I just finished reading The Fellowship of the Ring for the first time.
When I read about Frodo's mail-shirt, the one Bilbo gave him, the one made of priceless, rare mithril, I thought the mail-shirt was a great representation of the righteousness of Christ.
The books says,
"What?" cried Gimli, startled out of his silence. "A corset of Moria-silver? That was a kingly gift!"
"Yes," said Gandalf. "I never told him, but its worth was greater than the value of the whole Shire and everything in it."
Frodo said nothing, but he put his hand under his tunic and touched the rings of his mail-shirt. He felt staggered to think that he had been walking about with the price of the Shire under his jacket.
As a Christian, I can relate well to this passage. When I asked Jesus to be my Savior and received his forgiveness for all my sins at the beginning of my faith journey, it was like He gave me a mail-shirt to cover me, only it was not made of mithril. I was covered with the righteousness of Christ.
Like Frodo, I did not totally understood how precious this gift was when I first received it. I was just desperate for forgiveness the way Frodo was desperate for anything that might offer him protection on his difficult journey.
And like Frodo, I wore Christ's righteousness for a while before I started to realize how precious it was. But, by reading the Bible over the years and by going through trials, I realized more and more of what I possessed through my faith in Jesus.
"But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding
of his blood--to be received by faith." Romans 3:21-25
It was when I read passages like this one in Romans that I had moments like Frodo had, where I would gasp, touch my heart, and be moved to tears by how precious the grace of God is, this grace that covers me. And like Frodo, after experience and trails, I came to realize more and more how very safe I am covered by His grace like Frodo was safe because he was covered by the shirt of priceless mithril.
Of course, I still don't claim to fully understand the value of all I have through faith in Jesus, but I trust this gift of God more and more everyday. My experiences teach me to depend not on my own strength or virtue, but in His righteousness, that same righteousness that He imparted to me in the very beginning.
When I fail, it's like I am Frodo, driven against the wall by the spear of the troll in the deep, dark places of Moria. And if it weren't for Christ's righteous, I'd be doomed. I'd be doomed now and when I have to stand before God at the end of my days. But, like Frodo, I will stand up again and again, not because I am worthy, but because Jesus is worthy and He gave His perfect life to cover me. By grace through faith I am safe. Now. And forevermore.