Righteousness! Chapter One

 

How many of you actually know what it means to be righteous in God's sight? The Greek word 'righteous' is dikaios dik'-ah-yos From G1349; and means equitable (in character or act); by implication innocentholy (absolutely or relatively):—just, meet, right (-eous).

 

To be innocent and holy and just and right in everything that we do would make us righteous according to this description of the Greek word 'dikaios'! To do this we would have to know what rules or what standards we were being measured   by. The righteousness that we are concerned with in this series of lessons is being righteousness in eyes of our Father. Therefore, we must know His ways and His thoughts in order to conform to them so we can be innocent in His eyes according to this definition of righteousness. We must find out what God thinks about us and accept what He has to say about what it takes to be righteous in mind.

 

Our only desire should be to be innocent in the eyes of God. The carnal mind doesn't know how to conform to the ways and thoughts of God because they are beyond it's comprehension. Paul said in Rom. 8:6-7,

 

"To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

 

Religion has taught us that to be righteous in the eyes of God we must learn to follow His Laws to the letter and if we fail to do this we have sinned against God.

As a result, we spend all of our lives trying to make our carnal minds obey the laws of God which is an impossibility for it to do. The end result is that we place ourselves under condemnation because we know that we have made mistakes in our lives and have done things that are not pleasing in God's sight. So when we come to the end of this life we are fearful that we haven't done enough to be pleasing in God's sight. Paul said of the Jews in Rom. 10:1-11, (NIV)

 

"Brothers, 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 that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.    Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

 

   Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them." But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down)    or ‘Who will descend into the deep?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).    But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:   That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.   For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.   As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,   for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

 

This is so simple and yet, religion has made it so difficult by wanting to go by the letter of the Law. The right standing with God comes from having faith that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. Paul makes it very plain that it is with your heart that you can believe and be justified in God's eyes. God really asks so little of us! He just wants us to believe in His word and His integrity.   

 

Can you just accept that all God wants is for us to trust Him and when we do that it means more to Him than any sacrifice on our part. He said in Hosea 6:6,

 

"I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."

 

Jesus told the Pharisees in Matt. 9:12-13, (NIV)

 

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

 

As I stated earlier, "The righteousness that we are concerned with in this series of lessons is being righteous in eyes of our Father. Therefore, we must know His ways and His thoughts in order to conform to them so we can be innocent in His eyes." Paul said in Rom. 3:19-20, (NIV)

 

"Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His God's) sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

 

How much plainer do you want it stated than here? No one will be declared by God to be righteous in His sight by observing the Law! Yet, as a whole, the church has taught for years that we must be obedient to Law in order to be pleasing in God's sight! We have taught rules and laws and have separated over different interpretations of the Law. That being true, then what must we do to have God declare that we are righteous in His sight? Paul said in Rom. 3:21-22, (NIV)

 

"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."

 

Righteousness by faith is a little like being born into a family. When I was born into the Johnson family there was nothing that I had to do to be a part of that family. My mom and dad simply called me David Doyle Johnson and that settled it.

 

The same is true when we are born again into the family of God. Paul said in Rom. 10:6-10, (NIV)

 

"But the righteousness that is by faith says:........“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, (made righteous) and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

 

Paul makes it very plain here that it is with our hearts that we believe and because we believe we are justified and declared righteous by God and we are saved from sin when we confess what we believe. Now, don't let me loose you here! I am not doing away with water baptism or any of the many other things that we are instructed to do! What I am pointing out to you here is what we have to do to be righteous in God's sight and Paul makes it very plain here what we must do. We are justified by God and declared righteous by Him when we believe Him!!

 

As most of us know, Abraham is known as the Father of all who have faith in God. This being so, let's look and see what he found out in his faith walk. Paul said in Rom. 4:1-5, (NIV)

 

"What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

 

When a man does not trust in his own works but trust in God, his faith is credited or imputed to him as righteousness by God. This is something that God does as a result of our faith in Him. Abraham was righteous purely because he believed God! We often hear people say that they believe. Yet, until we understand the connection between belief and faith, we will wonder why our prayers remain unanswered. Belief can refer to the mental acceptance of something as truth, though absolute certainty may be absent. A problem arises, however, when you believe something to be true and never act on it. This is where faith comes in.

 

Faith is acting on what you believe. Paul said that it is with your heart that you believe and believing you activate your faith by declaring with your mouth what you believe. This is exactly what the mother of Jesus did when she understood what God was saying was going to happen to her. She said, "Be it done unto me as you have spoken!" She believed the angel of  the Lord and declared with her mouth what she believed. The minute she did this, she was pregnant!

 

Belief requires corresponding action, not just any action. If we ask God for something we must believe that He will give it to us. If we believe that He will give it to us, then we must speak it into existence. Jesus talked about this in Mark 11:24,

 

"What things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them." 

 

So many times we ask God to do something for us and then turn around and state that we doubt that He will do it! James talked about that in James 1:5-8,

 

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids (make fun of, to disgrace) not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

 

That is a very profound statement! I feel that our problem is that we often confuse belief with faith. Sometimes we ask God for something and we believe that because we ask Him for it, that is all we have to do. However, that is not faith! It's just belief! Faith requires action! If we truly believe something then we will confess what we believe. Jesus told us to believe that we have what we have asked for when we ask for it! That's faith in action. We don't believe for something we already have, but until we actually have it, we walk by faith believing that we have received it! If you believe that you have it you will thank our Father for it and act like it.

 

Using this principle of faith with our standing as righteous in the Lord's sight, we, by faith, know that we are righteous in God's sight because we believe His word and His word tells us that This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." (Rom. 3:22)

 

If you believe that you are the righteousness of God, it will move you to begin exercising your rights. It's a lot like the story of the blonde asking God to allow her to win the lottery. God's response was, "Help me out here! Buy a ticket!"

 

We must renew our minds from the thinking that we are unworthy and just filthy rags in God's sight, to the fact that we are righteous in our Father's sight because we believe in His Word. Once we understand this, we can truly learn to understand how righteousness can work effectively in our lives. Many of  us have been seduced by religion. Throughout our lives, we have been taught that righteousness is based on all the good things we have done. The more good things we did, the more righteous we felt.

 

The truth is, God made everyone righteous through the blood of Jesus and we activated this righteousness on our behalf when we believed in our heart and confessed with our mouth that Jesus is Lord! Let me make a very profound statement here! Every person that has ever lived on this earth was made righteous because of what Jesus was able to accomplish when He fulfilled the Law and paid the price in full for all men on the cross. There will come a time when every knee that has ever walk this earth will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and activate this righteousness. God said this in Isaiah 45:22-23, (NIV)

 

"Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength."

 

Paul said this in Rom. 14:11,

 

"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."

 

What will every tongue confess to God? Paul answered this in Phil. 2:9-11, (NIRV) when he said,

 

"So God lifted him up to the highest place. He gave him the name that is above every name. When the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone’s knee will bow to worship him.  Every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow to worship him. Everyone’s mouth will say that Jesus Christ is Lord."

 

Let me ask you a question! What happens when we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord? We are saved! Rom. 10:9,

 

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

 

You can say to me now, "Dave I believe that I am righteous in God's sight!"  That is the first step but now you must confess what you believe until it completely replaces every thought in your mind that you have been taught that you are just a sinner saved by the grace of our Lord. You are not a sinner! You are a child of God saved by His unending mercy and grace toward you. Paul said in Col. 1:21,

 

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:" 

 

I don't care what you may have done or left undone in your life. If you have accepted the truth that Jesus paid the price for your sins on the cross and you confess that you believe God raised Him from the dead, you are holy and especially not blamable, for what you may have done in the past,  in God's sight!

 

Now, you must learn to forgive yourself and all those who have wronged you! Your thinking must align up with what God's says about you because He is the final judge in these matters. You can continue to live your lives in self condemnation or you can live your lives free from all condemnation if you will just believe and put into practice what the word of the Lord says about you.