You’re sitting undercover one afternoon and you begin to hear drops of rain on the roof. There’s not many to begin with and then it starts to get heavier. It’s such a beautiful afternoon, so you decide to stand out in the rain. You move out from under the cover of shelter and you just stand there, with your arms outstretched and your face looking up to the sky.
Almost immediately the rain completely drenches you. It seeps through all your clothes, even your shoes and socks. You’re completely saturated and all you have done is stand outside – you didn’t have to find water, fill any buckets, or splash water on yourself – the skies rained down water and completely drenched you, and you’re happy!
You open your eyes and look around you, and there are others, like you, standing drenched and happy in the rain too. Nobody is any more or less drenched than anyone else, and nobody did any more or less than anyone else to become so. You’ve all been rained upon completely, and you’re all happy.
Righteousness Showered Down Like Rain
This is similar imagery to what God uses when He talks about the righteousness and acceptance that He bestows upon people:
“Shower down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I, the LORD, generate all this.” – Isaiah 45:8.
Where is righteousness coming from? Where is the origin of salvation for the people of the earth? Who creates the righteousness people have before God? It does not begin with people. It is not created by people. The earth is utterly powerless to produce fruit without God raining upon it, and in the same way, people are utterly powerless in saving themselves or making themselves acceptable without God raining His righteousness upon them. When it comes to people being accepted before God, He says, ‘I, the LORD, generate all this’ – It is totally and completely a work of God.
A Call To Surrender
The call therefore is this: to totally surrender the job of becoming acceptable before God; to forsake all ideas of securing acceptance before God by anything we do, and to lean fully on what God says He will rain upon us! One of the greatest tragedies is when people are ‘ignorant of the righteousness from God [that He bestows upon people], and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they do not submit themselves to the righteousness from God’ (Romans 10:2-3). What a sad thing it is when people are ignorant of ‘the free gift of righteousness’ (Romans 5:17) that God ‘counts’ or ‘credits’ or ‘bestows’ upon those who believe His saving work in Jesus (Romans 4:24). Rain is a beautiful reminder that our acceptance before God is not our own doing.
On what basis does God shower His righteousness on people? The answer is beautifully simple: God sent His Son Jesus into the earth, and he lived the perfectly righteous life of God because God was with him. God raised His Son Jesus from the dead because of the beauty of his life. God then invites the human race to embrace His Son, and to trust, not in any goodness they have lived, but in the perfectly righteous and beautiful life of Jesus which is accounted to them by God:
“By the righteousness of my servant [Jesus] shall many be accounted as righteous.” – Isaiah 53:11
“The ones who have been made righteous because of their faith, will live forever.” – Romans 1:17
“By the righteousness of one, the free gift of righteousness and life came upon all [who believe]… by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” – Romans 5:18-19
“In Christ, I don’t have a righteousness of my own which comes from law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” – Philippians 3:9
Acceptance Through Jesus
We have no righteousness that belongs to us. The only righteousness we have, the only acceptance we have, is what God gives to us because of our belief and dependence on His salvation, Jesus’ life of righteousness. It’s because of our belief in Jesus’s work that we become righteous, not because of our own work. God takes us as a beloved child of His because of our faith and love for His beloved Son Jesus:
“The Father Himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” – John 16:27
“To all who received him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father’.” – John 14:21
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God; and so we are.” – 1 John 3:1
No wonder Paul calls the good news for the world ‘the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… for in it the righteousness from God is revealed.’ (Romans 1:16-17). God accepting people and making them righteous without any acceptable performance or righteousness of their own is a truly moving message. Let’s finish with some testimonies from people in the Old Testament who experienced it:
“My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. And my tongue will talk of your righteousness all the day long.” – Psalm 71:23-24
“Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” – Psalm 51:14-15
“Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of His servant!” Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.” – Psalm 35:28
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” – Isaiah 61:10
The big question is: Do you truly believe this righteousness is available for you and belongs to you through faith in Jesus Christ, no matter what your life currently looks like? If so, then there is every reason to take hold of Jesus as your saviour, and rejoice because of your acceptance, righteousness and salvation in him.
For further references see Isaiah 45:24-25; Isaiah 46:12-13; Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:15-16; Jeremiah 51:10; Daniel 9:24; Luke 18:9-14; Romans 9:30-31; Romans 10:10; Revelation 19:8
NB Most verses quoted throughout this article have been sourced from the New International Version, although on some occasions the English Standard Version has also been quoted. If there are any questions regarding the different translations and uses of bible verses, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!