Archive for the ‘Righteousness’ category

Righteousness By Faith

February 10, 2018

Depositphotos Image ID: 69889075 Copyright: AlexBrylov

Abraham believed God, and God “reckoned” that faith to Abraham as righteousness.[1] When God told Abraham to look at the stars and said to Abraham that he would bear offspring and have descendants like the stars in the sky, Abraham believed God.  What does that really mean?

We get a bit of a clue by looking at the Hebrew word translated “believe” is ̓āman. It means to confirm (support), as when putting confidence in something that is supported (trustworthy).[2] The Hebrew suggests that Abraham confirmed, affirmed, supported, or had confidence in what God was telling him.

But there is more to it than that. The word, āman, as used in this passage, is in the hiphil form. The hiphil form suggests an act of intentional interaction with a subject. Abraham didn’t just star at the stars in wonder, he consciously and intentionally engaged God and what Goad was saying to him, and he affirmatively confirmed, supported and put his confidence in  what God was saying to him. In effect, Abraham said, “Amen”, in his heart, and he meant it!

Faith/belief is a key concept and critical characteristic of the follower of Christ. Abraham is held up as the prime example of faith. Abraham is the father of all us all.[3] Paul says that Abraham was “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”[4] And this faith, trust and confidence in God that Abraham had is what God “counted to him as righteousness”.[5]

This same faith, Paul says, will be counted to us as righteousness who “believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”[6]

Abraham didn’t do anything, but believe God, and God gave him counted him righteousness in return. Such a simple thing! And that is all we must do to be counted as righteous in God’s sight today – to believe in the one God sent to us, Jesus Christ, who suffered, died and was buried for us, and who has risen from the dead establishing the promise of God to us that we will be risen too in newness of life.

This seems so very simple that we are tempted to want more. We are tempted to think we must do more to be counted as righteous.

(more…)

Advertisements

Spirit and Truth vs. Self-Made Religion

January 28, 2018

Depositphotos Image ID: 91001324 Copyright: carlosyudica

In a previous blog article, I talked about the shadow of things to come. Paul says that following rules and observing religious ritual is just a shadow of things to come. Later in the same chapter in Colossians, Paul explains in more detail what he is getting at. When we are focused only on the do’s and the don’ts and on observing religious rituals, we are focused on the wrong things.

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were alive in the world, do you submit to regulations – ‘Do not handle,  Do not taste,  Do not touch’ (referring to things that all perish as they are used) – according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:20-23)

Paul isn’t advocating that followers of Christ abandon self-discipline and self-control and do whatever they like. “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” (Romans 6:1-2) But, following Jesus doesn’t mean stepping up religious observances and following rules and regulations more closely. The focus on rules and rituals entirely misses the point.

(more…)

The Creed of Our Lives

December 15, 2017

Depositphotos Image ID:
3036050 Copyright:
marko5

I was listening to Ravi Zacharias this morning when he quoted Gandhi saying something to the effect that Christians will not make a dent in India until the Sermon on the Mount becomes part of their creed. Gandhi saw what many modern skeptics see, which is a gap between the Christian proclamation and testimony and how those same Christians live their lives.

If we are followers of Christ, shouldn’t we model what Jesus preached?

It’s a fair question.

(more…)

The Law Foreshadows the Spirit

September 14, 2017

  Photo by Steve Murray – Where Moses looked into the promised land

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

The Spirit does what the Law could never do.

The law is exterior to us. It imposes a standard for us to follow, but it does not give us the desire or the power to follow it. The Spirit gives us both.

(more…)

The Rightness of God

September 9, 2017

ChristianPics.co

For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:2-4)

Paul was writing here of the Jews. Paul spoke with particular authority about this because he was a Jew, trained in the highest Jewish traditions by the greatest teacher of the time, and he had once has zealously protected the Jewish tradition of the law against the upstart followers of Jesus. And then, he dramatically converted to a follower of Jesus after an experience with the living, risen Lord Himself.

Paul is saying that the Jews were ignorant of God’s righteousness because they sought to establish their own righteousness, instead of accepting (submitting to) God’s righteousness.

Another way to look at righteousness is through the lens of rightness. God is right because he is God. When we think we are right, especially in comparison or contrast to God, we are asserting that we are the measure of right, rather than God.

(more…)

God’s Righteousness for My Righteousness

September 7, 2017

Photo by Tim Butterfield

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved for I bear them witness that they have a Zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:1-4)

Paul is speaking to the Romans of the Jews, but this message could apply to anyone who seeks to establish his own righteousness and does not submit to God’s righteousness. Paul had a particular authenticity to be able to say this about the Jews, because they were his people. He was one of them. He was not just Jewish, but trained as a Pharisee by the greatest of the contemporary teachers of the time and zealous for the Jewish law to the point of persecuting the followers of Christ (Phil. 3:6) – before he was confronted by the living, resurrected Jesus.

Paul knew something of the righteousness of his former life and of the righteousness of the Jews in his time. Their righteousness consisted of zealously keeping the law. The Pharisees, the protectors keepers of the law, were the people with whom Jesus had the harshest confrontations. He accused them of imposing impossible burdens on others, burdens that they, themselves, didn’t even keep. Primarily, though, they were attempting to establish their own righteousness in reference to the law.

Anyone who seeks to establish his own righteousness, by virtue of that fact, does not submit to God’s righteousness. (more…)

Let Your Light Shine Before Men

October 23, 2015
by Heather Russell

by Heather Russell

In the Sermon on the Mount (where Jesus spoke to His disciples, not the crowds that also followed Him) a couple of the subjects that Jesus addressed seem contradictory at first blush. They both relate on the surface to the way we act in public, before other people. He said, on the one hand:

You are the light[1] of the world…. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see[2] your good[3] works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14, 16)

Jesus, on the other hand, gave the following negative instruction:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1);

Jesus went on to provide the following examples: “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:2-6)

How do we let our light shine before men without practicing our righteousness before men?

Clearly, “letting your let shine” does not mean “practicing your righteousness”. In fact, “your righteousness” is the problem…. We have no righteousness. Our righteousness is like filthy rags before God. (Isaiah 64:6) We have no righteousness before God, so if we are practicing any righteousness at all, we are practicing our own righteousness.

We may be better than other people, but not one of us is righteous before God! (Romans 3:10) Self-righteousness is what we display when we do things to be noticed by other people, but God is not similarly impressed.

When Jesus talked about letting our light shine, He was talking about letting the light of Christ shine. Jesus is our righteousness. (1 Corinthians 1:30) We do not rely on ourselves, but on the righteousness that God gives us freely when we let go of our own righteousness and accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus to make us “right” with the Father.

The difference between letting our lights shine and practicing our own righteousness is not observed in what we, but in why we do it.  The difference is something that only God sees and can measure. (Psalm 139:2)

The heart/motivation of a person is the important thing when it comes to God and is what we should be concerned about as well. (Prov. 4:23) We should be continually on guard, checking always to be sure our heart motivation is right. Jesus, in effect, was saying, “Check your heart.”

But, we may not even accurately know our own motivations. For that reason, David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart!” (Psalm 139:23) David did not pray those words to be heard by people; he was crying out to God, “Help me!”

When we turn our sincere prayer to God, who sees everything and knows us better than we know ourselves, we are in the right position to let our lights shine. When our focus is on what other people think, we are not letting our lights shine; we are practicing righteousness, which means nothing to God.

When our audience is God, rather than man, our lights will shine, and God will be pleased. If our motives are to glorify Christ, our lights will shine, and people will be drawn to Jesus. When our motives are to follow, and honor and be like Christ as He instructs us to be, we are letting our lights shine in what we do, and people will glorify God.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

When God’s reward is our greatest desire, our lights will shine, and men will notice, but they will not so much notice us, as they will notice God. People intuitively pick up on our motivations. When we are looking for praise form others, people know it. When are seeking praise from God, people wonder what it is we are looking for because they know it is not the honor of men that we seek.

If someone is standing, staring at the sky, others will look up also to see what we are seeing. When our focus is on God, people should wonder what we are focused on and be inspired to see what we see.

When a light shines, whether it is the sun, or a candle, a lamp, a flashlight or something else, we do not notice the light as much as the objects that are illuminated by the light. The brighter the light, the less able we are to look at the light, itself, but the greater we are able to see everything else with clarity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Postscript:

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C. S. Lewis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[1] 5457/phōs (a neuter noun) – properly, light (stressing its results, what it manifests).  In Scripture, phōs (“light”) is the manifestation of God’s self-existent life. See John 1:4-5 “In Him [Christ] was life, and the life was the light [phōs] of men. The light (phōs) shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 8:12: “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light (phōs) of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light (phōs) of life.'” (NASB)

God’s light (phōs) reveals His presence and preferences.  In contrast, darkness obscures God’s will and presence.  Through the light of faith, God reveals and shares His life which overcomes all spiritual darkness. We can not see things as they really are, unless God gives us light.  God’s light alone reveals reality so the Psalmist proclaims, “In Thy light, we see light.” (Ps 36:9) Phōs preeminently conveys the manifestation of God’s life (Jn 1:4) so believers can perceive true reality, through faith.  Without divine light, we would all be shut up to spiritual (eternal) obscurity.  Light is in Christ and emanates from Him (cf. Heb 1:3). We do not turn on a flashlight (or light a candle) to see the flashlight or the candle!  Light makes what is spiritual (eternal) become intelligible (“visible”).  God shares light so He Himself becomes visible to the eye of the soul.

[2] 3708/horáō – properly, to see, often in the metaphorical sense: “to see with the mind” (“spiritually see”), i.e. perceive (with inward spiritual perception). Horaō (“see”) typically refers to grasping the meaning of something through God’s revelation, i.e. perceiving on the invisible (supernatural) plane. Horaō denotes the physical act of seeing and connotes the mental discernment accompanying it. Horaō (“see”) implies comprehension – like in the expression, “I see what you mean” (“I see what you are saying”).  Horaō focuses on the mental and spiritual enlightenment that brings understanding, i.e. inner illumination that also implies “take heed” (give regard to).

[3] 2570/kalós – attractively good; good that inspires (motivates) others to embrace what is lovely (beautiful, praiseworthy); i.e. well done so as to be winsome (appealing).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TheDiscoveryBible Logo

I use The Discovery Bible to gain a deeper, richer and more complete understanding of the Scripture. If you want ready understanding of the original Greek, the original word emphasis and Greek tenses that do not exist in English, definitions of Greek words and more to make your reading of the New Testament deeper and richer, check out The Discovery Bible. The Discovery Bible opens up knowledge of the original New Testament text in Greek to you in your everyday Bible reading. It shows the words emphasized in the Greek text, the tenses and the meanings that do not always translate well into English or English sentence structure. If you are ready to dig deeper in your Bible reading, try a free 30-day trial download of The Discovery Bible.


The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Life: the time God gives you to determine how you spend eternity

Belong to The King

Christian, Faith, Jesus

Quantum Awareness

Are Buddhism and Quantum Mechanics saying the same thing in different languages? Let's finally bring the two together and have an enlightening discussion.

JonahzSong

Writings & Ramblings

testifyingtotruth

" Contrary to the claims of "sexual rights" propagandists there is no agreement at the United Nations that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) can be used to create "rights" to abortion, to be a prostitute, to be a child who has sex as they choose or for Men who have Sex with men (MSM) to engage in fisting, felching, rimming, farming, scat, chariot racing, jackhammering , anal penetration etc ".

Humanitarian Explorer

Informinig and raising awareness about humanitarian issues - Humanitarian News

Quotes, thoughts and musings

“God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes.” ~Apostle Paul

A Pilgrim in Narnia

a journey through the imaginative worlds of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings

Sparkonit

Science - Simplified

Paradigm Shift

A Godly Perspective To Refocus Every Day

Life, God, and the Universe

Inspirational insights revealing the secrets to a life of abundant joy, meaning, purpose, and love

Cat Battista

Faith. Family. Fête.

resurrecting orthodoxy

Joel Edmund Anderson

Spiritual Sisters

Embrace, Encourage, Empower.

Work in Progress

My thoughts as I journey through this thing called life.

Small Town Girl Taking on the World

"The world is a book and those who do not travel only read a page." - St. Augustine

t2gospel

Core Ideas of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Convergent Christianity

Where Evangelical, Charismatic and Historic church expressions are brought together in unity.

Wolff Poetry | Poems - Resources for Beginning Writers

Linda J. Wolff is poet & founder of Wolff Poetry. 75% Original Poems & the Go-To Source of Basic and Advance Writing Tools

The Truth Will Make You Mad

Skeptical believer. Christian anthropicist. Post-partisan Hayek-Friedman-Reagan classical liberal.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Comments on the New Testament and Early Christianity (and related matters)

WIT

Women in Theology

%d bloggers like this: