Sunday, November 13, 2005

Because of His Righteousness

Years ago, I read a book called, "Victory Over the Darkness." I tried to find it in my extensive Christian book library, but I wasn't able to locate it this morning for this post. I will look again when I have time. I want to share the long list of Bible references that tell us just who we are in Christ. When I find the book, I will include these important additional points. For now, I will share those that currently stand out in my mind.

The most important point that I can immediately recall about the book is the realization of who we are in Christ. Not because of myself (ourselves), not because I (we) have any righteousness, but because of His righteousness, we are forgiven, saved, healed, and have a new identity in Him.

The book listed many Scriptures and references that describe who we are in Christ upon the moment of salvation. Sanctification occurs over our lifetimes and we are never going to be perfect while here on earth, however, allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to work in our lives is the evidence of his presence within our hearts and displays that the sanctification process is occuring within our lives. Some "fruits of the Spirit" that occur in the sanctification process include goodness, self-control, gentleness, patience, kindness and of course, love for others.

We are forever His.


How can any of us lose our joy knowing all of this?

No matter what happens in this life, we need to focus on "taking up the yoke of the Lord," as Rocky stated in his prose piece. It is then, that the burden will be lighter.

When we focus on His righteousness, pride falls to the wayside and we allow those "fruits of the Spirit" such as His love, mercy, grace, faithfulness, joy, and peace to permeate our souls.

Even in terrible times of grief and pain, we know that He is with us and will carry us through. I know this to be true because I have experienced it firsthand. This is why one of the "fruits of the Spirit" is longsuffering. Jesus told us, "In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." Because Jesus has overcome this world, we know that suffering, evil, sin and death will not overcome us, because He has overcome the world.

We can see that "overcoming the world" through Jesus is necessary to combat those voices in the world who would want to take away such joy and peace. Note these verses that describe what the "world" wants us to do and what results when "flesh lusts against the Spirit."

Galatians 5:16-21 (NKJV)

Walking in the Spirit
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: *adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, *murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Contrast that with what the "fruit of the Spirit wants for us both in this world and in eternity. The only one that we will not "take with us" into eternity, of course, is longsuffering.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

How do I know that we will not take "longsuffering" with us into eternity?

Revelation 21:1-7 (NKJV)

All Things Made New

21Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, *John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said *to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."
6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes *shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

We always have the hope of the Lord and his promises for all eternity to ease the trouble that Jesus said we will have while here on this earth. Often, it is within such trouble that we draw nearer to Him. God can take ANYTHING and turn it for good. This is shown over and over again in our individual lives as well as in life in general.

He is a fabulous Lord!

Praise His Holy Name!


Susan Smith said...

This is a beautiful and positive post, Christine. Thank you for sharing.

Recently, the question of why we ever feel shame came to my mind. The answer is in God's Word. "When pride comes, then comes shame (see PRO 11:2, NKJV). Self-righteousness always causes pride to rise up in my life and pride always causes self-righteousness to show its ugly face. The verse continues to tell us "with humility is wisdom."

My mentor is the wisest friend I have and she is the most humble person I know. Wisdom and humility go together as do pride and self-righteousness.

Love from the Holy Land. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Hi Susan,

I've had a busy weekend which extended into Monday. Now, I have my Bible study this morning and I need to arrive there early. But it's all good. I will have more time later today to put up a new post.

Thanks for what you added here.

The fact is that pride may cover shame for a while, but in the end, if we do not submit to the Lord, the pride of self often prevents the very things that are needed; namely humility and surrender to the One who can save us.

Notice that the term "pride" isn't in the list of "Fruits of the Spirit." Of course there is room for the appropriate kind of pride in life, but when it is used to go against the righteousness of God and replaces His influence and guidance in our lives, that is when it becomes a danger.

Such an attitude starts out as deciding to do "what is right in their own eyes." Then, it can turn into an attitude of thinking God isn't needed in the person's life. Then, it eliminates any thought for the need for Him in the person's life. Then, it progresses into a rejection of Him in one's life. And, when a heart is turned to stone towards the need for God, it prevents the person from finding Him and walking with Him in this life.

Susan stated: "Wisdom and humility go together as do pride and self-righteousness."

Well said! When we are made aware of Christ's sacrifice for our sins, we can be nothing else but humble for His gift. It is then that the wisdom of the indwelling Holy Spirit can work in our lives.

On the other hand, pride of self often makes people think that the cross is "foolishness" and a "myth" and any other negative adjective you could think of.

I've probably heard most of the excuses and objections from skeptics. But the most common excuse that I have seen in most skeptics is the firm belief that they don't need a Savior and they certainly wouldn't want to submit to the God of the Bible.

When you think about it, this is a type of self-righteousness; the idea that they don't need God and can navigate through life on their own. The refusal to admit their sin, (or admit that they have no cure for it on their own), and the refusal to acknowledge their need to confess and repent of sin is anathema to them.

Of course, the other type of self-righteousness is the kind that was demonstrated by the Pharisees. We do not want to become legalistic and miss the point of grace and mercy in the Gospel message.

However, it must be mentioned that there are churches today who unfortunately preach the "happiness only" gospel. They do not stress the importance that man has broken the Laws of God and need to confess and repent of their sin before Christ can be invited into their hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit.

In previous posts, I have shared the verses where Paul uses the term "God forbid" when faced with the question that people who claim to be saved could be allowed to willfully continue in sin. Often this attitude happens either because they don't want to acknowledge a particular sin or they feel that they aren't willing to give it all up to the's too powerful in their lives.

There is a huge difference between a sin committed through backsliding and one that is continually and willfully done in a prideful and unrepentant way.

I haven't had time to look for the book I mentioned in the blogpost. But when I do, I can share how it demonstrates what a great gift salvation is for the believer. It also shows who we are in Christ; not for prideful purposes, but to help us understand that no matter what the world may want to negatively say about Christians, we can hold fast to His righteousness within our lives and not be influenced by what the world uses to label us. This is how we can stand firm in this fallen and sin-filled evil world.

Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." The world who doesn't know Jesus will not desire to keep His commandments. It is evident that they love the world more than God. When people of the world don't accept what we share, we are to "shake the dust off our sandals" and go on to those who are willing to hear the message.

He who has ears, let him hear.

We can only share, the Lord does the saving. We can plant the seeds of salvation. We can pray for the salvation of others and share the gospel with them. The rest is between the person's own soul and God.

Christinewjc said...

And here is a perfect example of prideful self-righteous atheism!

In Newdow We Trust?

Excerpt from article:

"California's atheist avenger, Michael Newdow, is at it again. He has announced plans to sue the U.S. Treasury Department. This time his target is right there - on the money. Newdow, whose suit against "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, is suing this time to get rid of "In God We Trust."

"It's not the history that counts," says Newdow. "It's not the patriotism," he continues, "What it is is these people want to get their religious views in the government." These people, my friends, are you and me and the vast majority of our fellow Americans."

Sheesh...this guy is a real pain in know where!