Righteousness! Chapter Thirteen
In the past 12 weeks I have been talking with you about being righteous. There is a difference between righteousness by faith and righteousness by works! Our righteousness is a free gift from God. We can stand before God today because He declared us to be righteous. As a result of this, we can stand before God without the sense of guilt, condemnation, or feeling inferior to Him.
Religion has distorted the Gospel and has promoted to us the idea that we are just sinners save by the grace of God and if we are careful to obey the word of God all our life then we will be rewarded a home in heaven. We have been taught that our salvation is dependent upon our success at keeping all of Christ commandments. The problem is that we often make mistakes and condemnation and guilt comes to us because we don't have faith in what Jesus said to us.
Let me remind you of just what happened when we accepted what the Gospel reveals to us about God. I want to explain to you what happened when we heard the Gospel and accepted it. You must understand what happened in God's sight spiritually when we believe His Word! Paul talked about this in Rom. 6:1-14, (NIV)
"What shall we say,
then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live
in it any longer?
Or don’t you know that all
of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We
were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just
as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may
live a new life.
" If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."
You must understand that God gave Adam the authority to rule and reign in this earth because God was Adam's father, both spiritually and physically. As a result, when Adam obeyed Satan and disobeyed his Father, God, he sold himself and all of his descendents as slaves to Sin. After that, sin had the power to rule all of us! When the Law was given, because of our inability to live by it, sin came to life in us and along with it guilt and condemnation. So death reigned from Adam to Jesus. Paul explains this in Rom. 5:12-21, (NIV)
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
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. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The point that I want you to understand is that when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, in the sight of God, we died with Jesus and also was raised from the dead to walk in a new life. The old life, or the old us, was crucified with Jesus and the life we now live by is by faith and we are no longer under the power and control of sin. Adam was a type of Jesus because God was both the Father of his flesh but also his spiritual Father.
Jesus, was the second Adam in that God was both the Father of His physical body as well as his Spirit! Just as Adam was the father of all flesh, when Jesus came and fulfilled all righteousness, Jesus became the Father of all who believed and received Him. John said that in John 1:12-13,
"As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
It is blasphemous to declare that you are a son of God and also just a sinner saved by His grace! The old life that you once lived is dead and you now have a new life and the Father of this new life is God. Again, Paul said in 2 Cor. 5:17-18,
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation!"
The life of a sinner that you once lived is dead, gone!! You may have once been a sinner but that life that you once lived is dead, gone!! It doesn't exist anymore! You now have a new life! One that is free from sin and is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! I know that this is hard for your carnal mind to accept because in the past we have majored in sin consciousness. This is why Paul told the Church at Rome this in Rom. 12:2,
"Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
You might say to me, "Well, David, This all sounds good, BUT, I still make mistakes from time to time and I have to ask the Lord to forgive me!" This is what Jesus was trying to get Peter to understand in John 13:5-11, (NIV)
" He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean."
When we walk about in this world we sometimes get dusty from the evil that we contact and that is why we are told to confess our sins. After Jesus died on the cross we are told to confess our sins and should never ask God to forgive our sins because He said He would remember our sins no more. He said in Heb. 8:12, (NIV)
"I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
John said in 1 John 1:8-10,
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."
There is a big difference in confessing our sins and in asking God to forgive our sins. The whole purpose in confessing our sins is to get us to admit that we were wrong. This seems to be very difficult for the carnal mind to admit! Our ego seems to get in the way of saying that we were wrong because we want to always be right. It is very hard for the carnal mind to admit that it is not perfect.
When we confess that we were wrong about something, we have to humble ourselves and admit that we were wrong. The carnal mind doesn't like to do this.
Let me make a very profound statement! Being righteous in His sight we have an equality with God! "Well, Dave, what do you mean by that?" I think that you would agree with me that Jesus is the Son of God! Do you also believe that you are a son of God? I just quoted to you what John said in John 1:12-13,
"As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God!
God is Spirit and when we have faith in Him and accept His gift of righteousness we become one Spirit with Him. Paul said in 1 Cor. 6:17,
"He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."
We are children of God! Our spirit and His Spirit are of the same kind. What we must understand is that when He gave us His righteousness, we became like Him.
This is not new to mankind. In the very beginning when God made Adam He said in Gen. 1:26-28,
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.
Adam was created in the image and likeness of his Father who is God! When we are born of God, we are born in the likeness of God who is our Father. You are an exact duplicate of the image of God. This does not mean that you are the Father. It means that you are made in God's image and His likeness, with the ability to create with words just like God did.
In order to live in this physical world you must have a physical body to be seen. When our physical body dies, our spirit, the real us, returns to heaven and this physical body no longer will express us and becomes lifeless. Jesus said in John 3:6,
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
Jesus also said in John 6:63-64,
"It is the spirit that quickens;(or gives life) the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not."
The point I am making to you is that you are spirit and when your body will no longer function as a living being, it dies and returns to the material it is made of and you return to God. Paul talked about this in 1 Cor. 15:42-50,
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It (body of flesh) is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (or a life giving) spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption."
You do not have a spirit; you are a spirit made in the image of God! If we are sons and daughters of God and Jesus is the Son of God, then that makes us His brothers and sisters! That makes us equal to and joint-heirs with Jesus. Paul said in Rom. 8:16-17,
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
We know that Jesus was God and Paul makes an interesting declaration about Jesus in Phil. 2:5-8,
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Jesus knew who He was, spiritually, and did not consider it as trying to exalt Himself to be equal with God because He knew that He was equal with God! Even though He knew that He was equal with God, He humbled Himself and was obedient to His Father.
Jesus is our big brother and we will never be Him but we are just like Him! We are in the family of God and bare His image! That is why we should love one another because we are family! We are brothers and sisters! We are not all on the same level of maturity in the family of God and we don't all understand everything about the Kingdom of God alike, but we are brothers and sisters.
Religion has taught us that we must all think alike and if we don't, then we cannot fellowship together. That is just the thinking of the carnal mind that needs to be renewed.