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

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