The short answer. Jesus lived for my righteousness, died for my sins, and rose from the dead for my justification. Let me explain.
Dead men stay dead. Not Jesus. He rose from the dead.
The fact of the resurrection is a matter of history. So too the crucifixion of Christ. There is no doubt Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead. These events are a matter of record in four complementary accounts written by eyewitnesses (i.e., Matthew, John) or close associates of eyewitnesses (i.e., Mark, Luke).
Paul says the same thing in his epistle to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,  and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.  Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
Paul also tells us why Jesus died. This goes beyond history. He explains the reason for his death. “He died for our sins.” “For” means in our place as our substitute. This was in keeping with Old Testament teaching. It is “in accordance with the Scriptures.”
Jesus also explains the reason for his death.
Matthew 20:26-28 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
He gave his life as a ransom or payment for many. A ransom is paid to order to gain the release of someone from slavery, prison, or captivity. It redeems them or purchases their freedom.
If you are in a debtor’s prison you cannot pay your debt to get out. Someone else must pay it for you. That is what Christ did on the cross. He paid your debt. It is like someone paying off your mortgage when the bank is about to foreclose on your own home and force you into bankruptcy. He saves you.
In the words of Charles Spurgeon.
“We were poor as owlets. We were bankrupt debtors; all we had was sold; we were left naked, and poor, and miserable, and we could by no means find a ransom; it was just then that Christ stepped in, and, in the stead of all believers, paid the ransom that we might in that hour be delivered from the curse of the law and the vengeance of God and go our way free, justified by his blood.”
But not only does Christ pay my debt, he makes a lavish deposit into my bank account and makes me rich!
Romans 4:22-25 This is why “it was credited to him [Abraham] as righteousness.”  The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone,  but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.  He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Jesus was “delivered over to death for our sins.” That means he suffered and died in our place to pay the debt we owed. As a result, our indebtedness to God is cancelled. We owe him nothing. But there is more.
Notice, he was also “raised to life for our justification.” Justification is a legal term. It has two elements. First, it is a judicial declaration of “not guilty.” Christ took my guilt when he took my sin. I am no longer guilty in the sight of God.
Second, it is a declaration that one is “righteous.” A justified person is more than innocent, he is positively righteous. But where does this righteousness come from in our case? It comes from Christ. It is outside of us and foreign to us. How is that possible?
Jesus lived a sinless life. He committed no sins. But more, he lived a righteous life. He obeyed all God’s commands. This was vital for our salvation. It is the basis by which we are declared righteous. Let me explain.
In verses above we see that Abraham believed the promise of the gospel in Genesis 12:6. He trusted in the sinless life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection of Christ. It was credited to him as righteousness. He was justified by faith. Abraham looked forward and believed. We look backward and believe. This transfer of righteousness is called imputation. I am declared, counted, and credited as righteous by God. In Christ, I am justified.
Hallelujah. Jesus died for my sins and lived for my righteousness! He paid my debt and gave me his riches. Therefore I am declared not guilty and righteous at the same time. That is justification. This was a mainstay of Paul’s teaching.
2 Corinthian 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The resurrection proves two things. First, Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life. Therefore, he had to be vindicated by God the Father and the Holy Spirit and declared the Son of God in resurrection power.
Romans 1:1-4 (NASB) Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,  which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,  concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,  who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
1 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
Second, the price he paid to God was accepted as payment in full for the sins of the world to be received by faith. If Jesus is still in the grave, we remain in our sins. Why? Because his sacrifice was defective and inadequate. It fell short. Our faith is worthless.
1 Corinthians 15:14, 17-19 (ESV) And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. …  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. [18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact, he fulfilled all righteousness. As I learned in seminary decades ago.
“He substitutes for his people with active obedience fulfilling the requirements of the Law, and passive obedience suffering the penalty of the Law. Thereby he satisfied God’s justice and righteousness and holiness, at the same time showing forth God’s grace and love.”
Let me close. I love Paul’s convictions and aspirations in his letter to the Philippians. He wants to know Christ, gain Christ and be found in Christ. Therefore, he renounces all religious attainments that could be used for personal gain. He also renounces all self-righteousness. Paul glories in a righteousness outside of himself. The righteousness of Christ imputed, credited, and transferred to his account.
Philippians 3:7-10 (NASB) But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,  and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;  in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul also wants to know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings. This power gives him the courage and strength to endure the sufferings endured by Christ. He is not about comfort and ease. He preaches the righteousness of Christ and exposes the self-righteousness of Judaism. They hated him for it.
To know Christ is to renounce worldly gain, believe in his substitutionary death, be clothed in his righteousness, embrace his sufferings, and experience the power of his resurrection.
This Easter Sunday make knowing Christ the goal of your life. There is nothing that compares.
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