Posts Tagged ‘righteousness’

Made the righteousness of God

March 29, 2018

2 Corinthians 5--21

As we continue moving toward the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the Verse of the Day for March 29, 2018 reminds us of the accomplished work of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

By means of this remarkable exchange, God replaces the righteousness of humanity, which is but “filthy rags” with the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:22 in the Amplified Bible further explains:

This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction,

Not only do we now have the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ, but we have so much more:

1 Corinthians 1:30 (REV):

But of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God—and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption,

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin],

Because of accomplished work of Jesus Christ, those who trust in him are made new, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 makes known:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The Amplified Bible explains in more detail:

Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!

Those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are made alive and obtain new life by the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:10-11 (Revised English Version) reiterates this point:

10 But, if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 Moreover, if the spirit of him who raised Jesus out from among the dead lives in you, he who raised Christ Jesus out from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit that dwells in you.

1 John 4:13 explains:

This is how we know that we abide in him and he in us because he has given us of his spirit.

Since we have received the spirit of life, we are also encouraged to walk in that spirit:

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus 

has made me free from the law of sin and death

Romans 8:2

 

As we move into this new season, we shall see what it brings,

As we learn that the life in the Spirit is where we should be.

No longer in bondage to sin and death we have been set free.

Since we have been brought into the new, we can now do new things,

For our desire is to please God, to succeed and to excel,

We know that we are saved by grace, not by our own merit.

We covenant with God that we will walk in the Spirit

And provide a place where the Spirit of God may dwell.

Ever aware of God’s loving kindness and faithfulness,

We embrace the Spirit of the Living God and understand

That to walk in the spirit, not in the flesh, is God’s command.

As we mature, we attain a measure of Christ’s fullness.

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free

To walk into the fullness of all God has called us to be.

We close with the Verse of the Day set to music by Hosanna! Music: God made Him (2 Corinthians 5:21):

 

But seek first the kingdom of God

September 27, 2016

matthew-6-33

Revised and re-posted are comments based on Matthew 6:30-33 in the Message Bible, the Verse of the Day for September 27, 2016:

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

From this passage verse 33 is often recited as a reminder of what our priorities should be as believers:

Matthew 6:33 (Amplified Bible):

33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

Here is the familiar rendering from the New King James Version:

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

In light of the Gospel of Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus as the King, the expression “the kingdom of God” is used four times in the first book of the Gospel writers: Matthew 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43. In its simplest form, the term is translated from the Greek word basileia, referring to the reign, rulership, the authority or dominion of a king.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word malkūt generally refers to the authority or to his rule of the heavenly king. The Psalmist declares: “They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and tell of thy power.… Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endures throughout all generations” (Psalm 145; 11, 13) “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all” (Ps 103:19). Ultimately this sovereign rule of God, which Jesus Christ initiated with his earthly life and ministry will be fulfilled when “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15).

The Verse of the Day and other references to the Kingdom of God remind us that we are all

Living in the Realm of the Kingdom of God

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;

but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Romans 14:17

 

In the place of transition where God makes covenant

We find the comfort that we seek and the sweet release

Of the Jubilee extended to a bondservant.

Though turmoil surrounds us, we are kept in perfect peace

With a blessed assurance that we are ever secure,

Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty,

But we must wait with patience and not faint but endure.

While pressing toward the mark for the prize triumphantly

We living in the realm of the Kingdom of God,

As we submit our lives to Kingdom authority

And respond to each fiery trial with the Word of God.

No longer in bondage, we are redeemed and set free.

“It is written”: the true standard where we always find

Strength to triumph, transformed in the spirit of our mind.

The Maranatha Singers offer Matthew 6:33 as part of a medley of commands from the Lord Jesus Christ: Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

Ron Kenoly provides a lively reminder that “Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost” are the essential elements of the Kingdom of God.

How should we then live?

January 3, 2016

Titus 2--11-13Take one day at a time, seeking God’s direction and guidance each day. In light of the previous Verse of the Day which reminds us to number our days, as we apply our hearts unto wisdom, The Verse of the Day for January 3, 2016 shows us what we should deny or reject and what we should embrace.

Titus 2:11-12 (NLT)

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,

This passage brings to mind How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, the historical documentary film series and book by theologian Francis A. Schaeffer. Originally published in 1976, the series presents Schaeffer’s view that when we base society on the Bible, on the infinite-personal God who is there and has spoken, this provides an absolute by which we can conduct our lives and by which we can judge society. This leads to what Schaeffer calls “Freedom without chaos.”

In response to the question raised by the title of the celebrate work by Schaeffer, “How should we then live?” Titus 2:12 clearly proclaims:

We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God

If we are to live meaningful lives that make a difference and impact the world in a positive way, we must understand the importance of these three vital character traits:

Wisdom

In our efforts to live lives that are pleasing in God’s sight, wisdom is essential. James 1:5 (NLT) exhorts us regarding this notable virtue:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

As a kind of golden thread that is woven throughout the Book of Proverbs, Solomon’s advice to his son provides a priceless resource for seeking and applying the principles of wisdom. We are encouraged to pursue wisdom:

Proverbs 4:7

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

Righteousness:

“Righteousness” is an essential aspect of our identity as Christian believers. 1 Corinthians 1:30 makes known this truth:

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Righteousness is one of those divine attributes of God imparted unto us through Christ. Think of it as being in a right relationship with the Creator, our gracious Father. We are “all right” with God, and God is “all right” with us. We abide in a state of righteousness, not our own which is “as filthy rags” but in the righteousness of God.

Devotion:

Devotion in a spiritual context is said to be wholehearted commitment to God. The people of God are encouraged to demonstrate such commitment and dedication. Often devotion is expressed in terms of prayer or worship or some other evidence of godly behavior. Solomon in his prayer at the dedication of the Temple makes this statement:

“O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. (1 Kings 8:23)

While reflecting upon the Verse of the Day, I thought of a poem that speaks directly of wisdom and makes reference to “Christ, our righteousness,” and ends with the phrase “the fear of the Lord,” which is connected to devotion:

The Beginning of Wisdom

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.
Psalm 19:9

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10

We begin and stand in absolute awe of You,

Thoroughly washed in the fountain of holiness.

The old has passed away—Behold, You make all things new:

Redeemed and justified by Christ, our righteousness.

As You search the earth, may we find grace in Your sight.

We seek to be wise but never in our own eyes.

Here we stand perfected and destined to walk upright,

Your beloved ones, whose heart Your Word purifies.

We are filled with knowledge and wisdom from above

And bound by a covenant no one can sever,

For nothing can separate us from God’s love:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.

We are renewed in strength and upheld by God’s Word,

As we pursue wisdom, growing in the fear of the Lord.

 

We close with the Scripture Memory Song: Titus 2:11-12:

Man of faith. . . pursue

April 6, 2015

1 Timothy_6-11Recently I did not have an Internet connection one morning, and I could not access BibleGateway.com to start off my day with the Verse of the Day. As I made my morning cup of tea, I noticed a special cup that my daughter had used the night before. On the outside of the black ceramic cup was the inscription “Blessed is a Man of Faith.” Around the light green rim which had been widened and flattened to a degree were these words: As for you, man of God. . .pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness—1 Timothy 6:11. I read the verse and smiled, thinking I’ll let this be my personal Verse of the Day. God seemed to be speaking directly to me, as I considered deeply the word that Paul directed to Timothy, his true son in the faith:

Pursue

The word pursue is translated from the Greek word dioko, which has been translated “to pursue, to follow after, to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire.” Clearly, to pursue is to put forth effort; it is an active verb with an object of pursuit in mind.

Righteousness

Matthew 6:33 reminds us of what should be our priority:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

Indeed, righteousness is a vital component of the Kingdom of God:

For the Kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 4:17).

Andrew Womack comments regarding various aspects of the Greek word translated righteousness. “This word refers to our actions toward others (equity of character or actions) as well as our relationship with God (justification). Our relationship (righteousness) with God is an accomplished fact, but our godly actions toward others must be walked out daily.”

As believers, we should always desire to live righteously and pursue righteousness.

Godliness

Godliness refers to a true and vital spiritual relationship. With any relationship, both individuals must be mutually committed and intentional in their desire to see that the relationship continues to grow and thrive.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 4 that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Faith

Faith, the bedrock of my life, is defined as confident assurance, trust and conviction in God that I will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Faith is essential to living a successful Christian life. Hebrews 11 reminds us that “Without faith it is impossible to please Him. For he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” For us, faith is the essence of life itself, for the just shall live by faith.

Love

In addition to pursuing faith, the man of God is to pursue the love of God or agape. With love, as with any other emotion, there must be a demonstration or manifestation whereby one knows the reality of the emotion in question. We speak of the love of God in manifestation which is so clearly demonstrated in one of the most widely recognized verses in the Bible, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Not only is this the verse so often referred to during the time of the celebration of the resurrection, but this is a verse for all seasons.

It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Indeed, all love is giving. The essence of love as defined by giving is also seen in this poem by John Oxenham:

Love ever lives, outlives, forgives,

And while it stands with open hands it lives.

For this is love’s prerogative:

To give and give and give

 

Endurance

As one of the fruit of the spirit, “patience” is translated: “to stay, remain, abide”, literally “abiding under.” As a verb it figuratively means, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, to persevere — abide, endure. The essence of the word involves the yielding of the will to something against which one naturally would rebel. It means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy. It is a bearing up in a way that honors and glorifies God, not merely to grin and bear it.

The epitome of patience in an individual is Job, whom Chuck Swindoll described as a “man of heroic endurance.” One of the spiritual principles that the Book of Job demonstrates is that God is “full of compassion and tender mercy” and that he rewards those who demonstrate “patience.” The scriptures offer this reminder: “You have need of patience, that after that you have done the will of the Lord you might receive the promise.” As I pursue patience, I am patiently waiting.

Gentleness

Here we find yet another the fruit of the spirit which is often associated with meekness. Stanley Horton comments that “Gentleness includes true humility that does not consider itself too good or too exalted for humble tasks.”

Paul also instructs Timothy regarding this quality: The servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves.

As I sipped my tea while considering the words of 1 Timothy 6:11, I thought of this poem that express my deepest yearning to follow Paul’s exhortation:

The Proof of Desire

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts,

but especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:1

The proof of desire is pursuit.

Mike Murdock

In each new season may my life abound with fruit,

As I follow after God and seek His favor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

This passion to please is my relentless pursuit,

As I seek to taste His goodness and to savor.

In each new season may my life abound with fruit.

As a seasoned tree is strengthened from leaf to root,

I flow with fullness of joy as I labor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

Though I may seek as silver His wisdom and truth,

This life swiftly passes, fleeting as a vapor.

In each new season may my life abound with fruit.

I have yearned for God’s presence, even as a youth.

I now forsake all to scale the heights of Mount Tabor,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

I ever seek to know God’s will and to do it,

To follow in the steps of Jesus, my Savior.

In each new season may my life abound with fruit,

To show that the proof of desire is pursuit.

The verse that I designate as my personal Verse of the Day also brings to mind the Don Moen song: “My Soul Follows Hard after Thee”:

It’s not enough

January 3, 2015

Titus 2--11-13

The Verse of the Day for January 3, 2015 comes from Titus 2:11-12 (KJV)

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The New Living Translation renders the passage in this way:

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,

Clearly, the Scriptures provide instruction as to how believers should conduct their lives. If the Scriptures tell followers of Christ to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world,” then it must be possible to so live.

First of all, what does it mean to live soberly? The expression “be sober” is used in Titus 2:2, 4, and 6 and directed toward “older men, older women, young women, and young men. One translation of the Greek word renders the term: “to be sober, calm and collected, to have good sense, good judgment, wisdom, and level-headed in times of stress.” “To be sober” is a strong reminder to everyone, both old and young alike. The Verse of the Day reminds us that, as believers, we should live “with wisdom” or “live soberly.”

In addition, believers are exhorted to live righteously, that is to conform our lives according to the standards of God’s commands. We should conduct our lives so as to always remain in fellowship, in right standing in our relationship with God. Through His son Christ Jesus we are made the righteousness of God, and we can thus live our lives with righteousness.

The final exhortation of Titus 2:12 is to live godly lives or express our devotion to God in all that we say and do. Our lives should be a reflection of godliness: “[which] supposes knowledge, veneration, affection, dependence, submission, gratitude, and obedience,” according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary. The essence of godliness is respect for God that impacts the way that a person lives.

I recall the lyrics to a song popularized by the Christian duo, Angelo and Veronica, “Not Enough” which became the inspiration for this poem with the same title:

Not Enough

“It’s not enough to say thank you,

for all the times you brought me through.

It’s not enough to say I’ll serve you, Lord, trust and obey.

The only way you’ll know is how I live.”

Angelo and Veronica

 

If I were fluent and could speak with 10,000 tongues

From every tribe that inhabits a place on this Earth

And could I speak 10,000 words of praise with each one,

Such words still fail to describe the measure of your worth.

Could I select choice words that men and angels have spoken,

They would be inadequate, as I try to express

All that lies within me, for words are but a token

Of my gratitude for your faithfulness and goodness.

As I strive to walk in love, the more excellent way,

I seek to align words and deeds so that they are one.

Read between the lines of all that I attempt to say,

As you assess my whole life when all is said and done.

In the midst of darkness, times have never been more tough.

Though my heart overflows, words alone are not enough.

Listen to Angelo and Veronica as they sing “It’s Not Enough”:

 

Righteousness and Judgment: The Righteous Judge

August 6, 2013

psalm_119-160

My morning meditation focuses once more on the Verse of the Day for August 6, 2013:

Psalm 119:160

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (KJV)

The phrase “righteous judgments” brought to mind one of my favorite passages from Psalm 19 which uses various expressions of the Word of God, such as the law of the Lord, statues, and commandments. I especially recall verse 9:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

This passage from Psalm 19:7-11 is offered as part of Christian Praise Worship with Lyrics in this video:

These verses also remind us of the truth expressed in Psalm 103:6:

The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

As believers we, of course, recognize that, indeed, God is the “righteous judge” spoken of in 2 Timothy 4:7-9:

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (KJV)

2 Timothy 4--7-8

Psalm 119: 160 and related verses from the Old and New Testaments remind us that God is righteous and executes righteousness in all His judgments.