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It Is Not Because Of Your Righteousness

October 27, 2011

It Is Not Because Of Your Righteousness

We’ve looked for rewards ever since we were little kids.     Parents will promise a treat for good behavior — in school,  one might get a star  on lessons well learned — and for adults,  there might be a bonus  for work well done.     We look forward to rewards  and even begin to expect them.     Some people even demand a bonus  for their extra efforts.

Our Lord certainly does give us blessings — but, God gives good earthly things  to both the good people  and the wicked.     We all experience successes,  good weather,  safety,  promotions,  earthly goods,  etc.     Our blessings are not an indication  of a good standing  with the LORD God Almighty.     God pointedly made that very clear to the Israelites  before they crossed the Jordan River  into the Promised Land.     In Deuteronomy 9:6,  Moses clearly said,

Know,  then,  it is not because  of your righteousness  that the LORD  your God  is giving  you this good land  to possess,  for you are a stubborn people.

Even though the Israelites had repeatedly sinned and rebelled against God,  the Lord was giving them the Promised Land because He had promised that land to Abraham,  Isaac,  and Jacob approximately 760 years beforehand.     God also wanted to drive the wicked heathens out of that land.

So,  why did God promise this land to Abraham?     Did Abraham lead a sinless life?     Not at all.     Abraham sinned like everyone else — but yet, Abraham was different.     When God promised Abraham many descendants,  Abraham believed God.     So, Genesis 15:6  tells us,

Then he believed  in the LORD;  and He [the LORD] reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Righteousness was  “reckoned”  to Abraham.     Real righteousness was computed to Abraham’s standing with God.     God figured Abraham’s faith as a whole lot of righteousness.     Abraham’s faith truly pleased the LORD,  because it was so good and trusting in the power of God.

And God does the exact same thing with us today.     When we believe and trust God’s promise of full forgiveness through faith in Jesus,  God is truly pleased with our faith.     Then we,  too,  are “reckoned” as being truly righteous in God’s eyes.     Romans 4:5  says,

But  to the one who does not work,  but believes  in Him  who justifies the ungodly,  his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

God isn’t justifying the community pillar here.     He is justifying the ungodly,  the sinner — the sinner who trusts and believes in the merits of Jesus Christ.     Are we still shaking in our boots,  fearful that God is not willing to justify our sins?     Paul wrote about our sinful,  weak condition and assures us that God does not save us because we can boast  about our strengths.      It’s the opposite.     1 Corinthians 1:29-31  says,

No man should boast before God.     But by His doing  you are in Christ Jesus,  who became  to us  wisdom from God,  and righteousness  and sanctification,  and redemption,  that,  just as it is written,  “Let him who boasts,  boast in the LORD.”

We have no righteousness of our own — nothing to brag about.     Jesus is our righteousness,  by faith.     If we’re so proud that we proclaim our own righteousness,  that’s like saying Jesus’ work on the cross is worthless  to us.     Many are that arrogant.     But,  Paul  refused to claim any righteousness.     He wrote in Galatians 2:21,

I do not nullify  the grace of God;  for if righteousness  comes  through the Law,  then Christ died needlessly.

So,  it boils down to — what does Jesus’  life,  suffering,  death,  and resurrection mean to me?     Do I really think my  “holiness”   is better than that of Jesus Christ,  God in the flesh?     We’d better think awhile  on that.     And, while we’re thinking,  let’s remember what Jesus says in Luke 12:9,

He who denies Me  before men  shall be denied  before the angels of God.

Let us not  “nullify the grace of God”  by imagining our earthly righteousness will gain us some brownie points with God Almighty.     God tells us we must believe that Jesus alone is our righteousness.     Only faith in Jesus  will cleanse us of all our sins,  and cause us to joyfully stand before God,  praising Him for His grace and mercy.

Thankful that Jesus has done all things for us,  we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord, thank You for Your love and grace.”

Love,
Margaret

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and GOD of gods

Pray for our country

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The LORD made this day, let us rejoice and be glad in Him.

Psalm 118:24

The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 18:30

Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

How blessed are those who dwell in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

Just as a father has compassion on his children,

So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

O give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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