How is one saved? Scripture says we are saved by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). We must repent of our sins and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).
But what is the gospel? Surely the gospel is not a mere theoretical or abstract concept. To be clear, the gospel is not a thing, but a person—the person and work of Jesus Christ.
When we believe in the gospel, we are not only affirming that Jesus’s work is finished, but we are trusting that it is sufficient for us. That is where this “forensic righteousness” comes in. You see, we not only needed someone to die for us—to pay the penalty for our sins—but we also needed someone to live for us—to live a spotless life on our behalf.
That’s exactly what Jesus did.
When we place our hope, our faith, our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, not only is all our sin transferred, or imputed, to Him, but all His righteousness is credited to us. In an instant we go from full of sin, to having no sin; we go from having negative righteousness to having perfect righteousness. God declares* us righteous in Christ. We have a forensic righteousness—a righteousness that exists outside ourselves. It is not our own. We are not our own, but were bought with a price.
Friend, you have the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That’s why no person may boast. When God sees us, He sees Jesus, His perfect Son who is our substitute. Let us marvel at the glories of this forensic righteousness and gaze upon the beauties of the finished work of Jesus Christ today.
*It’s drastically important to emphasize that God didn’t make us righteous, but declared us righteous. The former is Roman Catholic doctrine of infused righteousness; the latter is historical Protestant thought.