How often have we heard this scripture used to justify living sinfully and failing to pursue the righteousness of the Kingdom promised as evidence of our salvation in Jesus Christ?
This is yet another excerpt from the article that will hopefully come out soon, “Answering The Accuser (Part 3) — When The Accuser Acts Through Ministers.”
I apologize if this is becoming an annoyance, but the process of writing this article is like a thread being pulled that leads to more and more, so it’s shaping up to be very long — and also very interesting, I think.
The Lord is merciful in showing me much about his judgments, and I’m so thankful and excited that I cannot help but share this. That, and I think some might benefit from having these lengthier pieces chopped up in to smaller sections.
When considering this scripture, I found that you really need to read Romans Chapters 1-3 at a minimum to get the context of what Paul the Apostle was writing about. You can also look at Psalm 14 and Psalm 53.
Of-course, it would not be practical for me to insert all of that text here, so I recommend reading for yourself. I have put together some thoughts that will hopefully help you along so you will see the true lesson here. This is written in order of what you will find in Romans 1-3, so you can compare these notes as you read for yourself.
1. We are the called of Christ, by whom we have received grace according to holiness demonstrated by the resurrection from the dead, for his names sake. In other words, by the power of the resurrection, we are promised holiness by grace. “For his name’s sake, he leads me in the paths of righteousness.”
2. Man values lies and with them create a perverted form of righteousness. Here is an example of the foolishness of man: Though we live in God’s creation and are surrounded by proof of His glory, instead of knowing God, man will worship the creation. Why? It is because man views things according to the flesh, not the spirit. Therefore, instead of worshiping God who is a spirit, man worships vain images thereby changing God into the image of corruptible man. We look at this world and gain knowledge, calling ourselves wise, yet we are fools because we do not see the larger truth that is found in God alone according to the spirit, not the flesh (or in today’s world, science, philosophy, etc).
3. Because of this, God gives man over to the lusts of this world, of which we worship, and it is manifest that we have pleasure in unrighteousness. Are we then excused of judgement for our sin because God gave us over the lusts of our hearts and the foolishness of our wisdom? No. We are without excuse because man has enough knowledge of good and evil to condemn themselves. Such things are manifest in the laws of man and the manner in which we use law to justify the wickedness of some while condemning others for doing the same thing as it is convenient for us.
4. God will judge man according to his deeds. God is no respecter of persons, meaning His judgment is the same for everyone. Whether we are Jew or gentile, Christian or unbeliever, those who live unrighteously are appointed the judgment of wrath and those who do good are given glory, honor, and peace.
5. True righteousness is in the spirit not the letter. Bring this around to the points made in number 1. We view law according to the flesh just as man views God according to the flesh, and our worldy wisdom and perverted righteousness only leads to our destruction. As with the law of circumcision, those who are obeying God in truth are of the circumcision of the heart.
Here is something profoundly interesting: Does the law of the Jew make him better than the gentile? We could also say, does the law of the legalistic Christian make him better than the unbeliever? No. There is none righteous, no, not one.
6. The righteousness of God is by faith in Jesus for all who believe. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In Jesus, we have healing (remission) from our sins and in Jesus alone are we justified. The laws of God are given to us by grace through faith, so we have no cause to boast or become holier-than-thou. This is not something we can perform by our own ability.
It is also true that within the laws of the kingdom of God, one cannot, as with the laws of man or legalistic obedience (whether Jew or Christian), justify ourselves and condemn others. We cannot find loopholes. We cannot corrupt the true righteousness of God by traditions.
In true believers, the righteous law of God is established as the laws of the kingdom are written on the tables of our hearts — a perfect obedience in spirit and truth, “against such there is no law.”
There is a righteousness to pursue, and this is perfect righteousness by the power of the Spirit. No other form of righteousness will do, and this is the ultimate joy and pursuit of Christianity as it should be.
Indeed, “the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” God is awesome! I love how He throws down the proud and wicked and exalts the humble and the just — whether we call ourselves Christian or not.
Of course, Jesus is the only way. Make no mistake about that. However, there is something to be said about our perversions in Christianity today that make his way “of no effect by our traditions.”
I would much appreciate any feedback before the full article comes out, especially regarding points thus far that need to be made clearer. I’m discovering that God indeed is “no respecter of persons.” Us Christians really should not be so high and mighty. We might find many unbelievers entering the kingdom of God before us. History really repeats itself, doesn’t it?