COMING TO KNOW CHRIST

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

GOD'S GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

ROMANS AND THE DOCTRINE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

With the growth of the Church from Palestine into the Roman world, Paul’s inspired teachings laid the foundation for the major theological precepts of Christianity. The foundation for Christian theology is based on Paul’s letter to the Romans.

The letter to the Romans recognized the religious Jew’s decent from Abraham and the Jew’s knowledge of the Law in their religious practice in attempting to be “Right with God.” Romans defines major theological concepts regarding the Law, Righteousness, Justification, Faith, Salvation and Grace.

Paul’s important teachings in Romans also include the Adamic heritage of sin, the predominate sin nature of nonbelievers; the manifestation of this historical plague of “unrighteousness” which subjects nonbelievers to His wrath, and the new freedom from the blight of sin found in Faith and Beleif in Jesus Christ by the walk with His indwelling Holy Spirit.

Of all these ideas, the doctrine of Righteousness is key in understanding God’s Grace in imparting the gift of Salvation through Justification by Faith. (Rom 5:1) The understanding of this is the subject matter of his epistle, the New Testament book of Romans.

Righteousness is the central theme of the Bible in terms of:

· God’s ethical posture towards man (Rom 3:25),

· Jesus Christ’s mission on earth; the meaning of His atonement at His death and resurrection (Rom 3:25 & 4:25),

· The Holy Spirit’s mission to convict the world (John
16:8),

· Man’s Salvation and walk in Christ with the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:16,17).

Righteousness: To be right with God; to have a right-standing with Him.

Righteousness: To know what God means by being ethically correct; to be morally right as compared to being morally wrong in unrighteous sin.

Righteousness: What it really means according to God’s standards.

Righteousness: To know what it means to be declared and made righteous by Faith alone.

Righteousness: what it means to be right with self as a result of having a right relationship with God!!!!

II. PAUL, THE INSPIRED WRITER OF ROMANS

The question is asked, how shall a sinner be justified and made righteous? What does becoming righteous really mean in the eyes of the Lord? What does being justified mean? If you are justified does that mean you are right? If you are “right” who are you right with? The “soul” of our relationship with God is found in the answer to these questions. The fundamental message of the Bible and the difference between the Old Testament theology and the New Testament theology is locked in the answer.

For the followers of the Old Testament, righteousness meant being conformed to the will of God as expressed in His revealed Law. The Old Testament righteousness implied that eternal life was its reward. The Jews believed it was legalistically obtained by human effort and specific works in obeying the Law. To be justified, and thereby being right with the Law, one must by human effort obey the Law, God’s Law as expressed in the “Law and the Prophets,” the commandments of the Old Testament.

In contrast to Old Testament belief, the very “soul” of the New Testament theology is found in Romans, particularly in chapters one through eight (Rom 1-8).

The book of Romans presents the technical application of the “Good News” of the Gospel message. The New Testament theology, as proclaimed by Paul, holds that it is by the obedience of simple Belief alone that righteousness is obtained as a gift of God’s Grace (Rom 4 and 5:1,2) (Eph 2:8).

Paul, the inspired writer of Romans, pursued the ideal of righteousness first as a believing Jew. He then pursued it as a persecutor of Christians when, as a Pharisee and an agent of the Sanhedrin, he participated in the murder of Stephen (Acts 8:1-3). Finally, he attained it as Jesus Christ’s personal apostle to the world after his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6). It has been said by the historian Philip Schaff (1890) that, “The honest and earnest pursuit of righteousness is the connecting link between the two periods in Paul’s life. What he had sought in vain by his fanatical zeal for the traditions of Judaism, he found gratuitously and at once by trust in the cross of Christ: pardon and peace with God.” Pardon and peace with God, what it means to be right with Him!

Having been justified and “declared right” with God, God also made Paul righteous in his behavior and relationship with others, the work’s resulting from his Faith, as exemplified by his missionary endeavors to convert gentiles to Christianity, his written Epistles providing the basic doctrines of the Church, and his personal martyrdom for Christ, a final witness of His love for God.

Mankind’s sin nature is applied to Gentile and Jew alike. There was only one reprieve from this human condition (Rom 5:1,2). It is apparent that God’s answer to this historic problem is His Son, Jesus Christ. But what is not apparent and most surprising is that the answer does not deny the human condition of the lost soul seeking righteousness. God does not free the human, whether Gentile or Jew, from the human condition of the flesh while on earth. His answer is to free the one seeking righteousness from the domination of the flesh, that human sinful nature exemplified by human pride. He has done this for those who believe in and have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Remarkably, God forgives the believer for all past sins and all sins confessed by the new transformed human nature. (2Cor 5:17; 1John 1:5-10) Jesus has paid for these sins. He has redeemed the lost by His blood on the Cross. Further, Jesus has provided the indwelling Holy Spirit whose very presence in the believer constitutes a transformed nature, a nature that is not perfect, but a nature that is right with God and righteous in the pursuit of new desires and perspective (Rom 8:3-11).

This dispelling of the fleshly sin nature of the sinner, by the new nature compelled by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, is the divine transformation beginning the new nature - righteous in spirit and deed, humble and obedient to God. This new nature is a gift of God to those who believe, the essential manifestation of “righteousness” in the believer’s life (Rom 5:17).

Stated another way by John MacArthur of Grace Community Church, the believer does not attain “perfection” the believer receives a righteous “direction” of not being a slave to sin in the walk with the Holy Spirit (Rom 6:17,18). It is this righteous “direction” in the walk with the Holy Spirit that differentiates the old and the new nature of the believer who is born again in Jesus Christ. In this sense, then, it is the “direction” inspired by the “perfection” that becomes the rule of the believer’s life.
This transformation is the beginning walk with the Holy Spirit. It is constituted by an immediate initial sanctification leading to a progressive sanctification on a miraculous journey with the Holy Spirit. That journey is a progressive Gift-laden and Fruit-laden spiritual growth promulgated by a very personal relationship the believer has with Jesus Christ through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The evidence of this righteous miracle, this new direction, soon becomes apparent as God’s Word works developes wisdom and righteousness in the believer’s life. There are millions of Christians who can give and have given witness to this realization.

This testimonial evidence constitutes a foundation of fact sustaining a growing Belief and Faith in the believer. This growing Belief and Faith eventually leads through the physical life cycle on earth to the state of ultimate righteousness and sanctification, an ultimate “perfection”: the believer’s physical death and the continuance of an eternal spiritual life with Jesus Christ in heaven. This, then, is the believer’s realization of his hope and faith in Jesus Christ. That is the promise!

The following four sections address the Biblical concept of Righteousness by using extensive quotes from the Bible. These quotes are complemented with brief comments and are expressed in the context of Righteousness as the concept applies to God the Father, God the Son - Jesus Christ, the Believer, and God the Holy Spirit. Each section includes quotations from the Old Testament and the New Testament book of Romans.

Beloved evangelist John Walvoord instructs the believer on the lessons of righteousness contained in the Bible, in the Abridged Edition of Lewis Perry Shafer’s Systematic Theology:

“The ethics of the Bible are the only sure word regarding what is right and wrong in the world. While false religions often elevate immorality to a place of acceptance and morality, only the Bible presents sin as it really is and characterizes humanity as totally and hopelessly depraved apart from the grace of God. Human history in the Bible describes what fallen humans can do in living a life totally contrary to the will of God which can take individuals in all their depravity, sanctify them, and ultimately present them perfect in eternity to come.”

God’s message in His Word is clearly stated. Please be prayerful in reading what follows. And read slowly, contemplatively and meditatively.


III. THE FATHER’S RIGHTEOUSNESS

God the Father’s righteousness:

· The gift of righteousness to the believer (Rom 5:17).

· As evidenced by The Old Testament and the blood sacrifice of His Son.

· As manifested in His gift of Faith as a part of the overall gift of Salvation to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

· As explained and manifested in the New Testament Book of Romans.

The very character of God the Father is the ultimate standard of righteousness.

He is righteous:

Ps 4:1 “Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Thou hast relieved me in my distress; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.”

Ps 7:9 “O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.”

Ps 71:19 “For Thy righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, Thou who hast done great things; O God, who is like Thee?”

He overviews all with righteous judgment:

Ps 9:8 “And He will judge the world in righteousness;”

Ps 96:13 “For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness.”

Ps 98:9 “Before the Lord; for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.”

He sets the standard of morality:

Ps 45:7 “Thou hast loved righteousness and hated wickedness;”

He is our only righteous Savior:

Isa 45:21 “And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is none except Me.”

He delivers us in righteousness:

Ps 119:40 “Behold, I long for Thy precepts; Revive me through Thy righteousness.”

His acts are always righteous:

Jr 12:1 “Righteous art thou, O Lord, that I would plead mycase with Thee;”

Ps 71:24 “My tongue will utter Thy righteousness all daylong;”

The righteous are protected by Him:

Isa 3:10 “Say to the righteous that it will go well with them, for they will eat the fruit of their actions.”

Righteousness is the basis of His kingdom:

Ps 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundations of Thy throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before Thee.”

God’s righteousness finds expression in his decrees and laws. These decrees and laws are not an end to themselves as a means of reaching God. It is by Belief and Faith that one becomes right with Him, and that Belief and Faith in Jesus Christ represents a fulfillment of His Law because of the new covenant.

Dt 4:8 “Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?”

Ps 119:7 “I shall give thanks to thee with uprightness of heart, when I learn Thy righteous judgments.”

Ps 119:62 “At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to thee because of Thy righteous judgments.”

Ps 119: 75 “I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me.”

Ps 119:106 “I have sworn, and I will confirm it, that I will keep Thy righteous ordinances.”

Ps 119:138 “Thou hast commanded Thy testimonies in righteousness and exceeding faithfulness.”

Ps 119:160 “The sum of Thy word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.”

Ps 119:164 “Seven times a day I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous ordinances.”

Ps 119:172 “Let my tongue sing of Thy word, for all Thy commandments are righteous.”

And as emphasized in the New Testament, God’s anger is directed at those who practice unrighteousness by not believing in Him:

Rom 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth (about God) in unrighteousness.”

Does unrighteously suppressing the truth about God nullify the faithfulness of God?

Rom 2:3-6 “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?” May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, through every man be found a liar....But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God that inflicts wrath is not unrighteous is He? May it never be! For otherwise how will God judge the world?”

Does the Old Testament Law always prevail in proscribing righteousness?

Rom 2:11-14 “For there is no partiality with God. For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a Law to themselves.”

God’s righteousness and love is demonstrated in many ways: - The gift of His only Son, Jesus Christ.- The redeeming atonement, the death and resurrection of His Son.- The forgiveness of unrighteous sins.- The gift of righteousness to those who believe in His Son.- The presence of His Holy Spirit, the executive of Christ’s Church in this world.


IV. JESUS CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS

Jesus Christ’s righteousness:

· By one obedient act many will be declared and made righteous.

· As evidenced by Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news, for God through Jesus provides the gift of righteousness. All one has to do to receive this free gift is to have Belief in Him.

Jesus hallows those who aspire and defend righteousness:

Mt 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Mt 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus’ standard of an inner righteousness:

Mt 5:20
“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness
surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”


Mt 5:21 “You have heard that the ancients were told ‘YOUSHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty...”

Mt 5:27 “You have heard that it was said ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you, that everyonewho looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

Mt 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR ANEYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ but I say to you, do not resist who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemies.’ But I say toyou, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

The following is the begining of the heart of the theological message on the meaning of the New Testament. This message continues through the next two sections on man’s and the Holy Spirit’s righteousness.

The righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel.

Rom 1:15-17
“Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the
gospel to you who are also in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS MAN WILL LIVE BY FAITH.”

God demonstrates His righteousness through Jesus Christ’s blood by being just in His forgiveness for past sinful unrighteousness and by justifying (declaring and making righteous) the sinner as a believer in Christ.

Rom 3:21-26
“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe. For there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ.”

And the great Gospel message is pronounced: that righteousness is not established by being obedient to His Laws, but by having faith in Jesus Christ.

Rom 3:28 “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”

Paul retells the Old Testament story of Abraham, the father of all who have Faith in God, in Romans 4. Paul emphasizes that Abraham’s Faith is the same as our Faith. We share the heritage of Faith that made Abraham righteous before God. The Christian believes in God who raised Jesus from the dead. The Christian believes that Jesus Christ died because of our unrighteousness and He was raised to make us righteous (Herein lies the heart and soul of the Gospel message!).
Rom 4:22-25 “Therefore also IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM (Abraham) AS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Gen 15:6). Now not for his sake only was it written, that it (righteousness) was reckoned to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus from the dead, He who was delivered up because of our transgressions and was raised because of our justification.”


Jesus Christ died so that unrighteous man could become righteous.

Rom 5:6-8 “For while we were still helpless (in our unrighteousness), at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Christ’s righteous act). For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us (God’s righteousness), in that we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (and by that righteous act forgiving the sinner for his unrighteousness while, at the same time, bestowing on the sinner the gift of righteousness).”

The Bible teaches sin entered the world because of Adam’s disobedience. This unrighteousness is characterized as sin. But, even though man has inherited the sin nature, and a resulting death in and through sin from Adam, sin is not imputed without the Law. The Law is the Old testament Law that is referred to as God’s commandments.

Rom 5:12-21 “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned - for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no Law.”

Death reigned after Adam’s unrighteous disobedience.

“Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses (whom God gave the Law - the Ten Commandments), even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who was a type of Him to come (Jesus Christ).”

But the free gift of righteousness now abounds to many through Jesus Christ.

“But the free gift (of righteousness) is not like the transgression (Adam’s unrighteous disobedience). For if by one (Adam) the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift (of righteousness)
by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to many.”

The free gift of righteousness results in justification by and before God.

“And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned (Adam); for on the one hand the judgment (of God) arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation. But, on the other hand the free gift (of righteousness)
arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.”

Death reigned through the unrighteousness of Adam. But the gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ will reign in life.

“For if by the transgression of the one (Adam),
death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

Through Adam’s unrighteous disobedience we were made sinners. But, through the righteous obedience of Jesus Christ (His atonement on the Cross), the Christian is declared and made righteous.

“For as through the one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one (Jesus Christ) the many will be made righteous.”

God gave His chosen people, the Jews, the Law so that their knowledge of disobedience would increase. The Jew became obsessed with the religious practice of obeying the Law as the means of gaining righteousness with God. Because of that fact, disobedience increased as the Law became a religious ritual interfering with the Jewish believer’s Faith in Him.

But, God’s grace reigns through the gift of righteousness, for those who have Belief and Faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Thereby imparting a new righteous nature to the believer.

2Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

And, incredibly, that new nature has eternal life and a resulting victory over the imputed death inherited as a result of Adam’s fundamental disobedience. These are great promises of the Gospel message.

Rom 5:21,22 “And the Law came in that transgression might increase. But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that, as sin reigned in death so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Jesus Christ’s righteousness was manifested in terms of His blood sacrifice by being the vehicle for our sin. Our Belief in this is the basis for God’s forgiveness and justification through the gift of His righteousness, which gift is celebrated by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Rom 4:25).

V. THE BELIEVER’S RIGHTEOUSNESS

The believer’s righteousness:

· As manifested by the believer’s righteousness.

· As evidenced by the believer’s Faith, the believer’s justification by God, the believer’s Christian nature, and the believers walk with the Holy Spirit

When asked which is the great commandment in the Law, Jesus said:

Deut 6:5 “And you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Matt 22: 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment.”

To love God, following His commandment, is a fundamental expression of believing and having Faith and Belief in Him. This is the basic and first righteous act of the believer.

We seek His righteousness:

Ps 143:2 “Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications! Answer me in Thy faithfulness, in Thy righteousness!

Ps 143:11 “For the sake of Thy name, O Lord, revive me. In Thy righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.”

Some who were righteous witnesses:

Ge 6:9 “These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.”

Job 1:1 “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil.”

Ge 15:6 “He (Abraham) believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

God’s command to be righteous:

Dt 6:25 “And it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us (Dt 6:1-24).”

Dt 6:18 “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you....”

Righteousness means having a right relationship with Him:

Mal 3:18 “So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”

Ps 33:1 “Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright.”

Ps 64:10 “The righteous man will be glad in the Lord, and will take refuge in Him; and all upright in heart will glory.”

Ps 68:3 “But let the righteous be glad; let them exult before God; yes, let them rejoice in gladness.”

Ps 140:13 “Surely the righteous will give thanks to Thy name; the upright will dwell in thy presence.”

Righteousness brings multiple blessings:

Ps 5:12 “For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O Lord, Thou dost surround him with favor as a with a shield.”

Ps 37:17 “For the arms of the wicked will be broken; but the Lord sustains the righteous.”

Ps 92:12 “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”

Ps 112:6 “For he will never be shaken; the righteous will be remembered for ever.”

He helps the righteous:

Ps 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Ps 37:25 “I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendents begging bread.”

Ps 55:22 “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Prov 3:33 “The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.”

Prov 10:3 “The Lord will not allow the righteous to hunger, but He will thrust aside the craving of the wicked.”

Prov 10:24 “What the wicked fear will come upon him, and the desire of the righteous will be granted.”

Prov 10:29 “The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the upright, but ruin to the workers of iniquity.”

Righteous conduct:

Prov 10:2 “Ill-gotten gains do not profit. But righteousness delivers from death.”

Prov 11:28 “He who trusts in his riches will fail, but the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.”

Prov 11:8 “The righteous is delivered from trouble, but the wicked takes his place.”

Prov 10:30 “The righteous will never be shaken, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.”

Being righteous is a basis for confidence in prayer:

Ps 17:1 “Here my righteous plea, O Lord,”

2Sa 22:21 “The Lord has rewarded me according to myrighteousness;”

2Sa 22:25 “Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness before His eyes.”

Ps 7:8 “The Lord judges the peoples; vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.”

Ps 18:20 “The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.”

Ps 119:121 “I have done justice and righteousness; do not leave me to my oppressors.”

By believing in Jesus Christ, the believer is dead to sin (unrighteousness) and alive in God’s imparted righteousness.

Rom 6:10-20 “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that he lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefor do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

The sinner is a slave to unrighteousness resulting in death. The believer is under righteous grace, an obedience that results in righteousness.

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under Law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one you obey, either resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”

The believer becomes a slave to righteousness.

“But thanks to God that through you were slaves to sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

Righteousness also results in sanctification.

“I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”

We came to know what unrighteous conduct and sin was through the Law.

Rom 7:7-25 “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COVET.’”

But the Law made sin in the sinner, and the sinner became dead in his unrighteousness.

“But sin taking the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. And I was once alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died (he became dead to sin); and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.”

Did the Law become the source of the sinner’s death? No, it is the unrighteousness in the sinner, the sin itself.

“So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.”

So, following the Law, man is sinful. He behaves according to his natural instincts of the flesh, his human nature.

“For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.”

The Law and man’s nature, therefor, creates a conflict.

“For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not wish to, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good.”

The problem is caused by the fact and knowledge of indwelling sin.

“So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but the sin which indwells me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good.”

There is real conflict: the law of God, the law of the mind, the law in the body, and the law of sin.

“For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.”

Who will resolve this conflict of these laws?

“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”

What is the answer to this dilemma? The answer is the greatest gift of all to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

But, before we consider this answer, the following quote is presented here as a vital commentary on Romans 7:7-25 and as an introduction to the inspired answer given to us in Chapter 8 of Romans.

“This remarkable section (Romans 7:7-25
) describes the psychological progress of the human heart to Christ:
· from the heathen state of carnal security,
· when sin is dead because it is unknown,
· through the Jewish state of legal conflict,
· when sin,
· roused by the stimulus of the divine command,
· springs into life,
· and the higher and nobler nature of man strives in vain to overcome this fearful monster,
until at last the free grace of God in Christ gains victory.Some of the profoundest divines - Augustine, Luther, Calvin - transfer this conflict into the regenerate state; but this is described in the eighth chapter (of Romans) which ends in an exulting song of triumph.”


(Footnote 5, Page 299, The Conversion of Paul, Volume 1, The History of the Christian Church, by Philip Schaff.)

And now the answer, His gift to us of His Holy Spirit!

VI. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S RIGHTEOUSNESS

The Holy Spirit’s righteousness:

· The conviction of the world regarding righteousness.

· As evidenced by His leading the nonbeliever to Christ, His indwelling of the believer, His spiritual gifts, His fruit, His sanctifying walk with the believer.

The believer is set free from the law of sin and death, as described Romans 7:7-25, through the righteousness provided as a gift by Jesus Christ.

Rom 8:1-17 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin.”

The requirement of the Law can not be fulfilled by serving the Law. It can only be fulfilled by walking with the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ’s greatest gift to the believer.

“He condemned sin in the flesh in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in flesh cannot please God.”

Instead of being indwelled by the fleshly unrighteousness of sin, as specified by the Law, the believer is indwelled by the Spirit of God.

“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”

Death is the flesh’s reward, for it possesses the inheritance of disobedient unrighteousness from Adam. But the free gift of righteousness results in being justified by God through the conviction called faith, and the believer’s belief in God and His Word. The sanctifying walk with the Holy Spirit gives life, eternal life for those who believe.

“So then brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh, for if you are living according to the flesh you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God the Father.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Following this great revelation, let us learn from John Walvoord’s instruction on the Holy Spirit in his Abridged Systematic Theology:

“The period between the two advents of Christ is often designated ‘the age of the Holy Spirit’ because it is a time when the Holy Spirit of God is resident in the world and especially in the child of God. Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit with the special purpose of providing supernatural enablement in all areas of the spiritual life including that of comprehending truth. The Spirit of God can even reveal ‘the deep things of God’ (1 Cor. 2:10). This truth opens up a vast horizon of spiritual knowledge to the spiritual Christian with its corresponding warning to Christians who are not walking with God and who are not being taught by the Spirit. Even as Christ revealed the Scriptures to His companions on the Road to Emmaus on the day of His resurrection (Luke 24:13-35), so today the Holy Spirit can open minds of spiritual Christians to understand and accept the limitless truth of God revealed in the Bible.”

The point should be established that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is decisive in terms of your being a true Christian, for as Christ said in contemplating His death:

John 16:7-11 “But I tell you the truth: It is for your own good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in Me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer, and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

The main question here, in the context of the theme of this letter, is what is meant by the statement regarding righteousness in terms of the Holy Spirit’s mission? John Walvoord provides an answer pertaining to the unsaved in his Abridged Edition of Systematic Theology:

“This righteousness is related to the fact that Christ would ascend into heaven and no longer be present on earth. In other words, while on earth He demonstrated the righteousness of God for all to see. But now with Christ in heaven the Holy Spirit will teach the unsaved the righteousness of God and with it the fact that in the Gospel God is offering His righteousness to sinful men who put trust in Christ. This concept would not be understood by an unsaved person apart from the work of the Spirit.”

Now as regards the saved person, Lewis Sperry Chafer provides guidance regarding being filled in the walk with the Spirit in his honored Systematic Theology:

“To be filled with the Spirit is to have the Spirit fulfilling all that He came in the heart to do. This truth is far removed from the notion that the Holy Spirit is to be received as ‘a second work of grace’ or ‘a second blessing.’ The Spirit-filled life is a realization in actual experience of what has been possessed from the moment one is saved. Ephesians 1:3 reveals the truth that every spiritual blessing is secured when one is saved. The verse reads: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.’
Of all five ministries of the Spirit to the believer - regenerating, indwelling, sealing, baptizing, and filling - the last-named is alone commanded and expected of the believer. The implication is that this ministry, unlike the other four, depends upon human cooperation and adjustment. It is clear that beyond the one responsibility of believing on Christ unto salvation, no obligation rests upon the Christian respecting the first four ministries named. The command to be filled by the spirit (Eph 5:18), being addressed to the child of God, not only indicates that it is an experience subsequent to salvation, but the Christian’s own faithfulness determines the degree of filling.”


It is, therefore, apparent that the key fulfillment of Paul’s message in Romans involves the Christian walk with the Holy Spirit. And the key to that walk involves the awesome concept of “being filled” by the Spirit.

Charles C. Ryrie puts Spirit-filling in a precise perspective for both the nonbeliever and the believer in his book on Basic Theology (Page 376, The Filling of the Spirit):

“There seems to be two facets to Spirit-filling. The first may described as a sovereign act of God whereby He possesses someone for special activity. This is expressed by the Greek phrase pimplemi pneumatos agiou, and highlights the event of being filled rather than the resultant state of fullness. It occurs in Luke 1:15 (John the Baptist), 41 (Elizabeth), 67 (Zacharias); Acts 2:4 (the group on the day of Pentecost); 4:8 (Peter), 31 (the believers); 9:17(Paul); and 13:9 (Paul).

The second facet of Spirit-filling may be described as the extensive influence and control of the Spirit in a believer’s life. It evidences an abiding state of fullness rather than the specific event. It produces a certain character of life, and seems to be a close synonym to spirituality. It is indicated by the Greek phrase plere or pleroo pneumatos agiou. It occurs in Luke 4:1 (Christ); Acts 6:3,5 (the first helpers of the apostles); 7:55 (Stephen); 11:24 (Barnabas); 13:52 (the disciples); and Ephesians 5:18 (believers).”

Considering the importance of being filled by the Spirit, how does the believer become filled so that the gift of righteousness can be maintained? John F. Walvoord provides the important answer in his Systematic Theology (Abridged Edition, Page 273, The Holy Spirit in Relation to Christians):

“The works of the Holy Spirit that are related to the believer’s salvation are accomplished once and for all. By contrast the filling of the Spirit relates to believers’ experiences and can be a repeated spiritual condition. The Bible specifies certain steps a believer should take in order to be filled with the Spirit. It is unnecessary to pray for the filling of the Spirit. Instead a believer should seek to be obedient to the revelation of God regarding the conditions He has set forth in His Word. If he meets those conditions, he will be filled with the Spirit.

1. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). What grieves the Holy Spirit is sin. The cure of the effects of sin in the spiritual child of God is repentance, which leads to making a genuine confession of sin. Because sin is a common problem in Christian lives, the Bible suggest three ways it can be prevented (the following points are abbreviated):
a - The study of God’s word.
b - Resist sin by praying for the Spirit’s help.
c - The intercession of Christ as the believer’s High Priest (Heb. 7:25).


2. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire. A second command which is related to the right relationship between the Holy Spirit and the believer is stated in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, ‘Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.’ Translated literally, the verse reads, ‘Do not keep on quenching the Spirit of God.’ In other words a believer should not refuse to let the Spirit of God direct his life. Grieving the Holy Spirit is the effect after a sin is committed, but quenching the Spirit is what leads to sin in the first place. Though this exhortation is included in a series of exhortations, it obviously relates to the central truth of the necessity of being completely yielded to the will of God in order to experience the filling of the Holy Spirit.”

It may now be apparent that the Holy Spirit, as the executive of Christ’s Church on earth, plays the major role in promoting righteousness outside of the initiative evident in the new nature of the believer. This truth introduces the following consideration of the righteousness imputed and imparted to those who believe.

VII. RIGHTEOUSNESS TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES

With these thoughts about the Holy Spirit put in a “spiritual” perspective, what about the question of Law and Faith?

Rom 9:30-33
“What shall we say then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,”

Then, what about those who self-righteously followed the Law as a means of religious formalism and forgot about the true righteousness of God?

Rom 10:1-12
“Brethren, my hearts desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not with accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”

And what does this mean to all of us today?

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, ‘DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN’(that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).’ But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH, AND IN YOUR HEART’- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

The important result in the Christian’s life is that, by Christ’s death and resurrection, all who believe in Him have their sins forgiven and are “DECLARED” righteous (Rom 4:25). This declaration means that believers are “justified”, declared just or, in other words, declared right with God.

The second profound manifestation of God’s gift of righteousness results in the believer being “MADE” righteous (Rom 5:17).

It is this implementation of God’s gift that causes the displacement of “indwelled sin” by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

VIII. THE GOOD NEWS

The way to have a right relationship with God is through Belief in Jesus Christ.

His righteousness on the Cross instills God’s gift of righteousness in the believer (Rom 4:25).

The gift of righteousness results in a transformed nature that is differentiated from the old nature which was a slave to sin following the heritage from Adam’s disobedience (Rom 8:2).

The righteousness of the believer is a result of the indwelling and filling in the walk with His Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9) (Eph 3:16) (1Cor 3:16).

The sanctifying walk with the Holy Spirit results in salvation in the sense that the new nature is no longer a slave to sin where the old nature was a slave to sin (Rom 6:16-22).

The law’s statement of righteousness is not the rule in the believer’s life. Reliance on His Holy Spirit, not the legal struggle to keep the law, is the basis for the righteous life (Rom 8:2,3).

By understanding the standard which is Jesus Christ, by walking with His Holy Spirit, the believer finds the law and all of God’s commandments being expressed in the new nature (Rom 8).

It is through the law that the believer senses the holiness of God. The law does not help the believer to be "righteous". To be ""righteous" the believer relies on Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit (Rom 7:7-25).

The law and the commandments should be understood. They teach the believer about God and His Will (Rom 3:19,20).

Nevertheless, it should be known that the essential teaching of Jesus is that He came to fulfill the law and the Old Testament commandments through His blood of the covenant, the covenant instituted by His death and resurrection (Rom 21-31).

The new covenant relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. The new commandment given by Jesus is simply stated and is awesome considering its simplicity:

John 13:34,35 “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

IX. TO BE RIGHT WITH SELF

Paul’s inspired teachings in the book of Romans instructs the reader about righteousness in human terms. By his own personal testimony he provides a picture of human vagaries that is no different today compared to two thousand years ago (Rom 7). The human nature is defiled by sin, and there is no hope that true righteousness may be obtained without first realizing a right relationship with God:

· This omnievident reality holds for the nonbeliever.

· It also holds for the believer where faith is subordinated, where the believer is distracted by religious zeal, church infractions and/or religious legalism.

· And it holds for the believer who strays, for a number of reasons - some good, some bad, from the walk with and dependence on the Holy Spirit.

The anxious cry is heard from many who wish a release from the problem of finding self:

“WHAT MUST I DO?”

For many believing Christians and nonbelievers alike, the question becomes centered on, “What must one do to become right with one’s self?”

There are thousands of psychological counselors and false religions attempting to satisfy this problem on a personal level, and all this effort bears a great cost in time, money and anxiety, with few if any truly satisfactory results.

The response to this questioning is not pleasing for most people, particularly the individuals who do not believe in God, the great majority of people in the secular domain of the world. The problem is a universal one, affecting all mankind.

Despite all this, the solution may be simply obtained for the one who wishes the one and only “right” answer.

The conclusion is startling considering the overwhelming search today by nonbelievers and Christians alike to “find self” or to enhance the self image:

TO BE RIGHT WITH ONE’S SELF ONE MUST, FIRST OF ALL, BE RIGHT WITH GOD.

X. BEING RIGHT WITH GOD

A right relationship with God is actualized through the way provided by Belief in Jesus Christ and the acceptance of the gift of righteousness by maintaining an obedient relationship with Christ’s greatest gift to us, the Holy Spirit. In this context:

· It is the Holy Spirit’s direction to convict the nonbeliever about righteousness and sin, as a part of the nonbeliever’s finding the Way in Jesus Christ.

· It is the Church’s responsibility, as guided by His Holy Spirit, to inspire the Christian to be obedient by love and faith, and not by religious zeal and legalism, · to bear fruit in the work to glorify God.

· And, it is for the individual Christian to know and understand that Jesus Christ is Lord and that the indwelled Holy Spirit guides the Christian on the sanctifying walk to glory.

RIGHTEOUSNESS!

1 Comments:

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