“Y” is for Yahweh.  This is the personal name of God Himself.  Maybe you are wondering, “If it is God’s personal name, then why don’t we see it in Scripture?”  It actually appears in Scripture more than 6,800 times!  Now you might be wondering if we are reading the same Bible.  In our English Bibles the name Yahweh appears most frequently as, LORD.  This is to distinguish it from the word, Lord.  You can see the word is the same in English but distinguished by the use of all capitals in the first example and a capital “L” with lower case “ord” in the second.  The reason for this is that they translate two different Hebrew words.

A Quick Grammatical Look

The Hebrew word for Yahweh consist of the Hebrew consonants yhwh (yod-he-waw-he), and is called the Tetragrammaton, because of it contains four letters, hence YHWH.  It has been regarded as the most sacred name of God, and in fact, the incommunicable name.  Jews feared speaking the name because Lev. 24:16 says, “Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.”  So when the Jews read the Scriptures whenever they came upon those four consonants, YHWH, they would say ‘Adonai or ‘Elohim.  ‘Adonai is translated in English as “Lord” like we already looked at above and ’Elohim is translated as “God” most often.  ’Adonai or “Lord” is a title of God referring to His absolute sovereignty over creation.  It is an exalted title of God.  In the Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint or LXX) the translators substituted kurios which means “Lord,” with the divine name YHWH.  It is likely for these reasons why most English translations translate YHWH “LORD.”

Jehovah, a familiar name for God to English readers at least, is not actually a Hebrew word found in Scripture.  Ancient Hebrew when written did not use vowels but the appropriate vowel sounds were passed on orally.  The divine name YHWH (the four consonants) received the vowels from ‘Adonai with a couple consonant changes to get the name Jehovah.  It is highly unlikely that this is the correct pronunciation of the name of God.

Meaning of God’s Name

Let’s transition away from some of the grammatical and technical side of the name of God and focus on its meaning.  What does this name reveal about God and His character?  For this is the far greater questions.  Exodus 3:13-14 is crucial for understanding the meaning of the divine name, YHWH.  It is here in Exodus 3 that God appears to Moses in a burning bush as Moses cares for his father-in-law’s flock (vv. 1, 4).  The LORD (YHWH) tells Moses what He is about to do in delivering His people from the hand of the Egyptians and He is going to use Moses (vv. 7-8, 10).  Moses is uncertain, and will come up with a lot of excuses not to go (Ex. 4).  But here in Exodus 3:13-14 we read, “Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”  A number of things are revealed about the name YHWH from the explanation here in Ex. 3:14 where God says, “I am who I am.”  There is a variety of explanations of what this name means including: (1) that God is self-existent and therefore not dependent on anything else for His own existence; (2) that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists; (3) that God is immutable in His being and character and thus is not in the process of becoming something different from what He is; (4) that God is eternal in His existence (ESV Study Bible, 149).  Then we should look in the context where God speaks these words to Moses and it is in promising to be with him as God uses Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.  YHWH is telling Moses that He will be for the people in Moses’ day what He was for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in that He is faithful to His covenant (see Ex. 3:6, 16).

While there are lots of passages we could look at since the name of God is used so frequently in the OT let’s stick to the book of Exodus.  In Exodus 20 we find the giving of the Ten Commandments.  But before God lays out each of those commandments there is a prologue you might say.  Exodus 20:2 says, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”  Within this verse we learn a number of things about Yahweh’s relation to the people of Israel.  First, Yahweh has a personal relationship with the people.  He is “the LORD your God” (emphasis mine).  Second, Yahweh is a God of grace for it was He who “brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”  Certainly much more is wrapped up in what the divine name Yahweh tells us about His character.  But it amazing to think that the Holy One, who is so high and exalted, is willing to be in relationship with those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.  That He lavished grace upon us who were His enemies from birth.  All praise and honor belong to Yahweh alone!

“W” is for Wrath

“W” is for Wrath.  While there is no need to translate or parse any aspect of this word it doesn’t mean that it isn’t regularly misunderstood.  The wrath of God is not a subject much spoken of in our culture today.  Our world would rather talk about the love of God and leave that wrath business out altogether.  This is not a surprise given the fallenness of man and of our nation.  What is the surprising offense is how the culture and its influence has seeped into the church and shaped it in regards to any number of theological subjects, the wrath of God being one, instead of the church being a light to the nations.  But as Christians many of us are oftentimes maybe embarrassed about the wrath of God because we don’t understand it.  JI Packer points out, “Why, when the Bible is vocal about it [referring to the wrath of God], should we feel obliged to be silent?” (Knowing God, 150).  Of course your liberal churches and denominations have tossed it out long ago but even inside an otherwise solid evangelical (meaning, gospel preaching and Bible believing) church, the subject of the wrath of God is all but eliminated.  Why is that?

In this week’s blog we will explore this particular attribute of God.  We will take a look at a few of the Old and New Testament texts that either speak directly about the wrath of God or are a demonstration of His wrath.  May our study of the wrath of God awaken in the Christian a burning desire for proclaiming the whole counsel of God for His glory.

What is the Wrath of God?

The wrath of God is an expression of His holiness.  Or “the doctrine that God intensely hates all sin” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1257).  Since God is holy (Matt 5:48; 1 Jn. 1:5) and He hates sin He cannot remain neutral in regards to it.  As Dr. Steven Lawson said, “There is divine wrath that by necessity must react against all that does not conform to the purity of His holiness” (The Attributes of God Teaching Series).  We struggle to understand this because we are not perfect, despite what a new mother might say about her child, and Scripture makes that abundantly clear (see Gen. 3; Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:23).  Whereas humans misdirect and misapply our anger virtually daily, “God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is…God is only angry where anger is called for” (Packer, Knowing God, 151).   God’s wrath is the justice of God in response to our sin.

Wrath of God in the OT

Some point to various accounts in Scripture like Noah and the flood (Gen. 6-7), Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18-19), and the Ten Plagues in Egypt (Ex. 7-12) as examples of the wrath of God gone out of control.  Even some Christians look at these texts among others and conclude, “Thank God that the God of the NT is a God of love.”  This too is ridiculous and reveals a lack of understanding the Bible.

Yes, God judged mankind and a catastrophic flood covered all the earth.  Yes, God rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24).  Yes, God sent ten plagues against Egypt.  But let’s quickly recap why God did each of these things.  In reference to the worldwide flood we read, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).  Evil continually.  All the time.  God had been patient with man already since even just one sin deserves death and God withheld His wrath until the evil of mankind was “only evil continually.”  And thankfully God looked with favor upon Noah (6:8).  In the case of Sodom, Abraham interceded for the people there that if only ten righteous persons could be found would God destroy the city and God said He would not (Gen. 18:32).  God even had sent two angels to observe.  Certainly God knew, but He was showing them mercy by having not judged them already.  Everything was confirmed.  The men of Sodom sought to participate in homosexual acts, and while they were inhospitable among other sins (Ezek. 16:48-49) they were guilty because of an abomination (Ezek. 16:50, the same Hebrew word used in Lev. 18:22; 20:13 that links their sin to homosexuality).  Sodom knew of their sin and boasted about it (Is. 3:9).  And the people were rightly judged by God for their sin.  Lastly, in the ten plagues God was going to show the Egyptians, who worshiped many false gods, “that I am the LORD” (Ex. 7:5).  And by these plagues He was going to rescue the people of Israel from their slavery.  God gave Pharaoh plenty of opportunities to repent (Ex. 8:8, 19, 24-28; 9:11, 28; 10:5-6, 17, 24), there were ten plagues after all.  But Pharaoh continual hardened his heart and became monstrously evil, so God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and lured evil into the Red Sea where they were judged because of their sins (Ex. 14:27-28).  In the case of Pharaoh, the Sodomites, and the people living in Noah’s day each reaped what their words and actions had sown (Gal. 6:7-8).  And I pointed out how God was gracious even leading up to these just judgments.

Wrath of God in the NT

A quick look at a passage in Revelation (though more could be selected, John 3:36; Col. 3:5-6) shows how God’s wrath is very much present in the NT.  Rev. 6:15-17 says, “Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’”  Did you catch that?  The wrath of the Lamb, Jesus the Christ.

Romans 1:16-17 beautifully shares the gospel message and the truth that “the righteous shall live by faith.”  Rom. 1:18-3:20 speaks of the utter depravity and sinfulness of man (a message consistent throughout Scripture after the Fall, Gen. 3) and mankind being without hope apart from God’s direct intervention.  Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”  We are by nature “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).  We suppress the truth in our unrighteousness, our sin.  And while the day when God’s wrath will be fully realized is yet to come there are demonstrations of that wrath right now when Paul says “God gave them up…” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28).

As with all the other attributes of God, the wrath of God is one we as Christians should not downsize or be embarrassed by but rather praise and glorify our awesome and holy God for.  The Father sent His Son out of a great love for His elect even when we were wretched sinners who deserved His wrath.  But thanks be to God for Jesus Christ His Son through whom we’ve received grace and mercy.  May we be motivated to share with others of the wrath to come upon sinners and that only by repenting of your sins and believing in Jesus Christ can the wrath of God be removed from us for it was paid in full by Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:25-26; 1 Thess. 1:9-10).

“Q” is for Query the Text

“Q” is for query the text.  We have arrived at that part of the English alphabet that does not lend itself to a plethora of words in general and so is the case when we speak about theology.  While we will get creative toward the end, this week’s newsletter is no less important for us as Christians.  Let’s then understand what is meant by query the text.

In Webster’s 1828 dictionary he defines the term “query” as follows: “a question; an inquiry to be answered or resolved.”  So a query is no more than asking questions so that something can be answered or resolved.  This particular newsletter is titled, “Query the Text” with the understanding that the “Text” refers to sacred Scripture.  So am I asking you to question the Scriptures?  In one sense I am.  We will first take a look at a couple of passages of Scripture that shed some light on what I am thinking and then we will see how we can implement this exercise into our Scripture reading.  But before going further the phrase is not original to me but rather part of a chapter title in John Piper’s book Brother’s We are Not Professionals.

To Think or Not to Think that is the Query

It can be argued that in order to learn something one must ask questions.  We recently received a new game for students (and adults) to play called 9 Square in the Air.  Some of the students didn’t know how to play so they were asking questions about how the game works and how one can win.  This provides them with a framework that having not even played the game before they begin to understand it.  It is likely that many of you had asked a question or two (or lots more) about the Christian faith and the Bible before the Father drew you to the Son (cf. John 6:44).  In fact, that was likely part of the process the Father used in doing so (not that He has to).  And even now as a Christian it is not as though all your questions about the Bible and Christianity have been resolved.

In Acts 17 we read about certain Jews who lived in Berea and this is what Luke records, “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (17:10-11, emphasis mine).  The Bereans were a people “more noble” than the Thessalonians.  Why were they more noble?  The Bereans “received the word with all eagerness” and part of that involved “examining the Scriptures daily” to see if what they were being taught was true.  These were Jews who were learning many new things about Jesus, the Christ.  Things like, He had come and it was Jesus of Nazareth.  Who was crucified, died, and was buried, and on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures (Acts 17:2-3).  So with these things being taught to them by Paul and Silas, teachings they were certainly not hearing from their own religious leaders like the Pharisees and Sadducees, they examined the Scriptures to see if it was so, if it was true.

Now let’s say you were a Berean and you are hearing for the first time from Paul and Silas that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, who suffered and was raised up on the third day.  When you read Isaiah 53, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (vv. 5-6).  When you read this you likely are asking if this prophecy is about Jesus whom Paul and Silas say is the Christ.  How did Isaiah seem to write about crucifixion hundreds of years before Jesus was crucified?  Are my sins in fact forgiven not by the blood of goats and calves but by the blood of Jesus Christ?  As you can see it is quite natural to ask questions when trying to get at a right understanding of the biblical text.  Certainly not all the questions you can come up with can be answered but those pertaining to life and godliness and much more can.  So ask questions.

One other verse stands out for now and that is 2 Timothy 2:7 which says, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”  Now in its immediate context Paul is telling Timothy to think on the three metaphors he just utilized to help Timothy understand the road ahead, even particularly as he ministers in Ephesus.  Like suffering as a good soldier.  While the immediate context is Timothy applying Paul’s words to himself (particularly vv. 1-6) since all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16, see “I” is for Inspiration) there is truth to the fact that for you and I to think over what Paul is saying to Timothy here, or what Moses is saying to the Israelites in Exodus, or what Jesus is saying to the disciples in Mark, to think on these things means we are spending time studying the word.  Then as John Stott said, “We must do the considering, and the Lord will do the giving of understanding” (2 Timothy, 60).  The Holy Spirit will teach us (cf. John 14:25-26) but we cannot sit on our hands never opening up the pages of Scripture and expect to gain insight in it.  But neither should we solely rely on concordances and commentaries to the neglect of the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13).

Beginning Steps

One of our goals is to find unity in divine truth.  For God is a God of order not disorder.  Part of the fear of asking questions is that it seems we are pinpointing problems with God’s word and that is not something we are comfortable doing.  While at first glance it may appear we’ve found an error when texts don’t seem to align the problem is not with the Scriptures but with you, the reader.  John Piper says, “It is impossible to respect the Bible too highly, but it is possible to respect it wrongly. If we do not ask seriously how differing texts fit together, then we are either superhuman (and see all truth at a glance) or indifferent (and don’t care about seeing the coherence of truth)” (Brother’s We are Not Professionals, 76 (older edition)).  Let’s not claim to be superhuman and let’s not be indifferent, or lazy, rather let’s be careful and thoughtful students of the word of God like the Bereans before us.

“J” is for Justification

“J” is for justification.  The doctrine of justification has been at the center of great debate, particularly in the 16th century.  It was Martin Luther who recovered the importance of Paul’s words in Romans 1:17, “The righteous shall live by faith.”  The doctrine of justification by faith alone is, as Luther and Calvin believed, the article by which the church stands or falls.  Nevertheless the importance of a biblical understanding of this doctrine is necessary as much in our day as it was back in the 16th century.

While much of what will be stated in this week’s blog may serve as only review for you hopefully the beauty of this doctrine will cause you to be glad you read to the end.  A definition of justification as it relates to theology is found in Webster’s 1828 dictionary where he writes, “In theology [justification means], remission of sin and absolution from guilt and punishment; or an act of free grace by which God pardons the sinner and accepts him as righteous, on account of the atonement of Christ” (see “A” is for Atonement).

There was, and remains, a great divide on how God pardons the sinner and accepts him (or her) as righteous, on account of the atonement of Christ.  Protestants affirm justification by faith alone.  However, this doctrine is rejected by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).  Certainly much could be said than what you will see here but we will explore the doctrine of justification by faith alone that sparked the Protestant Reformation and see how the RCC rejected it then and still does today.  We will also see how this doctrine is under attack in our own day from the broader culture.  But first we will see what the Bible says about this doctrine and why it is so crucial that we uphold it.

  Justification by Faith Alone

The verb “justified” is used frequently throughout the New Testament and oftentimes means, “to declare righteous.”  Luke 7:29 says, “When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John.”  The phrase “they declared God just” in Greek is literally, “they justified God.”  Certainly Luke is not making the argument that the tax collectors and other people are making God righteous rather they were declaring God to be righteous, or acknowledging this truth about God.  In the OT we see that in a dispute the judges are to “justify the righteous and condemn the wicked” (Deut. 25:1, NASB).  While people want to think they are righteous, or at least more righteous than wicked, the Bible tells us a different story.  We are both sinners by birth (cf. Rom. 5:12-20) and sinners by the decisions we make every day (cf. Rom. 3:9-12, 23).  A double whammy that leaves us dead in our trespasses and sins (cf. Eph. 2:1).  In a world that like talking about “my rights” and what “I deserve” everyone deserves hell and nothing more.  What hope do we have to be made right with God if we are dead in our trespasses and sins?  It is the doctrine of justification by faith alone that was and still is under attack.

A Bold (& False) Statement

Session VI Canon IX of the Council of Trent 1547, a standing council of the RCC, states “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”  It is not as though the RCC is against faith and the grace of God BUT they are vehemently opposed to faith alone as the means of our justification.  For it states, “Let him be anathema” or “accursed” or “eternally condemned.” Thus if it is not faith alone the logical conclusion we can draw is that it is faith plus something.  Which immediately goes against the teachings of Scripture like Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast” (see also Rom. 3:28; 4:3-5; 5:1; Gal. 2:15-21).

Reformation in Our Day

We switch gears to a reformation needed in our own day.  On the news and in the newspaper we read about people seeking justice for a number of things.  When it comes to our standing with God we should not be so quick to cry out to God for justice since as David said, “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Ps. 130:3).  If God dealt with us as our sins deserved, if God gave us justice, NO ONE could stand.  Our “good” is not good enough in God’s sight.  And God cannot merely overlook our sin for that would go against His character.  But God is the just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 3:26).  Wait a minute, if God is the justifier, the One who declares us to be righteous, what happens to my boasting about how good a person I am and all the good things I do?  “Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Rom. 3:27-28).  So far in this section we’ve seen that justification by works is out and justification by “God will overlook my sin because its me” is out.  We are justified, declared righteous, not because of our merits or anything in us.  Luther said the righteousness by which we are declared just before a holy God is extra nos (outside of us).  It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imputed to all who put their trust in Him.  To “impute” means to reckon to one what does not belong to him.  What takes place is God reckons our sins to Christ, which don’t belong to Him since He lived a perfect life, but Christ willingly takes them upon Himself and pays the penalty for sin on the cross.  So our sin is imputed to Christ and His righteousness, which He obtained through His perfect obedience to the Father’s will, is reckoned to us who most certainly are not righteous apart from Jesus Christ.  We are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.