The prophet Jeremiah makes it crystal clear; “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which He will be called: The LORD is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6, ESV).
And these words from the New Testament: “And because you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31, ESV).
And then again from the passage we have been delving into in parts 1 & 2: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written ‘The righteous shall live by faith”’ (Romans 1:17, ESV).
Paul writes this just prior to our main verse about the dynamic gospel of Christ; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16, ESV).
Donald Grey Barnhouse gives a great summary of the gospel in the first volume of his multi-volume set on Romans – “The gospel is the story of man’s complete ruin in sin and God’s perfect remedy in Christ” (Volume 1, p. 189).
Apart from Christ, or before you became a follower of Jesus you were not righteous and your acts of righteousness were considered as polluted or filthy garments. In other words there was nothing you could do to gain acceptance before a Holy and perfect God no matter how hard you tried or how many so-called good works you performed.
In last week’s newsletter, God’s righteousness was defined as His righteousness alone; there is none of ours to be found. God’s bottom line is that His righteousness is found in none other than Jesus Christ Himself coming to earth to reconcile us to His Father.
The gospel shows God’s righteousness very clearly, as Barnhouse wrote: “When the Savior was manifested, the righteousness of God was manifested with Him. When the historical facts of His death, burial, and resurrection were set forth, the good news concerning the theological meaning of those historical facts revealed the righteousness in hating sin. It was shown that God was righteous in loving sinners. It was shown that God could pardon a sinner without condoning his sin. It was shown that He could draw a sinful, human being to His own bosom without abandoning His holiness. It is the gospel that reveals the righteousness of God.” (Volume 1, pp. 183-184).
This righteousness of God is possessed by God alone, but He grants us access to it through His eternal covenant with Abraham or Israel, and perfects that path with the coming of Jesus. God promised Abraham that his “seed” singular, which points to Jesus throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, would bless all the nations of the earth. This must have been mind-blowing to Abraham. Years later God would promise David, the King of Israel, that he would have someone of his lineage sitting on his throne forever, and based upon the history of Scripture it all points to Jesus.
The gospel reveals that all this comes to fruition through the birth and life of Jesus Christ, completing all the work the Father had sent Him to accomplish. The gospel is the good news of Jesus bringing the love of God for the salvation of all who would believe in Him. And the righteousness of God is manifested also in Jesus Christs’ appearance on earth as a man, as shared by the earlier quote by Barnhouse.
Now we get a little deeper into the theology. Historical Protestant teaching is that God’s righteousness in “imputed” to us. “Impute” (in the study of Scripture) means “To attribute (righteousness, guilt, etc.) vicariously; ascribe as derived from another” (American College Dictionary, 1968, p. 610, 4).
In other words we had no righteousness of our own, so God had to give us His righteousness so that we could be found blameless in His sight. I think this becomes a little clearer when we look at verse 18 and what it says about the natural man; that he is ungodly and unrighteous.
So God’s promise to Abraham and His covenant people Israel is fulfilled in the person of Christ. Not only is Israel promised this, but people from all nations that God had chosen in eternity past. We cannot fully examine all that in this limited space, but it is deep and extremely rich theology that God willingly reveals to us throughout Scripture. All we need do is spend time in study and prayer on the Word to expand our understanding; to see as God wishes us to see – through righteous eyes.
Have you received God’s righteousness through believing in Jesus as your Savior? Receive Him today, for today is the day of salvation.
The “Arab Spring” stalled in the face of Bashar al-Assad’s defiance. The President of Syria shocked many in the western world when he chose to slaughter hundreds of thousands of his own people rather than yield to the demands of regime change from the Muslim Brotherhood, backed by President Obama.
You see, the sweep of the “faux-democracy” movement known as the Arab Spring was to have long since washed away all secular governments in the Mideast – dictatorships and monarchies alike – clearing the way for the installation of Sunni-dominated theocratic Islamist governments under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
This is the truth behind all of the recent convulsions in the Middle East; in Obama, the Muslim Brotherhood found a willing patron, someone willing to empower them to restore the former Ottoman Empire (the goal espoused by Hassan al-Banna at their founding) by whatever means necessary.
The ultimate aim of the Arab Spring is to build a “Caliphate,” a coalition of Islamic states operating under the rubric of an Islamic union, ruled by an Islamist Kalif, who will usher in an era of economic, spiritual and military renewal for the depressed states of the region.
Seeing everything through the red-lens of a Marxist, Obama has bought the Muslim Brotherhood’s lie that the root of terrorism lies in western exploitation and oppression of Arab peoples. Believing this fantasy has permitted Obama to envision an enduring legacy for himself – as the man who finally brought peace to the Mideast – by enabling this “pan-Arabic Islamic Union” to form and take its place among the economic powers of the world. An Islamic version of the European Union if you will.
What has been overlooked (or simply ignored depending on your source) is the fact that Islam recognizes no borders but its own and exists for the sole purpose of subjugating the earth to Islam. This is not the stuff from which prudent alliances are made. It is the stuff from which one crafts one’s own destruction.
Benghazi was a central transit point for the illegal shipment of arms and advanced weaponry to so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels from the captured stockpiles of the now deposed Gaddafi, as well as other advanced weapons provided by the United States and other nations without the knowledge or permission of Congress.
The Consulate/arms depot that was the Benghazi mission was a certain target for not only Libyan rebels (who wanted the arms for themselves) but also for Iranian-backed forces who had sniffed out the operation months before.
All these elements were in place and known to the Obama Administration, yet they blundered ahead, risking the lives of not only the Americans at the Benghazi mission, but also the tens of thousands of innocent lives placed in harm’s way by introducing such firepower to remarkably unstable offshoots of al-Qaeda in the hopes that they would use them responsibly.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin recently explained, the majority of fighters in these Syrian opposition groups are mercenaries who will shift sides at the first whiff of a larger paycheck. These are the same mercenaries that have subsequently joined ISIS (bringing with them all of the advanced weaponry America has kindly provided) and promptly began a slaughter of non-Muslims such as has not been seen on this earth in centuries.
Putin continued –
“One does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras.”
“Are these the people you want to support? Are they the ones you want to supply with weapons?”
The Global Faith Institute has been informing both the public and policymakers of the true dynamics at work in this conflict for several years now. We wrote of the arms-running operation in Benghazi mere days after the fatal attack on the mission.
We mapped the players and their motivations in the following weeks, accurately predicting the events of the last three years based upon our sources and research.
With Russia no longer relying on proxies to advance their interests in the region, it is extremely important – I daresay, essential – to understand the truth behind the headlines and the actions of both our enemies, our allies and our own government.
We are closer to major war at this moment than we have been since the height of the Cold War. In the coming weeks, in major publications across the United States we will publish a series of articles under the heading of From Benghazi to Damascus – the truth behind the Syrian conflict.
May the Lord bless and guide our efforts. Stay tuned.
Two weeks ago we looked at God’s righteousness through the lens of Romans 1:16-17. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (ESV).
These verses are rich with history, and have literally changed the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ altered the world initially, then again, in the 12th – 15th Centuries – most significantly in 1517 (the beginning of the Reformation) when the written Word of God was applied to the heart of a man through the Holy Spirit.
This is not a new message at all. The New Testament is not a contingency plan for God because the Israelites did not listen to Him in the Old Testament. Two verses stand out as to this truth. The first is Jeremiah 23:6 where we find these words; “The LORD is our righteousness.” The second is Habakkuk 2:4 where we find these words; “The righteous shall live by his faith.”
Or we could squeeze in the famous words of the prophet Zechariah; “Not by might, nor by power, but My Spirit says the LORD.” These verses make clear that salvation is accomplished when God comes to man and not by man working his way to God.
Look back for a moment to the first few words of verse 17. “For in it,” what is the “it” this verse refers to? The gospel! In the gospel is the “righteousness of God” revealed. It is His righteousness, as it His power and as it is His gospel. The bottom line is that the whole of the Christian life is bound up in God – as John Piper has written and preached, “God is the gospel.”
Now peer more deeply into the term that so often blows the human mind to bits – God’s righteousness. Donald Grey Barnhouse reminds us when he writes: “The gospel is the good news from God about the spiritual significance of the historical facts centering in the work of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…He was buried…He rose again…according to the Scriptures’ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).” (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans vol. 1, p. 180).
Man, from religions other than Christianity, attempts to work his way to a god by works of his own righteousness. However, this is fruitless and eternally short-sighted. Unfortunately many professed Christians yet think in a similar way; if I can just do enough good, then God will accept me by my righteousness.
This is not what the Bible teaches. Read these words from Titus 3:5; “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”
We are taught from Ephesians 2:8-9; “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Answer these questions: how were you saved according to these verses? What was it a result of? So can we boast at all that we were saved by other than God through Jesus Christ?
Romans 4:5 teaches, “And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” Jesus something very similar in John 6:29; “Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Jesus said this because the people were asking how to work to get to God and His response is that God does the work because a few verses later Jesus tells those listening and us, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44).
So the pattern here is that it is solely God’s righteousness that makes us right with Him, not some earned worthiness within ourselves. Here in these first few words of Romans 1:17 we see that we have no righteousness that would make us right in the least bit before God, it is all Him!
If our righteousness were a part of the equation, then this verse would read very differently. It would read that in the gospel, our righteousness and God’s righteousness combine together to make us acceptable to God. But it doesn’t.
Romans 1:17 gives us peace of mind that we don’t have to wonder constantly if we’re doing enough on our part to gain God’s grace, mercy or righteousness. It is all on Him. Look at these words from 1 Thessalonians 3:13; “So that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
Now on our side is this one over-arching statement we find a little later in Romans 3:23; “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” According to this statement how many humans have sinned? Remember it is not righteousness on our part but solely on God’s part. And if we were to rely upon our works for our entrance into heaven how many good works are we supposed to do and how do we know when we’ve done enough?
So this righteousness of God is very good news for you and me and for humankind. The gospel means that God gives us His righteousness so we can measure up to eternity.
Paul the apostle wrote a long letter to the church at Rome in the first century. What is amazing about this author, is that not too many years earlier, he was ravaging the church, attempting to crush it in its infancy.
His purpose for writing this letter is found in 1:16-17; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (ESV).
Unfortunately over time this message became muddied and/or lost for generations until the 14th and 15th centuries, when some voices out of the wilderness cried, “This is the way!” These people, John Wycliffe and Jan Huss among others, were hunted and killed for gifted attempts to lead their fellows out of the spiritual wilderness.
Other men like William Tyndale, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and Martin Luther also cried out, responding to God’s call, and they did not fail or falter. “Here is the way in which you should go…” God seemed to say, and they did.
We are again in a time when there seems to be confusion as to the message of the Bible and how one is accepted by God. Increasingly today, many are teaching that there are many roads, paths or ways to heaven and eternal life with God. But the Bible tells us of only one, “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). This should eliminate any confusion, but in our day and age, people are trying to get to God in other ways than that which is clearly laid out in the Bible.
God is not the author of confusion but of perfect clarity. It is us that have muddied that message by and through our sin. We appear to be reliving the book of Judges, where everyone does right in their own eyes. But there are many voices crying out to be saved and Christians are the only ones with the answer that the world needs.
And God’s gospel is powerful unto salvation and we don’t have to do anything to earn it for the price would be our own blood, and we still would fall far short of what God requires. So God took care of it on our behalf.
The answer which we will see in the next few weeks is that God gave the gospel in the person of His Son to do for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves. He lived a perfect life and then died the death we deserve. This, believe it or not, is the righteousness of God in action.
Be open to the Biblical righteousness of God and then let Him do His work on your behalf. It is for His glory and your eternal joy.