For I am not ashamed of the gospel (good news) (of Christ,) for it is God’s power working unto salvation (for deliverance from eternal death) to everyone who believes (with) a personal trust (and) a confident surrender (and) firm reliance, to the Jews first and also to the Greek, For in the gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith (disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith). As it is written, The man who through faith is just (and) upright shall live (and) shall live by faith. (ROM. 1: 16-17, Amp)
I welcome you to God’s presence in Jesus name. Last week we made mention of God’s desire for man to conform to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. The major reason is that the entire scripture is centred on one person – the Lord Jesus Christ (JN.5:39-40), and one purpose- the redemption of man (Col 1:13-14). One word that puts paid-stamp on this fulfilment of God’s desire with man as the beneficiary is the word RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Righteousness means RIGHT STANDING before God of Heaven and Earth.
Following the scripture in ROM 3:10:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one”
and verse 21 of the same chapter says thus:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
And a third witness, Isa.64:6 collaborates;
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags”
Many seem to assume that despite sin (a spiritual disease), man could still become acceptable to God by doing a good deed here and there. Many put up good behavior and philosophically plumb it out with religious acts to get God’s attention.
Why put more trust in assumptions than in God’s word?
Paul the apostle, lamented for Israel in Rom. 10:1-4
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own
righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.
Now let’s see righteousness through God’s perspective.
The “Righteousness of God” is used in three ways in scriptures:
1. Righteousness refers to God’s character. It means the uprightness, justice, and perfection which God Himself possesses and shows.
2. Righteousness reveals man’s lack of God’s character. It reveals sinful, depraved, unrighteous, unjust, imperfect nature and behavior of man. Isa 6:1- 7, LK. 5:1-8
3. Righteousness means, the perfection which God provides for a man in Christ Jesus. When a man allows the Lord Jesus Christ to take his sins, he is given the righteousness of God. The Lord Jesus Christ robes the man in the righteousness of God Himself like the father did to the prodigal son. 2Cor. 5:17, 21; Phil 3:9
Furthermore, a careful perusal of Rom. 10: 6-10 as quoted below;
“But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
brings to light that “right standing” with God is not by religious rituals or works, but by faith in Jesus Christ because of what He accomplished for us by His sacrificial death at Calvary- He satisfied all demands for divine justice that was upon man.
The phrase “believe in thine heart” in verse 9 means exercising of faith in Christ as a result of one’s conviction as a sinner who is in need of a saviour. Acts 3:19 explains it further
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
When you sincerely follow this scripture, confessing Jesus as THE Lord and Saviour of your life, the refreshing begins to flow; your spirit is regenerated (dead spirit quickened) (Tit. 3:5, Eph. 2:1), you are forgiven and cleansed of all your unrighteousness and declared righteous (1Jn. 1:7-9).
This “right standing” grants us:
1. Boldness to come to God’s presence (Heb. 4:16)
2. Privilege and right for all your inheritance in God. Eph. 1:11, 18.
3. Privilege and right to use the name of Jesus Christ in Prayer and in worship. (Jn. 16:23-24, 26-28)
4. Privilege and right to lay hands on the sick and cast out devils and demons. (Mrk. 16: 17-18)
5. Access to the Holy Spirit, under whose tutelage via the Word we grow, overcome weaknesses and grow into perfection. (Gal. 4: 6, 3: 14, Acts 20:32 )
In conclusion, this is the man described in Jer. 17:8
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
And corroborated by Psalm. 1: 3
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Friend, Our Righteousness is of God.
Pastor Usungedo writes regularly from Calabar, Nigeria and is in partnership with MOW.