Thursday, January 12, 2017

The true measure of success - lessons from the father of nations.

Righteousness is perhaps that state of human being (not the noun) that every human being (the noun) longs for. It’s a prescient desire that may drive everything we do, say or think. We all want this state of – “Oh, I’m there. I’ve done it. I’m counted in.” It’s that feeling that we’ve won, that we’ve passed from the wrong side to the right side, that we made it!

courtesy of thlophene_guy/flickr; modifications made using canva
The righteous – in Hebrew – signifies those who are counted worthy of the inheritance. Jesus died leaving us His will (testament) saying that He has left His all to you, ________ (your name)! That’s what it means to be righteous.

Now, though Paul was writing to a young church in Rome that was made of many Jews, what he says is relevant to nearly the entire world today. It is relevant because most people on this planet believe that they have to do things, good things and obey certain laws and regulations, perform rituals and the like, to be right with God – just as the 
Jews he was writing to were used to. And now they had come to Christ there is confusion. “What do we do with all that?”

And here is an amazing, amazing truth. We are righteous and considered worthy precisely because we have chosen not to rely on doing good things to be right with God, but instead choose faith in the ‘good work’ of Jesus on the cross. It’s like cheating!

Here is Jesus who was perfect and loved perfectly – giving us righteousness to all who receive it, to all who simply believe it!

Abraham was counted worthy, he was counted as a very successful man – not because he did anything. But because he simply believed – even when the cross of Christ stood light years away in time.

In a way, faith is like a cheque that 
cashes in the promise of righteousness. But many Christians don’t seem to understand that you’ve got to take the cheque to the bank! Some study it, some frame it and some just use it as a bookmark in their Bibles. All the while, they’ll be working in the fields trying to earn money. Money in my little parable is righteousness. (Please, don’t reverse that sentence! For the record, righteousness does not mean money).

What Paul was desperately trying to protect the church from – whether they were of Jewish background or not – was the mentality that righteousness and being right with God could be something that can be achieved by doing good things. We’ve all been there; we’ll pray more, read the Bible, serve people – all the while we’re expecting that these good works will let God favor us more. It can be very obvious or sneaky and subtle, but whatever is its level of intrusion in your life, it is an arch-enemy of grace.

Paul was saying that as long as you just believe in the work of Jesus on the cross, you don’t ever have to work again to be right with God. Can you rest today in that? Can you decide to feel righteous? It takes deciding to do that because we feel the very opposite. But you know what, feeling you are righteous by faith is the closest you’ll get to reality – because you really are righteous.

[This begs the question; So shouldn’t we do good works? That actually comes in the next chapters of Romans so we’ll wait for that. Blessings!]

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David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog-Discover your inheritance!

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