Posts Tagged ‘legalism’


One day, an out-of-work man knocks on the door of a home in an upper-class neighborhood. The lady of the house answers. “Pardon me Ma’am; I’m out of work and looking for any odd jobs that people need done. I’m very handy with everything from repairs to yard work, to painting…”

“Painting?” the woman jumped in.

“Oh, yes, Ma’am! I’m a very careful painter,” the man replied, his face brightening at the realization she could provide him some work.

“I’ll tell you what. My husband just bought some green paint last week to paint the porch out back with, but we haven’t had any time. If you can do a good job, then you can paint it before he gets home and surprise him.

“Now, do a particularly good job and paint the trimmings white also, and I’ll pay you an extra bonus.”

“Oh yes, Ma’am, I’ll do an excellent job!” He was told the paints were also around back in the garage.

A few hours later, the man returns to the door.

“That was quick, did you do a good job?” the woman inquires.

“Oh yes Ma’am, two coats! But there’s something you should know,” the man says.

“That’s not a Porsche, that’s a Mercedes!”

Paul Paints Pictures for us In Romans 6

In Romans 6 Paul is painting a picture, a picture of the present that is based on the past. In verse 5 the painting is of two scenes:

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united (planted as one) with him in a resurrection like his.

1. The first painting is of our being united with Christ in His death.

Because of that fact, we see a painting of the future-our resurrection with Jesus! The reality paints the future! Because we KNOW we have died with Christ, we KNOW we shall be resurrected just like Him!

Paul is picturing our union with all that is Jesus Christ. Everything He experienced, we experience by faith. But Paul wants to drive this picture home to the reality of our daily living, not just our future eternity.

2.In verse 6 He pictures a truly unbelievable truth…

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Paul says that our old man, our old ‘Adamic’ self, was actually crucified with Christ, with the result being that we are no longer in bondage to sin. Paul says our fleshly body of sin is rendered powerless, brought to nothing, put out of business, unemployed.

This truth transcends our ‘fleshly’ comprehension. This truth runs contrary to our real-life experience. Sin is very much alive, and something that most of us tolerate, deal with, cope with, resent, you name it, we do it when it comes to this sin nature that plagues our Christian walk. Even Jesus told his disciples that when they pray they should say “Father, forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus even acknowledged that we should daily ask forgiveness of our trespasses.

Paul wants to drive this truth further into our hearts and into our daily walk! He paints a beautiful picture of the reality of our New Life in Christ in verse 7:

For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Set free is (dedikaiōtai)-perfect passive indicative of dikaioō, a word we have seen before in Romans 5. It’s the word we translate “justified”. The word means that because of the blood of Jesus and our faith in what He did, God can declare us righteous. He doesn’t just overlook our sins, He declares there is no sin, we are Holy and Righteous just as God is Holy and Righteous. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:1:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our faith in the finished work of Christ on our behalf places us before God as sinless and Holy as He is. Why, because we are placed ‘in Christ’ (we are planted as one), His Holy and Righteous Son. Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness!

A. Paul wants us to realize that if by faith, we can believe that the blood of Jesus covers our past sins, and our New Birth makes us justified before God,

B. then by faith, our death with Christ justifies us (makes us righteous) and thereby frees us from this sin nature!

  • By faith we are brought into a new birth,
  • By faith we are brought into a new walk, a walk that is freed from the power of sin!

One painting is of the crucified Christ, shedding His blood upon our sins, and making us white as snow. The other painting shows our “old man” hanging with Christ on the cross, and our New man walking free from the chains of sin as we walk hand in hand with our risen Savior!

This is what Paul paints in verse 8:

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

A cartoon read – “Well, I haven’t actually DIED to sin, but I did feel kind of faint once.”

This is not speaking of our life after death with Jesus. This is talking about our lives right now! If this is true, then this will be the reality. If your old man is dead, your new life will be entirely with Jesus Christ. There are no ifs ands or buts.

The Christian walk is not a fleshly or a self-willed walk. Our walk with Christ is to be totally with and by and through the means of Jesus Christ!

PUT ON THE NEW SELF

The believer’s new life imparted to him at the moment of believing is the life of Jesus Christ. We don’t get a piece of Him, we receive His Life!

We live by means of Him. We get every bit of our spiritual life from Jesus Christ!

Paul is not speaking of fellowship with Jesus, he is not speaking of our eternity with Jesus. He is speaking of our LIFE, our LIVING!

If God paints a picture of our eternal life with Him through the Blood of Jesus, why can’t we see the painting of our Living as Jesus because we were crucified with Jesus on the Cross?

Why do we doubt the truth that we have been freed from the power of sin? Why do we doubt that our body (of sin) is unemployed, powerless? Why do we doubt that our old man is really dead?

It is as if Paul is reading our minds as He writes verses 9-12:

9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

Today we will look at Romans 6:7-12 and will seek to understand the first two steps of deliverance from sin. We will look at Knowing and then we will look at reckoning (or counting upon), and then we will look at the practical way this works in our daily walk.

1. KNOWING THIS

In verse six we read: knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with him.

Knowing is from the greek word “ginosko” which is objective knowledge. The knowledge you learn at school, who the President’s have been, facts about the Civil War, Vietnam War. If someone is acquanted with someone, they know that person

The other word for knowing is “oida”, which is knowledge of a more personal, intimate nature. It is an inward consciousness. It is intuitive knowledge not necessarily known from external sources. You have a gut feeling about someone. A Mom has an intuition about a hurting child.

  • John 8:55 illustrates: But you have not known (ginosko) him. I know (oida) him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.
  • John 13:7 illustrates: Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest (ginosko) not now; but thou shalt understand (oida) hereafter.
  • Hebrews 8: 11: And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know (ginosko) the Lord,’ for they shall all know (oida) me, from the least of them to the greatest.

In Romans 6 verse nine, we find another Knowing, but this time it is from “oida”, meaning an intimate, personal knowledge.

Paul writes that we know personally, intuitively, that Jesus is rasied from the dead, and therefore He will never die again. We know within that Jesus conquered death!

So what we must know personally and intuitively, is that if Jesus conquered death by His resurrection, He also conquered sin by His death! So verse 11 says, when you know this personally, you will know and see that your old man is dead to sin. The King James says you must reckon, others count, others consider.

So, living the new life starts with:

  • Knowing that He died to set us free from sin.
  • Knowing that our old self was nailed to the cross w/Him.
  • Knowing that just as Jesus rose from the dead & will live forever, we have been raised to a new life in him that has no end.
  • Knowing that we live no longer by the tyranny of sin.

Bottom line: Once we know in our heart of hearts (as revealed by the Holy Spirit) that our old man was crucified with Jesus and buried with Him, then we must count on our old man being kept dead to sin. We reckon the old man dead!

The Four Steps of Deliverance

Last week I mentioned there were four steps of deliverance from sin. These are in our Journey in Romans 6, 7 and 8.

  1. Knowing
  2. Reckoning
  3. Presenting ourselves to God
  4. Walking in the Spirit

Here is the connection between believing and knowing. When you read the Word of God, you have a choice: believe or not believe.

“but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

Once you believe, by faith in Jesus Christ, you inwardly KNOW you have eternal life. No matter the doubts, no matter the feelings, no matter what the Devil says, you KNOW Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13

Believing becomes KNOWING! KNOWING turns into a life – long Believing Jesus Christ.

You don’t leave Jesus at the Cross. You don’t get up from the altar and walk away in your own strength. Your NEW LIFE is Jesus Christ! Your daily walk is a daily walk of BELIEVING JESUS!

Our Belief in the Blood of Jesus results in our KNOWING we are justified before God.

Our Belief in our crucifixion with Jesus Christ results in our KNOWING that our old man is dead to sin, and that we are (JUSTIFIED) freed from the power of sin.

Both Paul and John knew this truth:

  • I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:-20
  • For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
  • We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:18-20

When our belief in Romans 6:6 becomes the inward knowing of Romans 6:9, we are ready to go to the second aspect of deliverance form sin, from verse 11:

2. Count on this (Reckon)

NIV: In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

KJV: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:11

Phillips: In the same way look upon yourselves as dead to the appeal and power of sin but alive and sensitive to the call of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:1

ESV: So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

The point is, that if we believe that our salvation is because Jesus is alive, and since He is alive in God, then we must see ourselves as alive in God as well. God would not have us alive in Him if we were still under the power of sin! We are alive in God, and sin has no power over God! Therefore sin has no power over us, because we died to sin and are now alive IN GOD!

How Does Reckoning Work? Reckoning Is Faith In Action!

“You Count Upon Something”

  • This doesn’t just happen! – It is something the believer can & must do daily.
  • Christ’s’ death & resurrection has altered their position & they should live in accordance w/the new reality.
  • He doesn’t say that sin is dead! But that we are to count ourselves as dead to it!

Faith accepts God’s fact. Faith is always founded upon the past. Hope relates to the future. Faith is the substantiating of things hoped for. Because we have faith in what God did in the past, we can have hope in the future.

Jesus said this about faith:

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

Faith believes God has already done it! If you pray hoping God will do something, that is not faith! Faith always relates to the past, that God has already done something. If you say God can, God may, God will, God must, you do not have faith. Faith always says GOD HAS DONE IT!

So when do we have faith in our crucifixion? Not when you say God can, God will, God must crucify me. You have faith in what God has done when you exclaim “Praise God I am crucified!”

Reckoning makes real that which you accept by faith! Because I believe I am crucified with Christ, I am now count myself dead to sin!

The Two greatest facts in history are:

  1. All Our Sins Are Dealt With By The Blood
  2. We Ourselves Are Dealt With By The Cross

Barriers to Reckoning

  • Doubt of the divine facts

The devil comes to us and says, there is something stirring inside you. How can you say you are dead to sin? God deals directly with our sins by blotting them out with the blood of Jesus. But God deals with our sin nature in an indirect way. He doesn’t remove the sin nature, he doesn’t remove this sinful flesh, he simply kills the go between, our “old self.”

We don’t have victory over sin, wed on’t overcome our sin, only Christ has done that. What we do have is the power to be delivered from sin. That power is by reckoning what God has done in the past as true in our present.

Our daily choice is what facts to count on and live by: the facts of our daily experiences or the mightier fact that we are “IN CHRIST” and our old man is crucified in Him.

What facts are you placing your faith in?

Faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the vidence of things unseen! How do you substantiate something? We substantiate things everyday.

I hold up a white towel. It is already white, but my eyes look at it and communicate with my brain to substantiate that it is white. Now if the socks are navy blue I may have to go outside in the sunlight to substantiate that they are not black, but indeed are navy blue.

You cannot substantiate divine things with your fleshly sight or touch.There is only one way to substantiate the invisible things of God – by faith. Faith makes the real things (even though they be invisible) of God become real in my experience!

Faith substantiates to me the things of Christ!

To faith, God’s Word is true, to a doubting mind not illumined by the Holy Spirit, it is not true, but a lie!

Whatever contradicts the truth of God’s Word we are to regard as a lie of the devil.

The devil will work overtime to convince you that you are not dead to sin, and that God’s Word is a lie. Reckoning is done not based on experience but on the basis of what God says!

  • 2 Cor 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by (appearances) sight.

Fact, Faith and Experience are walking on top of a wall. Fact walked steadily on, turning neither to the right or the left, and never looking behind. Faith followed, and all went well as long as he kept his eyes focused upon Fact.; but as soon as he became concerned about Experience and turned to see how he was getting on, he lost his balance and tumbled off the wall, taking Experience with him.

The same thing happened to Peter. As long as he focused on the fact that Jesus Christ was walking on the water, he was fine. When he started to feel the wind and the waves, he took his eyes off the fact of Jesus Christ and let the experience of the wind blow him over into the water. That is why Jesus said, “O ye of little faith!”

3. Let the Knowing be Applied by Counting

God doesn’t remove the sin nature that we inherit from Adam. He doesn’t remove our flesh. God removes the intermediary, the catalyst, our old man. If we do not know this, if we do not reckon this, then we will attempt to handle our sin nature in the wrong ways.

We Focus on sin nature

If we focus our attention on the sin nature, or the devil, or evil, or whatever we want to call it, we will constantly trying to resist sin in our own strength.  Our focus on trying to resist sin will just further enslave us to it. It like trying to break a bad habit; the more you try to quit or overcome, the more you end up doing it. So your guilt emotions run back and forth between saying you’re sorry to doing the sin, and at some point you either give up trying to quit, or you get hardened and say well that’s just me, why fight it?

Either way, sin wins. The sin nature cannot be overcome. That is not God’s way!

We Focus on the Flesh

Some people focus their attention on the flesh. These are the folks who set up a system of rules. These are your “legalistic” Christians. These are the ones who don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t dance, don’t chew and who don’t go with girls that do. Their constant attention is upon conquering the desires of the flesh. These are the Christians who see their walk as a struggle between the black dog and the white dog.

This is not God’s way either. Either way of fighting sin will produce failure, defeat, legalism, pride, a fleshly walk. If you overcome a sin or a bad habit, then you say look what I did. You may throw in a “by the grace of God”, but inwardly you are thinking “I beat this!”

So for most Christians who walk in the flesh, the Christian life is one of constant battles with what you think you must do to be a Christian.

You force yourself to do this or that, read your Bible, go to church, maybe even get on your knees once in a while and pray. You are not living the Christian life. You are not living the LIFE that Jesus died to give you. You are doing the best that you can to look like a Christian.

God neither eradicates the root of sin within nor suppresses the body without!

We Focus on Christ

  • What is true of Christ is to be true of us.

The divine principle is that God has done the work in Christ and not in us as individuals. The all-inclusive death and the all-inclusive resurrection of God’s Son were accomplished fully without us in the first place.

The history of Christ is to become the experience of the Christian. We have no spiritual experience apart from Him. We were crucified with Him, we were quickened, raised, and set by God in the heavenlies “in Him” and we are complete “in Him” (Rom 6:6, Eph 2:5,6; Col 2:10)

God purposed to include us in Christ.

To think you can experience anything of God apart from Him is wrong, and self-focused. Your spiritual experience is only entering into His history and His experience.

At a couple of points in my life I felt that I died to my old man.  The experience I had gone through was earth-shattering, stripping me of any self-esteem, of any dreams, any self-respect. On a couple different occasions my world came to an end. Through God’s grace I accepted what God was doing and died to what I wanted. I willingly accepted my execution.  But my spiritual experience was not unique to me. God had simply brought me to a point where I shared what Christ had already done.

None of us can boast in our experiences, because we have simply entered into what Christ has already done.

Even our salvation is not given to us apart from what He has done in Christ.

“He that hath the Son has life”

Your spiritual growth, your spiritual walk, your spiritual deliverance from sin, nothing is yours alone. It is all as you enter into what Christ has already done!

Since salvation has crucified our old man, sin is annulled, it has no power over our old man, and therefore, the body of sin is unemployed. We have a new King reigning in our body, the Grace of Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:21 (ESV) so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When you are born again, the Holy Spirit places a NEW KING on the throne of your heart and life. King Jesus comes into your life, removes the power of the old self, and brings you new life in HIM!

  • Doe Jesus always stay on our throne? No, He does not !By our choice!
  • Does He want to always be on your throne? Yes He Does! And we will see from His Word how this can be possible!

A floor lamp is connected to a wall outlet. The light is possible because of the electricity that flows from the outlet up through the cord into the light bulb. Just so, a sinner has this old man, this nature of Adam that is under the domination of Sin. Remove the old man, and Sin no longer has a conduit to appeal to the man’s flesh! When a new believer understands that the old man is truly dead, that he has been crucified on the cross, it presents an entirely NEW WAY of praying when faced with the temptation of sin!

Our prayers should confess confidence in the fact that the old man is dead, that he was crucified and buried, and that now we are in Christ.

Is your every breath an expression of the fact that your new life is totally dependent upon Jesus Christ? Or do you depend upon this dead old man, have you got him on life support and are dragging him around with you?

The Christian walk is not a weekend with some guy named Bernie. You are dead. The old man is dead. Now everything you have is in Jesus Christ! Every spiritual experience He has experienced. He has already overcome sin, and if you die to the old man, whatever He has experienced will be your experience.

You simply believe. Let your faith in what He has accomplished rule your walk. Don’t walk by sight. If you do, you will allow your experiences to dictate what you believe. You’ll be like the scientist that sees the fossils, sees the rock strata, and conclude that God could not have made the world in six day.

But God said He did. Who will you believe? Will you place your faith in the facts as God has stated them, or will you walk by sight?

Faith in the facts becomes the substantiating of the unseen.

As you believe what God has said, you will see that indeed, that sin that always bothered you, all of a sudden, it has no effect upon you. You simply saw that Christ had already overcome it. You entered into the experience of Jesus Christ. By faith, you substantiated that what is unseen is definitely true.

You first knew it, then you really knew it, then you counted on it! He is faithful!

God’s way is to get us weaker and weaker until we finally see that Jesus has put our old man to death on the cross. God delivers us from sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him; not by helping him do anything but by removing him from the scene of action.

For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— Philippians 3:3

That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:29-31

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Do you want the power of Christ in your life? Do you want to experience deliverance from sin? Count on what He has already done for you. There can be no confidence in your flesh or your abilities. There can only be a counting upon His strength. In fact, glory in your weaknesses, and know His power!

Your old man is dead. This you must come to know deep in your heart and spirit. Once you see it, then count on it, and by faith enter into the spiritual victories that have already been won by Jesus Christ. His life must be your life. Your life is dead. Jesus lives in your stead!

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We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ each Easter. It certainly is a moving story of the sinless Son of God who is brutally beaten and then murdered by nailing him to a cross and then allowing him to slowly suffocate as he struggles to breath, all the time feeling the pain of those iron spikes, all that is holding his body up.

We know the story of Peter denying that he even knew Jesus, of the diciples running away, of the ladies going early Sunday morning to anoint the body of Jesus, only to find the great stone rolled away and the body missing. We know that the angels said to the women “why do you look for the living among the dead?”, and then how Jesus appears to Mary and then the disciples. We know the story of doubting Thomas and how when Jesus said “Put your finger here and see my hands, and Thomas said “My Lord and My God!

We know the story of the disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, and how they did not recognize the stranger who joined them. When they stopped to eat, and the stranger broke bread, they knew He was Jesus. We also know that after 40 days Jesus was with his disciples one last time. The last thing the disciples said to Jesus was: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11 (ESV)

That is the Power Point Version of the story of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

I don’t want to focus on the story of Easter. You have heard that story many times before. I want to focus on the Revelation of Easter – specifically, what did the Resurrection Reveal?

We have been looking at Romans, with the intent of taking a Journey through the cross. In our Journey so far we have seen that the Power of God is this Gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Gospel Alone is the Power of God unto salvation.

The reason that the Gospel is needed is that man has done three things:

  1. refused to honor God as His God,
  2. refused to allow God into his life by giving Him thanks,
  3. man has become vain or self-centered in his thinking.

As a result, man has been given over to the lusts that lurk in his naturally wicked heart, he has become corrupt in his emotions and behavior, and he has become upside down in his thinking. Bottom line, man is a messed up sinner.

Furthermore, we see from chapter two, that no matter how good man thinks he is, it is not good enough for God. God has declared that we are unrighteous. We are not “right”. Even the Jews, who are blessed by God, Paul writes:

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:9-12 (ESV)

The problem with God’s creation, with man, is that the one thing God made in His own image, you and me, mankind, has become worthless because of sin, because of our disobedience. You may sit there thinking, “I’ve never been one of those ‘corrupt’ sinners. Please realize as Charles Hodge wrote:

“If we have never loved Him supremely, if we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence.” Hodge

The Truth is, that ever since Adam and Eve, this world has not been RIGHT! God’s Righteous Creation was corrupted by three things:

  • SATAN
  • SIN
  • DEATH

If God is to set this world RIGHT, Someone must deal with these three corruptors!

The Revelation of Easter

Easter is more than a story, it is The Revealing of the Righteousness of God!

As we will read in a moment, when Jesus stepped through that doorway of his tomb, when he looked up and saw the the sunlight breaking over the horizon, it was more than a miracle, it was more than a triumphal moment for the Son of God. In that moment God revealed something to all of mankind for all of eternity. God revealed His righteousness!

You may say that that is no big deal. If I were to ask each of you, you would tell me you believe in the Righteousness of God. Yet, many of you really have doubts.

We equate righteousness with being right, and many times in our lives we have experienced things or seen things that we feel in our heart are not right, not just, or just not fair. And that  causes us to question this God who is supposed to be righteous, supposed to be loving

When you experience the death of an infant or a child, when you are in a horrible auto accident, or perhaps another kind of accident; when we hear of the tragedies other Christians are experiencing such as torture, rape, and even death, we think “why God”? Is that how you show your righteousness?

When greed is allowed to multiply, when corruption grows, when terrorists do what terrorists do and seem to get away with it, we wonder about the righteousness of God. We even wonder about His power in this world.

Sure, we have heard about His mighty miracles in the past, but why isn’t He doing this in my life? Why is He allowing this torment in my life? Why won’t He set this situation right? After all, you’ve been good, you say your prayers, even read your Bible.

Job

Once there was a man who experienced all sort of tragedies, the death of his children, the theft of everything he owned, the loss of his health. Even his friends turned on him. He questioned the righteousness of God in a huge way. He even pleaded with God for a chance to confront Him, and plead his case that God was wrong. Finally, God appears

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6 (ESV)

Instead of pleading and questioning, he repented, he was silent, he was in awe!

We can question God all we want. We can ignore God all we want. But the truth is that God is Righteous, and today we celebrate how He revealed His righteousness – in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

David

David, who was on the run from King Saul for over 10 years, even though he had done nothing wrong, could write:

Ps 71:15: “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.”

Whatever your questions and doubts about God and what He has done inyour life, one day you will know that He is and has always dealt with you in His righteousness:

Rev 15:4: “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy.  All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Have You Experienced the Righteousness of God?

We must embrace the truth that God is righteous and His righteousness has been revealed and in fact been made available to us through the resurrection of His Son.

The question I want each of us to answer is this: Have you experienced the Righteousness of God?

In Job 9:2, Job asked: “How should a man be right before God?”

His answer concluded that because God is the kind of God He is, there was no way he could ever approach Him? How can I ever be right with Him? How can I ever get an audience with Him? How can I ever have a relationship with such a God… so mighty, so holy, so powerful? That’s the question. Can a man be right with a God like that? Can a man have a right relationship with that holy, infinite, mighty God? And that is the question answered by our text and the answer is – yes, yes, yes!

Paul makes plain the Revelation of the Resurrection in Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)

What does the Righteousness of God Mean?

Dikaiosúnē, righteousness, meanss conformity to the claims of a higher authority and stands in opposition to anomía, lawlessness. Righteousness describes the character and the quality of God Himself. His character, his conduct, his actions his word, everything that God does, thinks, allows is according to who He is-righteous. His creation, his design,is all consistent with who He is-righteous.

Righteous is a state of being that cannot do wrong, cannot do that which is not righteous.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5).

Righteousness is God. God is the Definition of Righteousness

But what makes the Resurrection so Powerful, is that while it Revealed to us the Righteousness of God, that revelation was not just for show, it was to reveal something even more awesome than coming back from the dead, it revealed that the Righteousness of God can be ours! We can be Righteous!!!!

When Job asked “How can any man be righteous before God? God answers back – behold the Resurrection!

If you desire, as Job did, an audience with God, if you desire to spend your eternity with God, then you must be as Righteous as God is, otherwise He considers you to be “NOT RIGHT” and lawless!

So the question is not whether you have experienced the Righteousness of God, but is actually Are You as Righteous as God?

If not, then you will not spend eternity with Him. You will continue to be corrupted by Death and Satan for all eternity!

God demands our righteousness if we are to have a relationship of “worth” with Him. God himself is our standard of righteousness, so if we are to be righteous, we must share the very righteousness that belongs to God!

You ask,  Can I Really be Righteous? Ephesians declares that we are to “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”.   Ephesians 4:24 (ESV) God says that it is indeed possible to experience His righteousness. Indeed, we can even “put on” a new self, created in true righteousness and holiness based upon God Himself!

So when Jesus tells us in John 6:33 to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” he is telling us that we can indeed experience the righteousness of God!

There are Four Truth’s about becoming Righteous:

1.  It Does Not Come by Legalism

verse 21 says, it’s apart from the law. And here Paul uses the word “law” to refer to legalism, legal effort, law keeping on a human level. It is a part from any works of man. It is apart from any goodness of man, any religiosity, any spiritual ritual, any innate quality of man. It’s apart from any legalism in the sense that you on your own can live up to the law of God and satisfy God.

Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. Galatians 3:21 (ESV)

2.  It Comes By Revelation

God reveals it to you. It is witnessed by the Old Testament. The whole Old Testament was to show men that they couldn’t be righteous on their own. Even Jesus when he preached reaffirmed that God’s Standard is righteousness. He even made it harder showing that lust, lieing, stealin is not just an outward act, but it is an inward thing to. Even Jesus wanted His disciples to know that in themselves they could not be righteous.

Jesus wanted them to see that God would bring His righteousness to them. So the way to respond to the Sermon on the Mount is to cry out, I’m unclean, I can’t keep those commands, I need you, I need the power of Your Resurrection in my life.

3.  It Comes By Faith

Verse 22: “This righteousness of God is by faith.” In other words, it doesn’t come by works, it comes by faith. And those two are distinct. Works is something you do, it is an effort that you do embark on. Faith is something God does and you believe it, you accept it, you trust in it. It is done by Him and you accept that He did it and you don’t have to add anything to it.

On the cross Jesus said it is finished. He had accomplished the work of salvation, it was done. And the Bible simply says if you believe, you’re redeemed…. if you believe that He finished the work, if you believe in the significance of what He did, who He was and dying on the cross and rising from the dead, that’s all that’s necessary. He did it all, you need only believe it. It is acquired by faith. “If thou shalt confess Jesus as Lord and believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead,” Romans 10:9 and10, “thou shalt be saved, for with the heart man believeth unto salvation.”

Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord and my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He hath clothedme with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

God makes us Righteous, ONLY GOD!

The Righteousness of God was revealed to us in the Resurrection, it is totally apart from our works, it is built upon revelation, it is acquired by simple faith. The final amazing thing is:

4.  It is a Gift Available to All

Verse 22 says: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ, unto all them, who are believing.” The provision is made for anyone who believes.

DO I REALLY NEED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD? Is it important that we are made righteous like God? It is eternally important:

because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:31 (ESV)

The Resurrection is the Revelation that We can be Righteous!

By raising Christ from the dead, God not only revealed His righteousness to you and me, but He also assured us that we will one day be judged as to whether we were righteous or not! The Resurrection demonstrated to the world that the ONLY righteousness that God will accept is His righteousnesss. And He manifested that Righteousness in the Resurrection of His Son.

How Does the Resurrection Reveal God’s Righteousness to ME?

Paul in just a few short verses uses three distinct pictures to reveal exactly what the Resurrection means to you and me. There are three words that picture what the Resurrection represents to you and me.

The words are Justified or Justification, Redemption and Propitiation. Volumes have been written to define these words, but simply put they picture three things. These three pictures explain how the Righteousness of God can be revealed to your life.

A Courtroom

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:23-24 (ESV)

Picture a courtroom where a man who has committed a heinous crime is about to have his verdict read. The gallery is thinking this is a slam dunk. The devil was the Prosecuting Attorney. He is the one bringing the charges. He believes he has a claim on this man’s soul! The verdict seems simple.There was no evidence offered in his defense. Even his own widowed mother testified that he was a horrible person. The devil had witness after witness that testified to his horrible crimes. The devil is laughing with delight, for he believes another soul is in his grasp!

The judge, even after hearing all the horrible testimonies, announced to the courtroom: NOT GUILTY! You are free to go!

But the judge goes beyond the simple Not Guilty. The Judge declares him to be righteous. He doesn’t simply ignore the evidence, he erases it.

When God justifies us, he doesn’t close His eyes and pretend we are righteous. He makes us righteous. It is a transformation.

The devil immediately stands up and cries “This is a travesty.  He has killed, he has stolen, he has lied” How can you say you are righteous and  declare that this lowlife is righteous like you?

At that point, the courtroom shakes, a huge stone is rolled away, and out steps the Resurrected Jesus Christ!

He walks up to the man, embraces him, and says, “He has my righteousness! He is my brother, he simply put his life in my hands”

The devil shuts up, he has no other accusations. The man walks out, in the arms of His Savior!

The Resurrection brings God’s Righteousness to our hearts simply by our faith in the truth of Jesus Christ. By faith, God makes us righteous. We are no longer condemned men and women. We are actually made righteous. We are transformed into new creations.

If we believe that God is just saying we are righteous when we’re not, then conversion isn’t a transformation it’s just God sort of fooling Himself. But being born again is a true “making righteous”. We are made right with God… an actual acquittal, an actual imputation of righteous nature granted to us. And it is all a gift freely given.

For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (ASV)

JUSTIFY MEANS TO PRONOUNCE AND TREAT AS RIGHTEOUS. It is vastly more than being pardoned; it is a thousand times more than forgiveness. You may wrong me and then come to me; and I may say, “I forgive you.” But I have not justified you. I cannot justify you. But when God justifies a man, He says, “I pronounce you a righteous man. Henceforth I am going to treat you as if you have never committed any sin.” Justification means sin is all past and gone — wiped out — not merely forgiven, not merely pardoned; it means clearing the slate and setting the sinner before God as a righteous man, as if he had never sinned, as if he were as righteous as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Dr. Alva McClain in “Romans, the Gospel of God’s Grace, p. 107

The Resurrection reveals that our Justification and our Rightousness must be totally by Jesus Christ. We cannot stand on anything that we have done, for it is all sin, it is all as filthy rags. We are made righteous only when we place our faith and trust in the Righteous One-Jesus Christ. We are clothed in His righteousness.

The Resurrected Christ has made us Right by transforming us into His Righteousness and freeing us from the claims of Satan

A SLAVE MARKET

and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:24 (ESV)

The only way we can become Righteous as God is through the gift of Redemption by Jesus Christ.

Imagine you had been kidnapped, held in a dungeon. You are being held by none other than Satan himself. He sends for you and declares you to be his slave, on the basis of God’s Word!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” (Jn 8:34)

You are a sinner, and because you are a sinner, the wages of your sin are death by becoming his slave for all eternity. As you stand there, bound in the chains of your sins, suddenly the gates of hell are shaken, a huge stone is rolled away, and out steps the Resurrected Jesus Christ.

He points his finger at that old Devil and says Stop! He must go free! Immediately the chains fall off and evaporate into thin air.

The Old Devil Reaches out to Grab you, but Jesus says STOP!

I have paid the price for his sins! Here look at my hands, look at my feet! I have taken his place on the Cruel Cross and I have paid the price of his sins with my own Blood. He has trusted in me with his heart and soul, and he has been redeemed!

That old devil throws a fit, but Jesus takes your hand and together you rise to heaven!

  • Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— Galatians 3:13 (ESV)
  • You were bought with a Price! (I Cor 6:20)
  • who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:14 (NIV)
  • “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:5).
  • “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
  • “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:5-6).

A dignified looking lady once approached the great preacher Dr. G. Campbell Morgan and said,
“Dr. Morgan, I don’t like to hear about the blood. It is repulsive to me and offends my esthetic nature.”
Dr. Morgan replied, “I agree with you that it is repulsive, but the only thing repulsive about it is your sin and mine.”

It is repulsive to man, but it is through His blood that we have redemption. The Resurrected Christ has made us right by freeing us from the chains of sin.

A SACRIFICE

Verse 25 & 26: God has appointed him as the means of propitiation, a propitiation accomplished by the shedding of his blood, to be received and made effective in ourselves by faith. God has done this to demonstrate his righteousness both by the wiping out of the sins of the past (the time when he withheld his hand), and by showing in the present time that he is a just God and that he justifies every man who has faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:25-26 (Phillips NT)

The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23)

Most of us have seen a movie with the natives believing some god is angry with them. They believe the only way to appease their god is to offer a human sacrifice.

God hates sin. It is not right. It is not righteous. God cannot tolerate anyone who has even one sin. He requires death, he requires a sacrifice. God loves us, but His righteousness means he cannot tolerate sin, in fact, he must prosecute sinners, he must judge them.

That is why he set out a system of sacrifices for the Jewish people. His righteousness demanded a covering of their sin. The Law spelled out in great detail the method of atoning for the sins of Israel. Atoning is a word similar to propitiation.

Jesus became our sacrifice, our propitiation.

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1John 2:2

Jesus himself become the satisfaction, that’s the word hilasterion, the propitiation. It means “a place where sins are blotted out.” It means that God’s righteous requirements are satisfied because your sins are blotted out.

It was used to refer to the Mercy Seat, when the priest went in the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, and sprinkled the blood on the Mercy Seat, that was the place where sins were blotted out … and Christ became the place where sins are blotted out. He became the kapporeth, the Mercy Seat. He, by His blood, provided satisfaction. And so we are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, a lamb without spot and without blemish.

So picture yourself before God Almighty. You sins have made you wretched before him and His righteousness demands your death. A death that will last for all eternity in Hell. But just before you are to be carried away into eternal torment, an earthquake is felt, the huge stone is rolled away and Jesus Christ appears. He instantly goes to you and takes you in his arms and looks back at God and says, He is mine, his sins are blotted out. God immediately smiles. Instead of the stench of your sins filling his nostrils, there is the aroma of His Son. Where there was rotting sin, there is cleanness, righteousness. He is pleased He can be loving, He can take you to heaven. His righteous demands have been satisfied, because the Blood of Jesus has satisfied the righteous demands of God upon your life.

  • The Resurrected Christ has made us right by freeing us from the wrath of God that demanded our death
  • The Righteousness of God becomes our righteousness because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Resurrection is the Proof that Jesus Finished the Job. It is Finished because I have Conquered!

Jesus Christ set everything RIGHT! He satisfied the Righteous Demands of Holy God. He empowered all those who believe to possess the righteousness of God. He covered our sins, satisfying God’s demands, He purchased us from the devil, from death and from sin by His Blood, and He became our righteousness, enabling us to partake of the righteousness of God!

Jesus Made Everything Right so He Could Reveal the Righteousness of God

When Jesus stepped forth from that Tomb, He declared to God and the world that He had set things right again.

  • He is our Propitiation and through His sacrifice made us right with Death.
  • He is our Redeemer and through His blood made us right with Sin
  • He is our Justifier and by His Righteousness becoming ours, he has made us right with Satan.
  • His resurrection revealed the Righteousness of the Father, and freed us from sin, from death and from Satan!

HAVE YOU BEEN MADE RIGHT WITH GOD BY FAITH?

  • In verse 22 we see a little word mentioned: This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, Romans 3:22 (NIV)
  • In verse 25 we see that same little word: whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
  • In verse 26 we see that little word again: “It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

The Reason the Resurrection can transform you from a sinner bound for Hell into a Righteous Saint bound for heaven is by faith in what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross. When Jesus said “It is finished” by faith you say “AMEN”

Faith is rest, not toil. It Is Not Your Faith That Saves You. It means you turn away from all you think you need to do to gain God and simply rest in what Jesus did for you.

  • He freed you from the devil’s condemnation in the court room,
  • He freed you from slavery to sin,
  • He freed you from the wrath of death in hell.

There is nothing more you can do to be righteous before God.

Faith is total dependence upon Jesus Christ. Faith enables you to see and lay hold of Him who is invisible!

An orphaned boy was living with his grandmother when their house caught fire. The grandmother, trying to get upstairs to rescue the boy, perished in the flames. The boy’s cries for help were finally answered by a man who climbed an iron drainpipe and came back down with the boy hanging tightly to his neck.

Several weeks later, a public hearing was held to determine who would receive custody of the child. A farmer, a teacher, and the town’s wealthiest citizen all gave the reasons they felt they should be chosen to give the boy a home. But as they talked, the lad’s eyes remained focused on the floor. Then a stranger walked to the front and slowly took his hands from his pockets, revealing severe scars on them. As the crowd gasped, the boy cried out in recognition. This was the man who had saved his life. His hands had been burned when he climbed the hot pipe. With a leap the boy threw his arms around the man’s neck and held on for dear life. The other men silently walked away, leaving the boy and his rescuer alone. Those marred hands had settled the issue.

Many voices are calling for our attention. Among them is the One whose nail-pierced hands remind us that He has rescued us from sin and its deadly consequences. To Him belongs our love and devotion. -D. C. Egner  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

What do you think of the Resurrection? Is it just a story?

Are you ready to place your life in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus Christ?