Justification by faith alone, How appropriate for this Reformation Day!
I cannot stand before God in His perfect holiness, God requires perfect righteousness and obedience to His law, which no matter how hard I try I'll never reach that point because I am a sinner. Everything that I do (even good things) is tainted with sin.
John Calvin said that, "unless you first grasp what your relationship to God is and the nature of His judgement concerning you, You have neither a foundation on which to establish your own salvation nor one on which to build piety toward God."
This is why I need someone else to stand in my place, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, "How can a sinner be justified in the sight of God? He can only be justified if another man stands in his place and offers perfect obedience or righteouness that God requires. This is exactly what Jesus has done for the person who looks to Him in faith. Jesus lived in perfect righteousness and suffered the penalty that was intended for me, which resulted in his crucifixion on the cross.
Jesus was then raised from the dead a sign that His perfect sacrifice was accepted by the Father. When Jesus cried, "It is finished" it was truly finished, his perfect work of righteousness paid in full for sin and brought glory and honor to the Father.
In light of that, I can never be good enough to merit justification in God's eyes. It's only by faith alone in Jesus' work that I am justified. Thank You Jesus for your perfect righteousness, thank you for standing in my place and taking the punishment that I so rightly deserved.