The Righteousness of God in Standing and State

By Jesse Roy Jones

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine, March, 1926


However clearly a truth may be taught in the Word, the devil will always find some benighted souls to wage warfare against it. The truth of Standing and State has its enemies among those of Pentecostal and Arminian beliefs. But to the willing soul there is nothing so comforting and so steadying as the wonderful fact of a new and unchanging Standing before God and the possibilities of new manifestations in the State of the believer on earth. Read here and be blessed.

we have peace with God through our Lord
Jesus Christ :
"By Whom also
into this grace wherein we stand."

THIS is the opening statement in the fifth chapter of Romans where the Apostle Paul reaches a climax in his discussion of the great doctrine of justification which he has so wonderfully set forth in the two preceding chapters of this inspired epistle to the Church of Jesus, Christ. Epitomizing the teaching of the third and fourth chapters of Romans, we find that justification is that divine act of God whereby He declares righteous the unrighteous person because of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This, of course, is contrary to all human philosophy. Man's idea of gaining favor with God is by doing good works. But the Word of God plainly declares that "to him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5). Hence we see that the righteousness of God is not something that can be obtained by good works, but rather it is imputed to us through simple faith in His only begotten Son — in Him "Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). This, we are forced to recognize, is doing that which from the human point of view is impossible. It is, in reality, "calling those things which be not as though they were" (Rom. 4:17). And that is just exactly what God alone can do, and does, since His righteousness is imputed on the ground of faith in Christ, and Christ is declared by the Word of God to be the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). Therefore we can say that "being justified by faith" is "being declared righteous by God."

"Standing and State" is that important teaching held by all thorough Bible students whereby a clear-cut distinction is made between what a person is in the sight of God and what he is in the eyes of the world. There are, many expressions found in the Word of God, especially in the Pauline Epistles, which are easily detected by the most casual reader and which serve as unmistakable clues to this valuable line of truth. "In Christ" and "with Christ" are the outstanding expressions used) by the Spirit of God to set forth the believer's standing in God's sight. "In the flesh"1 and "in the world" are the most familiar expressions used by the Spirit to set' forth the believer's state. There are also two contrasting words which we should not overlook and which set forth in wonderful fashion this blessed truth. These two words are "sit" and "walk." Many earnest Christians, however, will not accept the truth of standing and state because they say that nowhere in the Bible can such words be found. In order to demonstrate to those who question the occurrence of these words and to show the : agreement existing between them and the above mentioned words and phrases which reveal the truth, we will set forth in two columns the passages which contain the very words themselves and the other words and expressions which teach the truth of standing and state.

Passages on Standing


Passages on State

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (I Cor. 15:1)


But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. (Phil. 2:19)
Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. (II Cor. 1:24)   Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Phil. 4:11)


There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, (Rom. 8:1)


  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Cor. 4:11)
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (I Cor. 1:30)


  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
Therefore if any man be in Christhe is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Cor. 5:17)


  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Phil. 2:15)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: (Eph 1:1)


  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:20)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Eph. 2:6)


  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: (Col. 2:6)

The average grammar school student can detect the difference between that which the Spirit of God is conveying in the passages in the left-hand column and that which He is clearly stating in the passages in the column to the right. The passages to the left very definitely teach that the believer "in Christ Jesus" has a perfect and unchanging standing before God which is a spiritual relation obtained through faith in Him. The passages to the right teach that in our "walk" down here on this earth, conditions and circumstances are continually changing and the flesh — this body of our humiliation — is constantly being subjected to these ever changing conditions and circumstances which are not always pleasant or conducive to spirituality. Hence, it is our purpose in this brief discussion to show how the righteousness of God not only gives the believer a perfect standing, but that the same righteousness which is his in his unchanging standing before God may be appropriated in his ever changing state among men.

At the very outset we showed how the righteousness of God is imputed to the person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. This imputed righteousness gives the believer his unchanging standing before God (Rom. 8:1). This is the reason why God could say that David was a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22), although we know that David was guilty of both murder and adultery. We must not forget that David's iniquity did not affect his perfect standing before God any more than his good deeds had any part in obtaining such a standing. It was his faith that was counted for righteousness (Rom. 4:5). "Even as David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works" is the testimony of divine revelation concerning this man who met with favor in the eyes of God.

In like manner we find the same attitude taken by God in connection with Jacob. Everybody who has ever read the story of Jacob is forced to recognize the sinfulness of this important character in God's Holy Book. But the record of Scripture is that God "hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel" (Num. 23:2 1 ).2 Why? Because "his faith (was) counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the innumerable multitude of others who are listed in "Faith's Hall of Fame," though not without sin, were in their standing before God declared righteous. These all "obtained a good report through faith" (Heb. 11:39).

"We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand" Did you ever stop to think what that means, dear reader? The writer remembers two young men whose father was exceedingly wealthy. Both boys had access by right of family connection into their father's wealth. Neither one had any reason to lack any good thing, since they were sons of a rich man. Nobody could fail to identify the elder of these young men at any time or any place. He made good use of the privileges which were afforded him by his father. His raiment and his manners were always characteristic of a member of a family of wealth. But just the opposite was true of the younger boy. He abused the rights and privileges which were his. He fell into evil habits of drinking and carousing. He truly wasted his father's substance in riotous living. He neither dressed like the son of a rich man, nor had he the demeanor of a member of a family of wealth. On certain occasions he looked and acted more like a vagabond than the son of a rich man. What was the trouble? He had identically the same rights and privileges as the other son; he had the same access to his father's means as his brother, — and yet his appearance failed to bear testimony to the fact. Why? Simply because he abused the proper use of his standing. His standing was that of the son of a rich man. His state was that of a beggar or vagabond because of the misappropriation of riches which were his in his standing.

With slight modifications, the same story as related above can be told over and over again in connection with scores upon scores of Christians in their spiritual relationship. A Christian is a child of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:26). "As many as received Him, to them gave He the power (or right, or privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12). As sons of God we are blessed "with all spiritual blessings in heavenly 'things' in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). This is our standing which was obtained by the righteousness of God through faith "in Christ." Now the question is, "What are we, as children of God, doing with our rights and privileges?"

"We have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand." What is "this grace wherein we stand?" It is nothing less than the glorious grace of justification. It is the joy of being in that position where God says we are just as righteous in His sight as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The sad condition which we face today is that believers do not enter into the joys and the blessings of this grace wherein they stand. There is only one reason why they do not. It is not because they have no access into it, for the passage definitely says, "We have access." The difficulty lies in the failure to note the little phrase which immediately follows, i.e., "by faith." We have access by faith. But "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23). Hence, we can trace all failure to enjoy the righteousness which is ours in our standing to the sin of unbelief. This was why Israel was kept out of the promised land. For identically. the same reason believers are kept from the promised blessings of imputed righteousness. The promised land was Israel's Utopia, so far as material blessings were concerned. To the believer in this age the promised land becomes a wonderful picture or type of the spiritual blessings which are ours in Christ Jesus. Perfect righteousness is one of these outstanding blessings. We have, here and now, access to this same perfect righteousness by the same faith by which it became ours in our standing, and His appeal to us is that as we "have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord," so we should "walk . . . in Him" (Col. 2:6).

When we appropriate by faith this righteousness of God which we have in our standing, there is no limit to the results which are possible down here in our state, which is so subjected to the changing influences of this present evil age. There is a three-fold blessing vouchsafed to every believer "in Christ Jesus." This is set forth in wonderful fashion in Isa. 32:17, where we read that "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." Primarily, of course, this refers to Israel's Kingdom blessings. But we must remember, as we have stated before, that Israel's Kingdom blessings are a picture of our spiritual blessings "in Christ Jesus." That is our "standing." The same blessing of peace in our standing is restated in Romans 5:1-2 with the marvelous additions. truth of appropriation in our "state." By being declared righteous we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank God for such a rich blessing! Peace is the crying need of a sin-sick world, and it become, a reality through faith in Christ. But the thing needed among Christians today is an appropriation in their "state of this and the many other grace-blessings which are our in our "standing" "in Christ Jesus." And the second verse of Romans 5 tells us that "we have access." Besides the blessed fruitage of peace, quietness and assurance which are truly wonderful blessings, there are a host of others, such as love, joy, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal. 5:22-23.

What more could the Christian ask for than this Unlimited righteousness is deposited to his credit in his "standing," and free access to it is granted to him in his "state." Shall we use or abuse our glorious privilege?



1) A word of explanation is necessary concerning; the expression "in the flesh ." Generally this refers to the physical body in which the soul dwells and which limits the soul in its state on earth. Quite, frequently, however, it is used in connection with the old nature — the first Adam which resides in the flesh of every man, woman, boy and girl that is born into this old world. Consequently, in whichever connection we find the expression "in the flesh," it always has to do with the state of the person, whether it be the soul simply living in the flesh body, or the soul in the flesh under the dominion of the old nature.

2) This passage refers primarily to Israel nationally, but since God uses the name "Jacob" and also his later name "Israel to designate the entire nation, there is undoubtedly a secondary reference in this statement to Jacob himself.