God’s Righteousness

anonymous religious hasidim jews during pray near western wall
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I was told once that Christians can be divided into three groups:  Modern-day Pharisees, Christian Eeyores, and lastly, the Grace Community.  And I was told that I was the modern-day Pharisee type.  A lot of you were as well.  You know, the really annoying, judgmental, legalistic type?

 

But, c’mon, unless you used to be an Ultra-Orthodox Jew, you were nothing like a Pharisee. Neither was I.

 

The Pharisees were hard-core religious zealots who devoted every minute of their lives to being righteous; they were sincere and serious. Their zeal was based on the Laws that God spoke to Moses.

 

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” Romans 10:2

 

Not according to knowledge?

 

The apostle Paul goes on to explain in Romans 10 that their religious practices were “their own” attempts at righteousness, and had nothing to do with God’s.

 

Yes, God gave the Law to Moses, but He did not give it so that it would lead us to Him.  To a life of faith, of reality.  The Law was given to increase the knowledge of sin and to lead us to despair and to the feet of the Lord God. (Romans 5:20)

 

So, if you desire righteousness and holiness, your efforts at being ‘good’ will not succeed. The Bible is so clear.  Again and again we are told that, to be righteous in God’s eyes, you must have FAITH.  Before Jesus came, one had faith in God and the words He spoke to one’s heart.  After Jesus came, one puts their faith in the death, burial, and resurrection.  It is THAT that spells out the good news, the gospel; it is that that saves a soul from hell.

 

Paul calls the gospel “the word of faith.”  The gospel is “the word of faith” because it has to do with assenting to what God reveals to your heart, it is about saying yes, having faith, and telling God, “yes, I believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead.”

 

The Christian life is a life of faith.  “From faith to faith,” as it is written.  We are saved through faith by grace, and then we grow to know Jesus through faith by grace.

 

Faith is the noun form of the verb “to believe.”  Faith is about trusting God.  It’s about        believing Him. You trust Him for salvation and you continue to trust Him every day afterwards.

 

. . . yet with most of us, there was a slight detour into “works.”  For me, it was a 15 year detour.  Although we were not as serious and sincere as the Pharisees, we church addicts were still nonetheless trying to establish our own righteousness based on “law.”  Our lives were guided by rules and principles and standards (not by the Lord.)

 

But God brought me back to Himself.  He asked me to quit church, to give up my religious idols. To surrender my pride to Him. He asked me to stop TRYING to be righteous.

 

It’s great news because anyone can do this; the gospel applies to anyone and everyone!    God’s idea of righteousness is attainable.

 

We don’t have to be modern-day Pharisees to be righteous in God’s eyes.  I’m still blown away by that!  So, thanks for listening. 🙂

 

“Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4

In the Midst of the Messy

This phrase, “in the midst of the messy,” has been going through my head for about a month now.  I like it.  Because I’m somewhat of a literature geek, I like the alliteration almost more than the meaning behind the words.  Almost.

Our God loves us in the midst of the messiness of who we are.  We are flawed and imperfect, and yet He is the potter who is at work on His clay, molding and shaping us into something a little less messy than we were yesterday.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6 NASB)

He is the One who began the work and He is the One who is continuing to work so hard to complete the work.  He is the One who works!  Hallelujah!  All we can do is rest.  Just be the lump of clay.  Be the branch who abides in the vine.  Be the guy lying down in green pastures, resting beside still waters.

What a glorious freedom we have in Christ Jesus!  We who have turned to Him for His grace and mercy and have been adopted into His family, we who are the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).  We have freedom to live our lives, to be loved by Him, in the midst of the messiness that is US. 😀

Brothers and sisters, we need not work hard to please Him.  He is already pleased with us (because we believed in Jesus Christ).  We need not try to change ourselves (because He is the One who is working to perfect the work He began).  And we need not attempt to clean up the messes in our lives, the ugliness that is our sinful flesh.

Don’t get me wrong, I delight in cleanliness and neatness and order (when it comes to earthly things).  But when it comes to my relationship with the Lord God, my sanctification, my right-standing with Him, I live knowing that there is no work to do in that regard.

He loves me just where I am; just as I am . . . it makes me adore Him all the more!

I love Him because He first loved me.

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, KJV)

 

 

July 10, 2019  2:23 AM

Growing up Roman Catholic (video)

Forgive me for making light of a serious subject, but in this YouTube video (link below) I attempt to make you laugh while letting you know about the ridiculous religious rituals of the Roman Catholic Church, and finally, how I found new life in Jesus Christ through the gospel.  (video is 10 minutes long.)

 

 

May 21, 2018