One of the great threads throughout the Old and New Testaments is the theme of righteousness. There are only two aspects of righteousness, firstly there is the righteousness that is accepted by God and secondly the righteousness that God rejects but which we prefer.
But before I move on further I wish to make an observation concerning the English translation of righteousness that is found in all versions. In both the Hebrew and Greek languages, there is one word that is translated as either just or righteous. In Hebrew, the word istsadaq, and in Greek, it is dikaioo. But no matter how it is translated, it is the same word. In English, we tend to refer to just in terms of legality and law, but righteousness in terms of character and conduct. There is no such division in the languages of the Bible. Having been 'justified by His blood' means the same thing as 'having been made righteous by His blood. '
How many of us know and understand that the righteousness that is acceptable to God is a Gift? This means that cannot earn it, neither do we deserve it, nor is it ours by right. It is a free, unmerited gift. You either receive it as a gift, or you live without it. The choice is yours. Romans 12:17 NIV
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
As you may be aware the scriptures speak of three tenses of righteousness. We were made righteousness at the time of rebirth and our sins are forgotten. We are then called to walk and live in righteousness. We will be made as righteous as Christ when we meet him.
But so often we fail to walk in righteousness for we succumb to the devils lies and we place ourselves under condemnation as we feel it is too presumptuous to consider ourselves anything but a sinner saved by grace. We must move on from this sin-conscious. There is one to thing the devil fights against as powerfully as anything else, and that is any person who begins to realize what it is to be made righteous by faith. Satan will keep you, by any means that he can, under some measure of condemnation and guilt, and he'll keep you feeling very religious about it, too.
One of the saddest scriptures is found in Romans 10:1-3 NIV
Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
We in the church today stive by our actions and thoughts to 'establish our own righteousness.' I have heard people say that I have served in the church for years, been on the deacons court and been faithful yet my prayer for this or that is not been answered. Do we really believe that God answers our prayers because we merit Gods favour?
Much of our church liturgy and hymnals tend to keep us under condemnation 'that we are not good enough.' So many of church goers are striving to live holy life's and live according to the sermon on the mount and wonder why they are not living abundant victorious life's. We live as if God owes us his blessings. As long as the enemy can keep us from realizing that to walk in righteousness is to cease striving and surrender he is happy. We believe the deception that we are not good enough for God and so we are told 'more faith' is needed.
We need to believe in our heart that we are 'right with God' and confess every day that we are righteous. That to walk in faith not feeling guilty but walking as a son or daughter of God who has at their disposal all the blessings in the heavenly realm and can do mightier works that Jesus did when we walked the earth.
Do we really believe this? Righteousness is a gift that no one deserves. It is a free unmerited gift which you either receive as a gift or do without.
Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.11Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. Ps 85:10-11 NIV
To reckon ourselves as righteous and walk accordingly is to have peace kiss our hearts while our love for God drives our faithfulness to live righteously before him all our days.
Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide
"To reckon ourselves as righteous and walk accordingly is to have peace kiss our hearts while our love for God drives our faithfulness to live righteously before him all our days."
We must never forget who we are in Christ. We must remember who we were without Him, an orphan, separated from God and in bondage to sin. However, in remembering that we must remember something else even more. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus and our sins have been blotted out. We are no longer God's enemy or an orphan, we are His child.
You have touched on a subject that is both profound and yet simple as so much of our doctrine as believers is. To reckon ourselves righteous when everyday we think or do something that tells us we are not is difficult to comprehend. I struggled with this for years until as you wrote I stopped trying to be righteous and simple look to Him who has established my righteousness with His death and resurrection. When our focus and attention is on Him and not ourselves we are walking after the Spirit not the flesh. How does the old hymn say it, "the things of earth grow strangely dim," we forget that we worship a supernatural God of power and ability that can transform us simply by dwelling in His presence in our hearts and minds. God Bless, a great blog and a message we need to hear often.
Righteousness, Free gift, Condemnation and Victory.
"One of the great threads throughout the Old and New Testaments is the theme of righteousness. There are only two aspects of righteousness, firstly there is the righteousness that is accepted by God and secondly the righteousness that God rejects but which we prefer."
I thought your introductory line and your first paragraph above were a great preface to the excellent manner in which you addressed "The Sin Consciousness of Believers." I enjoyed reading this very much.
The Christian walk is simply becoming who we are.
It's kind of like, believe it and get out of the way! He has given us all we need for life and Godliness. We can't do it but He certainly has!