Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Receiving Righteousness: Freely received or Earned and Achieved?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

We have been in an extended study of Righteousness. We are focusing extensively on receiving of the Gift of Righteousness. It is not enough to know you have been made Righteous we must also receive of that gift in every area of our lives to see the full benefits.

 We have seen how Righteousness blesses and strengthens relationships, how Righteousness covers our faults and failures. We have seen the healing power in God's gift of Righteousness.

 Today, it seems good to examine a major truth we touched on in our last study. When it comes to healing or any other promise, often people tend to focus on their works, their doings and not on Jesus' perfect work and once-for-all-time sacrifice. They aren't seeing the finality of the Cross, but merely the beginning of the work. They see the Cross as the downpayment and their actions, performance, and efforts as the continued payments needed to appropriate all God has for them.
 The Cross is a Finished Work. It is final, once for all time. Jesus said it is finished, not, to be continued. The finality of the Cross is what the writer of Hebrews rejoiced over. With Christ's once for all sacrifice there can be no other sacrifice offered. Therefore our works, our performance, our attempts to earn or achieve the blessing, are unaccepted currency.

  So to understand the finality of the Cross, we must first ask the most important question in the universe next to the question of who do you say Jesus is. What must I do to be saved? This seems so basic, so elementary yet it is the foundation of our entire relationship with God. 

 Let's allow Paul to answer this question.

He then led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved.” Acts 16:30-31 MEV

 What must we do to be saved? Believe. We simply must believe. Any response other than only believe is in serious error and opens the door to all types of burdensome toil in relating to God. 

 There are those who hold to the idea that only believing makes the Gospel too easy. That believing is not enough. You have to promise God you will quit being bad and will start being good. You have to promise God you will give up all your bad habits right away. If you don't then you really aren't saved.

 If salvation must be earned in some way shape or form then all the promises of God must be received in the same manner. What must we do to be saved? Believe. Paul said to believe. Paul didn't say believe but also stop smoking, stop gambling, stop your cussing. Behavior change happens from the inside out, not by our outward efforts and works.

 Still, some acknowledge salvation is by Faith alone but put stipulations and clauses on receiving all the other promises of God. They will quickly agree we are saved by believing in Jesus but healing or provision? Better earn it, better get busy achieving it, activate the promise by your actions, your doing, your efforts.

 They will use phrases like you need to position yourself to receive it. Answered prayer, God's provision, healing, favor, blessing? You have to live exemplary lives, free from all sin, no strife or unforgiveness allowed, and then and only then will you possibly receive. Salvation is freely received by believing but everything else is on a wage and earning system?

 If salvation is only received by Grace through Faith then so are all the other promises and provision of God. We aren't Righteous by works or any other thing we have done. We are Righteous by what Christ has done. In the same manner, we are only healed, prospered, blessed, favored, and protected by what Christ has done not by what we have done.

 Look at provision. Paul declared a powerful truth in 2 Corinthians 8. he revealed the Grace of Jesus who through His poverty we might be increased. Christ bore the curse of poverty on the Cross. So what brings the increase? Our doing or was it Jesus' Grace and His becoming poor so we could be blessed?

 Listen, I am not suggesting all believers are promised that they will be millionaires but I am sharing what Jesus provided on the Cross. How could imperfect humanity dare ask a thrice Holy God to provide for their needs? It's because of Jesus' work. The Cross made it possible to receive provision and blessing in this life.

 The Cross provided the wholeness we all need. The Finished Work provided salvation, Righteousness, healing, provision, deliverance, protection, and direct access to the Father. It is Jesus' work that has achieved this not our works. It's by His stripes we are healed, not our efforts. It's by His becoming poor that we have divine provision, not any action on our part. 

 On that Cross, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Christ's perfect work of redemption perfectly purchased our complete wholeness. We are redeemed through His work. So if the work of the Cross is only appropriated by simply believing then why add stipulations to receive the other aspects of redemption, that is, healing, protection, or provision? 

 In summation, the work of the Cross is only realized and received by Grace through Faith. Therefore, your healing, your provision, your protection, your favor, your wholeness is received by simply believing. 

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 8:10 MEV

 Freely we have received. That word freely Jesus uses here is the Greek word meaning undeserved. We have received because of Jesus' goodness not our own. So in times of need, look not at your performance, your efforts or achievements, or even your giving. Look only at Jesus' perfect work, put your whole trust and Faith in that alone and freely receive all He has freely provided. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, May 10, 2021

Receiving Righteousness: Divine Healing and Wholeness

 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

We've been in an extended study of Righteousness. We've seen what Righteousness is, right standing with God. We've seen who the Righteous are, those who trust in Him alone, and now we are focusing on the necessity to receive of this gift of Righteousness in every area of our lives and our walk with God.

 We have seen how Righteousness received positively affects and influences our relationships. We have seen how Righteousness received is the cure for guilt and shame when we fail. Today, we want to examine the healing power received in the gift of Righteousness. 

 When it comes to healing and wholeness, the Body of Christ as a whole seems to struggle knowing if healing is God's will. Let's look at Jesus' attitude about sickness and disease for a Bible response. Look at Mark 1. Here we see Jesus' willingness to cleanse and make whole. Why would He withhold from you if the motivation to heal was because of His great compassion?

 Look at Matthew's gospel to see Jesus' idea of ministry. There is not a single person Jesus turned away. There is not a single person we ever see Jesus telling that "this disease or virus or sickness is there to build your character, to evangelize, for others will see how happy you suffer and die, or this is for God's glory." He simply healed all who came to Him.

Surely our sicknesses he hath borne, And our pains -- he hath carried them, And we -- we have esteemed him plagued, Smitten of God, and afflicted. And he is pierced for our transgressions, Bruised for our iniquities, The chastisement of our peace [is] on him, And by his bruise there is healing to us. Isaiah 53:4-5 YLT 

 God sent His Son on our behalf. It was Jesus' perfect work on the Cross that perfectly procured and purchased our healing and wholeness. However when it comes to receiving we muddy the waters so to speak, trying to earn or deserve a touch of healing. We feel we must earn or be worthy enough to receive His healing. 
We look within ourselves to deem whether or not we qualify for wholeness. We look at our diet, our exercise, or lack thereof as a plus or a minus. Instead of looking to the Word, the Cross, and Jesus' perfect work we look inwardly to ensure we've completed enough spiritual disciplines. Or we look outwardly onto our actions, behavior or choices. 

So often our focus is not on what Jesus has already done but on what we are doing. Or we look at what we aren't doing, and not what Jesus has done for us. Our perspective shifts from the finality of the Cross, Jesus' once for all perfect sacrifice onto our own performance, our achievements, or onto actions we feel we aren't doing enough of. Jesus' Finished Work was enough, we can't add to it or take away from it by our doing or lack of doing. 

 We can't undo what only Christ, God's Grace, and His shed blood could attain. Look at the perfect beautiful work of that Cross. Jesus poured out all He has for all that we were not, never could attain to, and never could achieve. He became something He never was so we could become something we've never been.

 This is the beauty of this simple Good News Gospel of Grace. God created man for the purpose of family and fellowship but man chose rebellion and self. All mankind since have been born separated spiritually, in need of a Savior. God became a man, paid the price, shedding His sinless spotless perfect blood paying the debt of all mankind. Now whosoever receives this free gift of eternal life, trusting in Christ alone receives total forgiveness of all their sins and the gift of perfect righteousness; right standing, acceptance, and approval with God permanently.

 When we receive of the gift of Righteousness, we move away from trying to earn or qualify for what Christ has accomplished and provided. We don't look at our achievements we look upon the Finished Work and trust in, cling to and receive what Jesus bled and died and rose again for us to possess. Righteousness says I receive because of what Jesus did not what I do or don't do. 

 In Genesis 20 we see the first mention of divine healing. Traditionally some people equate healing with sin or wrongdoing, as if sickness is mostly the byproduct of personal sin. Certainly, when sin entered the World, sickness, disease and death followed. 

 But is that what we are to understand about healing in it’s first mention? No! Abraham offered prayers for healing and he is the one who had lied, failed to trust God, and put his needs above his wife's by giving her away. Yet, God answered Abraham’s prayer for healing for Abimelech. The first mention of healing is revealing the goodness and faithfulness of God. That is it was His goodness that provided the healing not Abraham’s. God answered the prayer for healing because of Covenant, because of His mercy and loving kindness. He brought forth healing because He is good not because Abraham was.

 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

 God is a Good Father. God anointed Jesus, the Son with the Spirit and He went about Israel healing all. This passage doesn't state that Jesus healed only the deserving. Only those who had their spiritual disciplines perfected. Only those whose good outweighed their bad. 

 This passage doesn't state but Jesus refused to heal all those whose sin caused the affliction in the first place. Or He refused to heal those who had not walked in love and forgiveness. It didn't state Jesus reserved healing for only the most deserving. 

 Because of the gift of Righteousness we can receive healing and wholeness apart from our performance or behavior. We can walk in His healing power apart from our ability to always forgive others quickly. We can freely receive because the price was freely paid by our perfect Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Certainly, walking in love and being quick to forgive is a wonderful fruit of our new nature. Of course, not living in sin is a great witness to those around us and brings a joy to our heart because we are living out of our new nature. Yet these fruits aren't the root of how and why we receive healing or any promise. We receive because the gift of Righteousness has made us accepted and approved of God and the shed blood made us worthy to receive.

 In summation, we can receive healing and wholeness because of Jesus' perfect work and never our own attempts to merit or earn anything from God. Let me also say, living in a fractured and fallen world, no one has all the answers as to why some didn't receive their healing. Why some died prematurely. Why some prayed and their loved one passed.

 Knowing God through Jesus and His perfect Word though we can trust and know that God is always good and never the author or "sender" of sickness, disease or disaster. That there is nothing that can ever disqualify us from receiving all God has purchased for us at Calvary. That God is no respecter of persons, that Faith moves mountain and all believers have Faith, and we can speak to that mountain of sickness and disease and command it to move. Jesus' perfect work of redemption, His shed blood and God's gift of Righteousness made us worthy to receive all He has purchased and provided. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Receiving Righteousness: what about our failures?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

We have begun a new series studying Righteousness. We have seen what Righteousness is, right standing with God. We have seen who the Righteous are, those who have trusted in Christ alone. Now we are examining the importance of actually receiving of the gift of Righteousness.

 We have seen the great importance and benefit of receiving of the gift of Righteousness. For instance, receiving a brand new car is great, but profits you little if you never actually drive it. So it is with Righteousness. 

 We have seen how Righteousness received positively affects our relationships. We will continue looking at the various aspects of the Christian life that are more successful when we receive of this great gift. Today, though it seemed good to pause and address a question that many have concerning Grace and Righteousness. 

 Maybe this is new to you, this concept of Grace and Righteousness. Maybe you have heard of Righteousness but only in a religious traditional setting. Or maybe you heard of Grace but it wasn't taught well and left you with more questions than answers.

 We are the Righteousness of God in Christ. We have received the gift of perfect and complete right standing with God. We have received the gift that enables us to come before God always welcomed, always approved, and always accepted. We have received the gift that allows us to stand before God without any sense of guilt, shame, condemnation, insecurity, or inferiority. 

 Righteousness and all it encompasses is a gift. It is not a work we achieved. It is not a result of measuring up based on our good deeds outweighing our bad. It is not acquired by our performance or behavior or conduct. There are no levels of Righteousness. Either you're Righteous or you're not. Righteousness is a gift we receive not anything achieved.

 Knowing who you are, Righteous, how it is received, it is a gift and can't ever be earned, will completely answer the big question. Am I still Righteous even when I sin or fail? What about sin? What about when we fail? 

 Let me state this loud and clear. Your sin, your failures, your unrighteous deeds cannot ever undo your Righteousness in Christ. Your behavior, your conduct, your actions never made you Righteous, therefore, your behavior, conduct, or actions can never make you unrighteous.

 This is the plain truth of the Gospel. We could never achieve right standing with God by any action or work on our part. Why then do we think after we have received Righteousness we can somehow undo it now by our actions or behavior? 

 Answered plainly. Are we still Righteous when we sin or fail? The answer is yes. Righteousness is a gift. God isn't in the business of giving gifts and then taking them back. Righteousness is an irrevocable gift. 

For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:28 MEV

 Some may claim I am promoting a "license to sin." I get somewhat tired of that phrase. What even is a license to sin? All sin has consequences. Now I am not speaking of God punishing us or the do good and get good or do bad and get bad Law mentality. 

 All sin has some form of consequence. For something to be a license it would mean there is no harm, no-fault, no consequence to that action. A commercial driver's license or a pilot's license means one has demonstrated the necessary skills and know how to operate those vehicles or aircraft without any adverse reaction. 

 All sin has consequences, so to claim anyone can preach in such a way giving someone else the "license" to sin is absurd. Sin is birthed from unrenewed desire, often coupled with the temptation of the enemy. In some instances, sin is birthed by believing the lie that there is something better outside of Christ.

 Sin's consequences can be greatly measured or only seen and experienced by the offender. The one stealing may find themselves in a jail cell. The adulterer potentially loses their family through divorce, but certainly loses respect and trust in those around them. Still, most consequences seen from sin are the lack of confidence before God, and corrupting thoughts it produces.

Because there are always consequences for sin, the concept of a license to sin then is absurd. When speaking of sin, most Christians really are only speaking of certain kinds of sin. Only certain kinds of behavior.

 Holiness is basically defined then by one who isn't committing adultery, having sex outside of marriage, watching pornography, isn't drinking alcohol, isn't using tobacco, doesn't watch R-rated movies, and never listens to secular music, and doesn't use profanity. These are basically the biggies. These are the real obvious sins.

 Truth is, I have seen believers who meet these criteria. Yet they are unkind to others. They are impatient in public. They are envious of others. They gossip. They hold grudges. These are sinful deeds as well, just the ones not preached about much.

 When we look at God's definition of sin and not man's we all realize we need a Savior. We all realize we need someone who could mediate between us and God. We realize we don't always have it all together. 

 It's humbling, and that's where Grace comes in. We acknowledge we can't overcome in our own strength or willpower. We need a perfect gift that keeps us in right standing even when we fail. That gift has been given, it is the gift of Righteousness. 
 In the great exchange, we received this great gift. Because of the triumphant work of the Cross, no believer needs to bear their sins and guilt and shame. Think of it, if all the guilt of our sins was on Christ it has no place on us. He was condemn in our place, therefore we never need feel condemned. He took our shame, therefore shame is has no place on us or in our thinking. Christ took all the punishment for our sins, so therefore we need never fear reprisal or retribution coming to us for our sins.

 In summation, we are the Righteousness of God in Christ. It is who we are right now. Jesus won a complete victory. He arose triumphant defeating death, hell, the grave and the enemy. We who believe are forever forgiven, forever saved, and forever Righteous. Righteousness is an irrevocable gift. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, April 26, 2021

Receiving Righteousness-relationships

For he hath made him be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

 We've begun an extensive study examining Righteousness. We've seen what Righteousness is, perfect right standing with God. We've seen who the Righteous are, those who believe. Now we are exploring the importance of receiving of this gift of Righteousness. 
Paul informs us of the importance of receiving of the gift, not just possessing the gift. The Holy Spirit through Paul reveals to us that we can rule and reign victorious in this life when we receive of the gift of Righteousness. Speaking for myself, I know for certain I do want to reign victoriously in this life, how about you?

 Paul gives us insight on how. By receiving His abundant Grace and receiving of the gift of Righteousness. Righteousness will cause every aspect of our Christian life to flourish and prosper. 

 Today, it seems good to look at our relationships in light of Grace and Righteousness. Allow me to put a qualifier on my upcoming words. I am only speaking of those who've put their trust in Christ. Life outside of Christ is never victorious. 

 I want to focus primarily on Christian marriages, but these same principles can apply to our friendships and parents and their children. So let's ask, how do we receive of the gift of Righteousness in our relationships?

 Remember, Righteousness is that gift by which we have perfect right standing with God. We stand completely accepted and approved of the Father. We can stand in the presence of God Almighty without any sense of unworthiness, shame, guilt, condemnation, insecurity, or inferiority. 

Because we are accepted and approved, and shame-free we can interact with our friends and children, and spouses the same way. When you know you're approved, you can look upon your spouse with peace and joy knowing they are also accepted and approved.

 Too often though we tend to look upon ourselves as unworthy and unaccepted and find it difficult to receive the love of others, especially our spouses. Lowered self-image causes us to resist and even reject the love of our spouse in certain instances. 

 We must understand that we are forever accepted and approved of God. We must receive of the gift of Righteousness. We are made worthy and therefore we can readily, freely receive love from our spouse. 

 Still many times we receive Grace and right standing for our personal failings and shortcomings, but we still live by the Law and Old Covenant mindsets when it comes to marriage and family. We will cheer and shout amen because our sins are forgiven. But we still govern our relationships by a different system than Righteousness.

 What am I saying? Too often believers live with a reactionary theology, for instance, unconditional eternal security cannot be true, why? They see a believer living in some blatant sin and their reaction is, see there is no possible way they are still saved. Healing can't be God's will, why? They prayed for someone and a short time later the person died of the disease, so the reaction is to conclude God doesn't want to heal all. 

 Sometimes in relationships, believers choose the reactionary road instead of the Grace road. They base their actions and words on the actions of the other person. Because they did or said this, I will say or do this. This is reactionary theology at work. This is the Law at work.

 When looking at marriage troubles, the majority of preachers and counselors, and believers see only causes and effects. They diagnose troubles by causes and effects. In fact, they even teach and believe if you want a healthy marriage, cause, and effect are the best way to achieve it. 

 Does this sound familiar? Doesn't it sound more like, do good get good and do bad get bad? It does, and sisters and brothers that is Law 101! This is being Law led and possessing Old Covenant thinking patterns. 

 The Old Covenant is if you do this or that then God will respond. Under the New, Jesus already moved and we respond to what has already been accomplished and receive what is already ours. Successful relationships are based on Grace, not Law.

  Receiving of the gift of Righteousness in relationships means you see your spouse as the Righteous, accepted, and approved child of God. You choose to treat them the way your Father treats you. Your actions and words are not a reaction to what they do but rather what Jesus did.

 The cause-and-effect view of marriage also releases people from their own personal choices. An adulterous spouse merely claims because the other person did this or that or didn't do something enough I had to commit adultery. Under Grace, we are solely responsible for our choices.

 Receiving of the gift of Righteousness in marriage means we see ourselves as accepted and approved and we also see our spouse the same. Instead of berating them for their flaws, we affirm their approval with God. Instead of old covenant thinking like I will be intimate with you if you lose enough weight if you finally buy me that item if you allow my mother-in-law to move in etc, we see them as Righteous and treat them accordingly.

 In summation, receive your Righteousness. See your spouse as Righteous. Think, when you mess up does God keep bringing it up year after year? Then don't do that to your spouse. Did God forgive you and make you worthy? Then forgive your spouse when they fail and see them as worthy of your love. Does God make you earn or deserve intimacy, favor, goodness? No Jesus paid the price, so don't try to make your spouse try to earn and deserve intimacy, and kindness, and favor from you. Live the Grace life fully, not just in church but in your marriage and family. 

Image by Juliane Koch from Pixabay 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Receiving of the Gift of Righteousness

For he hath made him be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

 We've begun a study of Righteousness. What Righteousness means and how we receive it. We've seen that those who believe are the Righteousness of God in Christ.
 What is Righteousness? Righteousness is perfect right standing with God Almighty. It's the gift to be able to stand in the presence of God without any sense of shame, guilt, insecurity, condemnation or inferiority. It's the gift of complete acceptance and approval with God our Father. 

Some Righteousness facts

 We cannot earn Righteousness. There are no charitable deeds we could do enough of to obtain Righteousness. We can't practice enough spiritual disciplines to gain Righteousness. We can't abstain from sin enough to achieve Righteousness. Righteousness is a gift. It is a gift we receive not a work we acheive. 

 We cannot grow in Righteousness. We can't become more Righteous. Either you are completely Righteous or you're not. We may grow in our understanding of Righteousness and how it affects each and every aspect of the Christian life but we can't grow in Righteousness. We do grow from Faith to Faith and glory to glory but never from Righteousness to Righteousness.

 As we have seen that we who have believed are Righteous and this is our irrevocable position in Christ, now is the time we grow in our understanding of this amazing gift Jesus paid so highly for us to receive. The more we see how powerful and complete this gift is we will see more and more victory in our lives. Paul reveals this to us in Romans.

 For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

 What a powerful promise the Holy Ghost made through the Apostle Paul. We will reign in this life because we receive His Grace and of the gift of Righteousness. The Greek word here to reign is βασιλεύω. It means to possess regal authority. That is kingly rule and reign. It connotes the idea of one who predominates and prevails. 

 This reigning in life means we predominate and prevail against the lies and schemes of the enemy. That we aren't held back by religious tradition. That we dare take our place as the accepted and approved sons and daughters of the King of Kings. This Righteousness means we exercise kingly authority in all areas of our Christian life. It goes without saying that this isn't about domineering and running over people. The Kingdom of God is about Love not ego and being conceited. 
  It is glorious good news that this Righteosness means we rule and reign in this life. However, in order to do this we must first receive of this gift of Righteousness. Paul declared only those who receive of this gift of Righteousness reign in life. What am I saying?

 For instance, an extravagently wealthy person could write you a check for $100 million, but guess what? If you never deposit that check and actually use the funds, it is a useless piece of paper. It's like a child being excited that they got a bicycle for Christmas, but we know if they never ride it, it they will never gain any benefit from the gift.

 We who believed have been given the greatest gifts of all. We have Eternal life. That is the God kind of life. It's not just life never ending, those who die without Christ will live forever just not in Heaven, it's a quality of life that comes from God.

 We've received the precious Holy Spirit. God Himself lives within us. When we believed He came to abide within. He baptized us into the Body of Christ the moment we received Jesus. When we desire, ask in Faith believing, we receive the fullness of the Spirit as Jesus fully immerses us into the Spirit and we walk in the supernatural power of God with the ability to pray in a beautiful heavenly love language. 

 We have received the Grace of God. The unearned, undeserved and unmerited favor of Almighty God. Grace produces empowerment when fully received. It's full assurance we are forever His and nothing will change that, not even ourselves.

 We have received the perfect gift of Righteousness. Again, this great gift gives us the ability to stand before God without any sense of guilt or shame or condemnation. Yet if we don't fully receive of this gift, we won't walk in all God has for us. We must receive of this gift.

 We must not merely receive this gift of Righteousness but actually open it, partake of it and walk in it. We see believers who battle with guilt and shame. We see believers who listen to traditional religious nonsense that tells them that God is angry with them and this world and that they are so unworthy. That is not reigning and ruling in this life. 

 In summation, it's time we fully receive this amazing gift of Righteousness. It's time to receive of the gift of Righteousness so we can reign as kings in this life. Over the next few studies, we will open and unpack this gift of Righteousness and see how we can receive of it in all aspects of our walk with God. 

Image by digital designer from Pixabay 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Got Righteousness: Who you are in Him

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

We have begun a new series studying the Righteousness of God. Yes, it's true when we do a study on this site it tends to go long but there is a simple reason. My heart's desire above all else is that all would see clearly without obstruction the absolute goodness of God. That all would know and experience the amazing Love of Almighty God, and that all would know He isn't mad at anyone and that He isn't a harsh taskmaster, but a Good Father.

 In our last study, we saw that we who believe are Righteous. So today it seems good to go further in revealing our identity in Christ. Instead of asking who you are, I want to reveal who YOU are in Christ. 

 Many people go through life struggling not really knowing who they are. They look for their identity in career, in education, in achievements and some sadly seek for their identity in the bottom of a bottle or in something they are smoking or injecting into their veins. Some go through relationship after relationship hoping to find fulfillment and identity in another person.

Nothing is wrong with you

Who we are, what are our gifts, talents, and personality, our peace is only found in Christ. Through tradition, a fallen world, and the achievement syndrome, we tend to not always have a good opinion of ourselves. What's really the root cause of this sense of not measuring up is sin consciousness. 
 Sin consciousness is a never waning awareness of our shortcomings, flaws, and failures. This is why we look at Christ as one who is so perfect and holy (and He absolutely is) and ourselves as lowly worms in the dust who never get it right. We see ourselves and our imperfections and begin to use those outward actions as our source of identity. 

 That's not the Gospel way. That's not God's way. your identity doesn't come from what you do. It doesn't come from how much you sin. It doesn't come from any charitable deeds done either. Your identity is only found in Christ alone. So there is nothing wrong with you. 

 The Cross was a success. The Finished Work worked. Jesus' work of redemption was a triumph. Christ not only gives us eternal life and forgiveness of all our sins, but this perfect work also includes the great exchange. He took our old sin nature, our dead spirit, and recreated our spirit and gave us His very life. We are Righteous, New Creations with the very life and nature of God our Father within. 

 You may say no way. Did you know what I did last week? Did you know I was drunk last weekend? Did you know I slept with someone a month ago? Did you know I masturbated to porn last night? Did you know I lied to my boss last Friday just to go home early? Did you know I lost my temper and cursed someone? I used "F-bombs" in abundance when I did. How can you say there is nothing wrong with me?

 Our sins and shortcomings no matter how dark, dirty, and downright despicable cannot revoke or remove the permanent work of the Cross from our hearts. Christ bore all our sins, even the worst and most wicked, paying the full payment for the cleansing, removal, and total forgiveness of them all. In the Finished Work, He exchanged our old and imperfect with His New and perfect. We have been made the very Righteousness of God in Christ. He gave us His Righteousness. That's who we are now!

 Truthfully, we've all blown it. We have all been guilty of walking out of love. All guilty of sexual immorality in some form or fashion (Christ declared even looking at someone with lust was adultery). All guilty of being selfish and self-focused. Here's the truth, feeling bad, experiencing shame, being guilt-ridden over our sins will never cause us to stop these habits and actions. The Law is merely a mirror to reveal our failures. It will never empower or enable us to overcome our failures.

 Living from our true identity is where we will find true peace and victory. Sin's appeal begins to wane when we know who we and whose we are apart from our performance. When we try to use discipline or avoidance to stop sin we are merely using willpower and that's the flesh and the flesh will burn out and give up. 

 Become Righteousness conscious not sin conscious. Become accepted and approve conscious not failure and shrink back conscious. Become Right standing conscious not imperfection and failure to measure up conscious. 

 In summation, who are you? You are the Righteousness of God in Christ. You have the very life and nature of God within. You are a New Creation in Him, the old is gone behold the New is here now. You are accepted and approved perpetually with the Father. You are complete in Him. 

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Got Righteousness?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

I'd like to ask you a question if I may. Are you Righteous? Do you have a Righteous heart? If you've never put your trust in Christ the answer would be no. The good news is you can be Righteous, simply put your trust in Him. 

 If you are a Christian what is your response? Would you respond with one of these statements or a variation of it?
 "Well, I hope so."
 "I am trying to be."
"With the way I behave sometimes I am not so sure."
"I'm working on it."

 If so I have some Good Gospel news for you. You can know if you're Righteous. You can have absolute certainty of your standing before the Father. You can have full assurance knowing how God truly sees you. 

 First, we must know and understand what Righteousness actually is. Righteousness means to be in right standing with God. Righteousness is that state where we stand perfectly accepted and approved by Father God apart from our performance or behavior. Righteousness means we stand complete in Christ. Righteousness means we have the right and privilege to boldly stand in God Almighty's presence without any sense of shame, fear, guilt, condemnation, or inferiority. 

 Righteousness is not a work we achieve. Righteousness is not attained by continued abstinence from wrongdoing. Righteousness is not acquired by deeds done no matter how good they may be. Righteousness is not gained by following certain religious rituals such as observing the feast days or "honoring" the Sabbath day. Again Righteousness is a gift we receive not a work we achieve.

 In some circles, women won't wear makeup, cut their hair, and only wear long dresses. I am not criticizing them, but I am asking why do they do these things? To attain and maintain a place of right standing before God by their appearance. 

 If Righteousness could be achieved by our work or merit why then would Christ waste His time suffering and dying on that tree becoming a curse for you and me? If right standing with God is a work we could attain to then Christ's death was in vain. That is if we could help in any way form or fashion in achieving right standing with God, then the Cross was useless and ineffective.

I do not nullify the grace of God. For if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ died in vain. Galatians 2:21 MEV

 Righteousness is not a work achieved. It is not a position that we strive enough for to finally obtain. Righteousness is not a mistake-free life. Righteousness is not a place in God that is lost and gained based upon our goodness or faithfulness. Righteousness is a permanent gift we receive when we first trust in Christ alone. Righteousness is an irrevocable gift that is rooted in Christ's work and performance and goodness never our own. 

 In summation, let's ask again, are you Righteous? If you have trusted in Christ alone you are Righteous. You are accepted and approved of God Almighty. You have received Christ's very own Righteousness and therefore are just as Righteous as Jesus. You are the Righteousness of God in Christ. 

Image by rsand24 from Pixabay 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Our inheritance in Christ: Made Equal with God

to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:18 MEV

In recent weeks we've been studying the inheritance we have in Christ. Many are unaware we even have an inheritance in Christ. They regulate any victory or fulfilled promise till the saints finally make it to Heaven. As for the here and now, let's hope we have good insurance, a good job, and a good doctor because we are in essence stranded here in this fallen world without aid or support from Heaven. 

 When we examine our inheritance closer we see that we are not alone. We are more than equipped to live this life on Earth in triumphant victory. We have seen in this inheritance we have the gift of no condemnation, no separation, and complete acceptance with God. We have received the blessing of the Lord. 

 Today, it seems good to share a rather controversial aspect of our inheritance in Christ. That is our sonship with God. The truth that those who believe are the children of God. Paul revealed it was God's design that we become the children of God

 What could be controversial about the truth that we are the children of God? The religious leaders of Jesus' day knew the full implications of sonship. See their words in John 5.

 The religious leaders knew sonship implied more than just having a Father in Heaven;

Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God John 5:18 NKJV (emphasis mine)

Sonship brings with it equality. This is understandable when we think of earthly fathers and their children. When we attribute this towards our Heavenly Father it rattles so many minds of Christians everywhere.

 Wait brother John are you dare to suggest we are equal with God? Before you stone me allow me to elaborate further.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7 NKJV

 Jesus when He came to earth, manifested as God in the flesh, but didn't take His equality with God, humbled Himself and came in the form of a man and served. This same mind should be in us. We have dominion and authority based on our sonship and we should serve one another in love.

 When it comes to mankind, we are all created by God, saved and unsaved. There is no one superior and no one inferior. No one based on their ethnicity or national origin is "better" than or "more equal" than anyone.

 Yet even among us humans, there are those who excel in things others do not. There are those who exceed many others' abilities in athletics, science, mathematics, creativity, and talent. Does that make the star athlete better than say minor league talent? It makes them superior in skill level but not in identity. 

 What am I saying? I am declaring in this inheritance we are made the children of God. This sonship gives us certain rights and privileges in Christ. None of this is based on our performance or doing. It's all based on the redemptive work of Christ.

 In Christ, we have been made partakers of the divine nature. God has given us His Spirit to dwell within. We are the children of God by Faith. We are not just mere sinners who have been given mercy from a Holy God. We are now the very children of God, with God Himself indwelling us in the person of the Spirit. We are not inferior, worthless beings, we are the children of God.

 Let this mind be in you. It is not robbing God of His eternal glory and truth that He alone is God Almighty, the only One worthy of all praise and adoration and worship, to take our place as sons and daughters. We are not inferior worms in the dust. Because of sonship, we can come into the presence of God freely, without shame, guilt, or any sense of inferiority or worthlessness. 

 As a son, we have the privilege and right to feast at the King's table. We have freely been given all things that pertain to life and godliness. It's not that we are bringing God down to man's level. No, God has brought us up to sit with Him in the heavenly places. 

 In summation, we are made in the image of God. We are recreated as born-again children of God, made alive in Christ. This loving Father accepts us as His own. He made us partakers of the divine nature. He made our hearts his home. He has made us new. His Spirit is within. 

 He now accepts us as His kids and we have been made joint-heirs with Christ. 

16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:16-17 NKJV

 We are joint-heirs with Christ. This means how God sees Jesus is how He sees us. How He loves Jesus is how He loves us. How much Jesus is in right standing with the Father is how much we are. We are not inferior but in equal standing with Jesus. We have equality with God because of Jesus, celebrate it. 

Image by Ryan Morrison from Pixabay

Monday, March 22, 2021

Our Inheritance in Christ: The Blessing


to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:18 MEV

 We're continuing in our study of our inheritance in Christ. Did you know child of God that you have an inheritance? When Christ died and rose again He procured perfect redemption and gave us an inheritance that can't be done away with. The enemy cannot contest this will. It's ours because of Jesus!

 We've seen through this inheritance we have received the gift of no condemnation, in this inheritance we receive the benefit of no separation, there is nothing that can separate the believer from God. We saw last time how we are accepted, highly favored, and honored because of Jesus' work. 

 Today, it seemed good to focus on one major aspect of our inheritance in Christ. In Christ, we have received the blessing of the Lord. So often, we struggle and strive to receive what God has already provided. We listen to ministries who put clauses and conditions on what God has already provided. We work hard trying to earn what can only be freely received.

 Hear the Good News, in Christ you are already blessed.

How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ. Ephesians 1:3 TLB

 Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Ephesians 1:3 GNT

 Some of the religious traditional detractors will suggest because Paul said spiritual blessings then he must only mean spiritual things like forgiveness of sins but never provision or healing or deliverance. Not so, what Paul is saying is that all the blessings we ever need are first in the spiritual realm. We lay hold on our inheritance by putting a demand on the supply by believing with our heart, our spiritual man. 

 We know this because we don't always feel forgiven or Righteous. We don't always even look Righteous. Yet we know inwardly we are the very Righteousness of God in Christ. That blessing is spiritual then manifests in the natural as we mature in Christ. Our life begins to match who we are already inwardly. So these blessings begin in the spiritual realm and later manifest in the natural as we believe.

 So are you suggesting we don't do anything to receive the blessing? That there isn't anything we can do to increase the blessing in our life? No, I didn't suggest it I just agree with God who said it through His Apostles.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 2 Peter 1:3 KJV

Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 TPT

We see here we already have all we need for life and godliness. For life is everything we will ever need in this natural world and godliness means we are already equipped for victorious living spiritually. Note we don't have to do anything but believe for them to manifest. 

 Now Peter did mention knowledge. That is the knowledge of what is ours through our inheritance in Christ. Traditional religion keeps us ignorant of all that's ours in Christ. Legalistic, law, and Grace mixing ministries either knowingly or unknowingly keeps us striving, struggling, and attempting to earn what we already have in Christ by our doing, our behavior, or our giving.

 Remember law and Grace mixture is any attempt to earn or achieve or merit what only Grace gives. It's trying to gain what is only freely received. What Christ procured and purchased on the Cross in the Finished Work is only received by Grace through Faith never on any actions on our part.

 Many fall into the error of mixture because they don't grasp what it truly means to be Righteous. Righteousness is divine acceptance, approval, and perfect right standing before the Father. We who believed received His perfect Righteousness in the great exchange. We are now as Righteous as Jesus. Righteousness is a gift we receive by Faith alone. It is not a work we achieve. 

 When it comes to material blessings many want to link provision with our giving and even with the practice of tithing. I have written extensively on tithing in the past you can find those links in the archive section of this blog. Let me briefly address this issue.

 If we look at Acts 15, we can clearly see this issue addressed and settled. Some misguided believers wanted to mix the Old with the New. They wanted to mix Law and Grace. They desired that believers keep the Law of Moses. This would include tithing. The Gentiles were never given the Law, so how could they have known anything about tithing?

 What did the Apostles conclude? They declared in a letter, some are requiring you to keep the Mosaic Law, but we gave no such command. There we have it. We as believers are not commanded to keep the Law. That would include tithing. Some would say but tithing was before the Law, well so was circumcision as a sign of following Jehovah and we aren't commanding that today.

 Apart from the tithe, still, others want to focus on our giving. They teach that Paul taught in 2 Corinthians that our giving is our seed and we sow it to become more blessed. Is this true? 

 This idea is rooted in the seed-faith message. This teaching infiltrated many charismatic and word of faith ministries. Instead of simply believing God's Word and speaking it (this truth I still strongly affirm), the focus became what you gave and how much you gave and how often you gave. 

 Placing stipulations on the blessing such as giving and doing turns the Goodness of God into a works and performance-rooted system of earning and achieving. The blessing then becomes a wage earned and not a gift of Grace. 

 Teaching that all our actions and our giving are seeds sown gets us reverting to some form of karma like existence. Where the Love of God doesn't guide our actions but the desire for a better future and for more and more good to come our way. It also produces fear and gets us back to Law, "do good get good do bad get bad."

 Paul likened giving as a seed in 2 Corinthians 9 only in the sense that as the whole body of believers give (he was addressing a specific church), the gift would multiply to those who received it. In other words, my gift of $50 given with the right motive to be a blessing is good but adding that to the amount the body will give is multiplication. In essence that one gift is like planting a single apple tree, but that gift coupled with others is like planting many apple trees.

 We are blessed because of what Jesus did. We look to Jesus' work never our own. Our blessings come from Christ alone never us. If the blessing comes from us and our doing then we have a place to boast, "look at what my giving, doing, and behavior produced."This replaces Grace and inheritance to a wage earned.

 In summation, in Christ, because of Christ alone and our trust in Him, we are blessed. The blessing is not determined or stipulated upon us by our doings but by Jesus Christ alone. Trust in Him and not your doing, your giving, or your behavior. Christ determined the blessing, He earned it and gave it to us, freely receive it. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay