“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17)
In order to fully understand the mind of our Heavenly Father we must begin in Genesis, the seed book of the Bible. It is here that all thought has its origin along with a description of the origin of mankind. It is our ‘schoolmaster’ to bring us to the full revelation of Divine Truth that never changes. The major message of Genesis is the placement of two trees in the garden, one of which man was forbidden to eat. The knowledge of good and evil and of right from wrong proved to be the fall of man resulting in separation from God and the eventual separation of Cain from Abel. All division, all separation can be traced back to this vital misunderstanding of His higher calling and purpose for mankind.
Our Heavenly Father never intended that we should fellowship around the knowledge of good and evil. Knowing right from wrong only results in endless arguments of self justification and the rejection of those we believe to be wrong.
When our fellowship is based upon a mutual realization of our total unworthiness and that He alone is our justification then there is only righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost.
GRACE: All other religions lack this one essential ingredient. Many religions include the shedding of both animal and human blood but only Christianity includes the shedding of the blood of the spotless Son of God. Without this shedding of His blood there can be no remission of sin. This pivotal act of Grace at Calvary prepares mankind to meet God. The major element of Christianity is Grace without which no person may be justified before our creator. Without Grace there is no forgiveness, there is no hope of reconciliation, there is no atonement for sin and there is no relationship with a Holy Righteous Heavenly father. The paramount sin of the universe is not the violation of the Ten Commandments but the neglect or rejection of Grace.
“He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:18-20).
“He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
Grace can be understood by a simple acrostic. God’s Righteousness At Christs’ Expense. This is unlike any other kind of Righteousness because the one true God is Righteous unlike any other (counterfeit) God, all of whom have no real Righteousness whatever. Goodness is not Righteousness. The world religions are forever trying to exchange their badness for a goodness that is just as bad as all evil. This is because it has thrown out Christ and sought to be justified apart from Him. Even Christians spend much of their time seeking justification by performing good works. Once Grace has been received, a believer is no longer their own but belong to Him. Every other religion retains the independence of the follower perpetuating mankind’s wilfulness. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil caused all the problems to begin with, why then do so many believers in Christ regress towards that age old deception once placed before Adam and Eve?
Paul came onto the world scene a self righteous man. He had it all. “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh; If any other man thinks that he has whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:4-9).
The day came when Paul was confronted by his own goodness upon the Damascus Road and the realization came to him that by presenting to God his own good works (persecuting believers) he was in reality the Chief of sinners. His letter to the Romans is the greatest thesis and apologetic ever written as a treatise to set mankind free from law and fully outline the means of Grace and Grace alone for Salvation. No other religion includes this amazing element. I dare to say that many Christian leaders who major on condemnation ministry have yet to plumb the height, the depth and the breadth of this glorious truth.
FAITH: Righteousness by faith must come to all men as a revelation or unveiling. The natural mind cannot grasp the full significance because it is impossible for the intellect to precisely define Righteousness by faith within the range of our limited language. It takes a great deal more than words to express. It can only be understood with the heart just as true love is felt rather than described. Grace is love personified. Grace is forgiveness so undeserved one weeps in its presence. Without Grace there is no faith and without faith Grace is yet incomplete. Faith will only truly do its work by love, Grace being love personified. Only the Holy Ghost can draw back the veil that we may see as God himself views the Universe. This is an act of Grace! When Job was given this revelation he declared, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye sees thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).
At some point in our lives and indeed it may be that at several points in our lives we must all experience what Job experienced on the day God unveiled the truth of His Righteousness. It was a revelation of His divine self. How little we finite beings truly understand His Holiness and Righteousness.
RIGHTEOUSNESS: We must stop continually presenting our own goodness to God. Christianity is so full of self and self-righteous people. You can never replace evil with good and expect it to be acceptable to God. The moment you do, the good becomes as evil as if it had been evil in the first instance, for so it is. Grace is our only hope, the Grace that comes to us in the person of Jesus upon the cross; He alone is our hope for righteousness and to be made the righteousness of God. It is not wrong to be right but being right is not the Righteousness of God. Righteousness is a world apart from good or evil, right or wrong.
This is also an element of Christianity that is contained in no other religion. In Christ we are made the Righteousness of God! To religious people this is the greatest anathema of all; to call oneself as righteous as God is, yet Grace made this possible through faith working hand-in-hand with love personified. Amazing Grace and amazing love, no wonder when the revelation came to the hymn writer John Newton. He wrote “how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”.
“For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).
The Church’s most powerful message is Righteousness and the New Creation
“For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (II Corinthians 5:14-15).
The text implies a debt, not one that we must pay off in order to actualize but one we will never match yet will cause or energize us to love Him most dearly. If there are none righteous as He is righteous then none can claim they are so right they may judge themselves more righteous than their brother or sister.
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more” (verse 16). This is also an important distinction. We no longer are to know Christ as a historical figure or simply according to the walk He lived among mankind. We are to progressively come to know Him by revelation of who He is in the heavenlies at the right hand of God.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the Word of reconciliation” (verse 17).
We have been ‘made in Christ’ a new creation; not something restored from that which was old but made in His likeness when He rose from the dead, ‘the first born’ of an entirely new species that never previously existed. This was the miracle of Calvary; unjust fallen man who knows right from wrong and can argue good and evil must now forsake that old order to be a new order of being where fellowship is based upon mutual redemption from sin! All of us are utterly dependant upon Him who is the head of the body of righteousness!
“He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:17-18).
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:18-19).
All judgment belongs to God. We are not Judges but deliverers! Moses was accused by his brethren for assuming the role of a ruler and a judge when he saw two brethren fighting. He had settled an argument with an Egyptian the day before by slaying the man, the ultimate rejection and separation as did Cain. He fled for his life and after forty years we read in Acts that he returned in all humility as a ruler and a deliverer (Acts 7:35).
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God” (verse 20″.
As ambassadors, we have a divine injunction or commission to lead all men and women on the globe into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, that they may be justified by Faith and then to disciple them in the paths of Righteousness. Our mandate is two fold: The Ministry of reconciliation and the Word of reconciliation!
“For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).
We have been made Righteous, not as this world understands Righteous but as God has revealed His own Righteousness that transcends both the Righteousness of Moses and the Law and the Civil Righteousness we obey towards the magistrates of this world. True Righteousness is more than the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eating from that tree was forbidden in the garden and that command has never been rescinded. Thus at times our ‘Good’ is just as evil as if it had been ‘Evil’ to begin with. It is far more than Civil Righteousness that is constantly being adjusted to the increasing depravity of men of corrupt minds who seek to impose their collective conscience seared with a hot iron upon the rest of us. We ought to obey God and our conscience rather than man. That is not to say that we flout every ordinance of man, mostly we gladly submit.
“Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (Civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction]; and those that exist do so by God’s appointment” (Romans 13:1 Amplified Bible)
I will always remember a poem my Godly Aunt taught me years ago;
There was a young man named Peter, who owned a single seater;
He covered the ground as he sped around but alas the ground now covers Peter!
He was right, dead right as he sped along; but he’s just as dead as if he’d been wrong!
We must never assume that we have it all; the Word does not say I have the mind of Christ, it says We.
His Righteousness is not listed in a set of rules. It is not fulfilled by dos and don’ts. It cannot even be taught by man, only be discerned in every given situation as we are led by the Holy Ghost.
A definition: We have been placed in right standing, in equity (God-like yet a little lower) and justification with our Heavenly Father so that we may come into His presence at any time without feelings of guilt or condemnation knowing that the blood of Christ has made a full sufficient way into the Holiest and has not only cleansed us from past sin but all sin past, present and future! Justified! (Just as if I’d never sinned!)
We have been made as innocent as a newborn babe, the only difference being that we no longer have the sin nature dwelling within our human spirit that came to us from Adam; but Jesus Christ lives there in all His glory. God has taken the stony heart out of our flesh and given us a heart of flesh in which are written all His ways instead of the rules and regulations of the Old Testament law and all the New Testament laws that so many condemnation preachers place upon their congregations in order to manipulate and control when building a personal kingdom.
“For every one that uses milk is unskilful in the Word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).
“But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:15-16).
Righteousness versus the Ten Commandments
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: (Romans 3:21-22).
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28).
“Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:6-8).
“For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).
“And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:39).
This by no means negates the moral law, if anything the Lord Jesus made His two great commandments require that we not only refrain from murder but do not even hate, and not only keep from fornication but do not even look with lust in our hearts!
Righteousness versus Civilian Right and Wrong
We were having meetings in an outer suburb of Sydney. The pastor had put me up in a nice motel and loaned me a vehicle to provide transport to the meetings. One evening as I drove to the hall and was making a right turn, I was involved in a traffic accident. The young constable that attended took particulars and wanted to proceed no further but an older officer, who had been watching, came over and instructed him to charge me with an infringement. After ministering the faith message that night, still feeling bad about the accident, a panel beater came forward for prayer asking for fillings in his teeth. It was many years later that I learned that God gave him two gold fillings that night.
Obviously, my civil righteousness had nothing to do with it. I was in violation of civil righteousness but God saw the righteousness of His Son in me and in the panel beater. That whole evening I felt sick to my stomach having damaged the pastor’s car and receiving a fine. Yet, because of that sign and wonder the sons of both the pastor and the panel beater followed the Lord into the ministry, having previously never seen a convincing miracle. The faith life is where the miracles are!
Righteousness by Works versus Righteousness by Faith
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God. For what says the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:1-8).
Abraham lived prior to the Law being given. He was found righteous before God on the basis of his faith alone. The Law had no bearing upon his standing with God whatsoever. God chose to bless him simply because Abraham believed God and thus became the Father of all them that believe for righteousness apart from works.
David lived under the Law and the Law slew him because of his violation of its demands. However, David believed God also just as Abraham had done and his faith was accepted by God as righteousness. David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works…
Whenever I meet a person taken up with some kind of works program they never stop boasting about what they are doing! When you are made righteous by faith your only boast is what Jesus has done! Romans 3:27.
The Ministration of Condemnation
The ministration of condemnation is administered by what I call “Law men” or “works men” who are themselves under laws of various kinds. They do their best to impose those same laws upon the people around them especially those closest to them. Their ministry emphasis is always about what they are doing! For example, Martha was taken up with her kitchen routine and became angry with Mary who was sitting at the feet of Jesus enraptured by His every Word. Martha then enlisted the aid of the Saviour to bid Mary to help… Jesus pointed out to her that she was encumbered by much serving… Luke 10:38-42. This kind of administration can become very manipulative. Eventually a spirit of “Jezebel” takes over, a very manipulative spirit that seeks to control people by cultivation, manipulation then domination.
The Ministration of Righteousness
Has a glory that exceeds, excels and is eternal, never to pass away. It releases people into their optimum potential as it gives a sense of self worth, ability to resist temptation and therefore confidence to act in God’s authority no matter where they are!
“Who also has made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excels. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious” (II Corinthians 3:6-11). Signs, Wonders, Miracles and Manifestations follow the Ministry.
The Prodigal and the Elder Brother
In the parable of the prodigal son, we learn about relationships with their Father. At first, the prodigal wasted his Father’s substance with riotous living. He had received his inheritance early by his Father’s grace, but went on to disgrace that grace, turning liberty into licence. Finally, he came to the end of himself. He had a major turn around, coming back to his Father’s house, humbled and penitent. To his amazement, instead of his Father making him a servant and ordering him to repay the debt, his Father freely forgave him putting on a great Feast.
A ROBE was placed about his shoulders; speaking to us of the Righteousness we receive by faith through grace when we come to God in full repentance.
A RING was placed upon his finger; speaking to us of the Father now giving his son more authority than ever before as a result of his inner change of heart.
SHOES were placed upon his feet; speaking to us of the great commission to go into all the world with the Good news of the Gospel in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
In contrast, the Elder son, the first born has remained faithful all this time, never transgressing his Father’s commandments. This is an allegory of those who are involved in a works religion. It is a mistake to think that we can earn the favour of God. We cannot. In spite of claiming that he had kept the commandments of his Father, the Elder brother was full of hatred. He could not love his neighbour and thus had fallen from grace any way.
Grace can be disgraced in two ways: God has called us into Liberty, but many turn that Liberty into Licence as did the Prodigal. When Christians indulge the self life, the world, the flesh and the domain of demons, they disgrace grace. The Elder son turned Liberty into law, laws that he had placed upon himself (He could have enjoyed a feast, but chose not to) and now he wanted to place that same law upon his young brother. Christ is the end of the law for all those that believe. There is a balance. Neither Laws nor Licentiousness bring us into God’s favour.
Stand fast therefore in His LIBERTY!
“All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We forget that this verse begins with the words “And we know…” Many of us do not know, really know that all things do indeed work together for good for His chosen ones. He has to demonstrate this to us and we have to make the right responses in the circumstances to find out how true this verse really is!
Years ago we were driving home in our mini to a barren larder once more. We were close behind a truck carrying sheets of Masonite when without warning a sheet flew off and smashed the rearview mirror from my car. I stopped but the truck driver did not stop. I felt anger rising within but asked for grace to rejoice in all things. Catching up at a stop sign I managed from my lowly position to motion to him to pull over.
I asked him, “Do you realize that a sheet of wallboard flew off your truck back there and smashed my mirror?” “Sorry mate, I didn’t see it happen.” I showed him the damage and traces of Masonite clinging to the broken mirror stem. “Will this cover it?” he asked as he handed me a generous note. “Sure will!” I grinned.
He checked his load then took off again on his delivery run as we turned around for a wrecking yard where I picked up a good second hand mirror for only 2 dollars. With the rest of the money we were able to buy more groceries that week than we could usually afford. Our God is an awesome God of infinite love and provision. I was learning to live in positive action not negative reaction! It would have been easy to take his number and report him to the police, but grace forgave him and grace fed us well that week, all glory to God our Father provider.
Ministration of Law and Ministration of Righteousness in Contrast
“And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also has made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excels; for if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious” (II Corinthians 3:4-11).
Law reminds us of our sin continually…Grace reminds us of His finished work!Law can never take away sin…Grace purges the conscience by the blood of Christ!Law makes us introspective…Grace lifts our head in Praise!Law initiates a witch hunt…Grace sees Christ within believers!Law emphasizes sin consciousness…Grace makes us Son conscious!Law revives sin…Grace revives the spirit to victorious living!Law concentrates on legalism…Grace concentrates on Grace and Mercy!Law is always “against” something…Grace is always “for” something!Law Priest’s minister to dead sacrifices…Grace Priest’s minister to living sacrifices!Law Priest’s butcher the outer carcase…Grace Priest’s shepherd healing the injured inner man!Law majors on negatives…Grace Majors on positives!Law ministers fear to a person…Grace Minister’s faith to a person!Law ministers curses upon non-conformists…Grace Minister’s blessings conforming us to Christ!Law always talks about sin in you…Grace always talks about the Saviour and Christ in you!Law behaves “holier than thou”…Grace behaves in humility and speaks by grace alone!Law men are working to get somewhere…Grace men are resting in heavenly places in Christ!Law touches the soul and head of man…Grace touches the spirit and heart of man!Law judges by externals…Grace Judges by the Word and the Spirit!Law preaches to the outer man…Grace preaches to the inner man!Law has you despairing your performance…Grace has you rejoicing over Christ’s performance! Law deals with foliage [cobwebs]…Grace deals with root causes! [Kills the spider!]Law is based on the Old Covenant…Grace is based upon the New Covenant!Law embraces only “shadows”…Grace embraces “realities” the very image!Law speaks to the man under law…Grace speaks to the man in Grace!Law has a certain glory…Grace has a glory that supersedes and excels!Law was “done away” at Calvary [For the man in Christ]…Grace abides eternally!Law leaves a veil on the mind…Grace unveils the face of Christ!Law keeps us in bondage…Grace releases us into ministry!Law ministers its own feelings of guilt…Grace Ministers the revelation of Grace and Mercy!Law void of revelation cannot change us…Grace’s revelation transforms us from glory to glory! Law condemns the best of us…Grace justifies the worst of us!
“For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; On the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:18-19 NKJV).
The law had a weakness, man’s inability to keep it; therefore it was annulled finally becoming unprofitable. It never made any man perfect. The bringing in of a better hope, based upon a better sacrifice, established in better blood, speaking better things and better promises confirming a better covenant, administered by a better priesthood who was made so much better than angels, grants us a better possession in a better country culminating in a better resurrection!
To make us righteous and give us right standing with Himself was entirely the idea of our Heavenly Father. No other could ever accomplish this gracious act of divine mercy. We are totally dependent upon Him and His Son Jesus Christ for this unmerited favour and favoured we are!
This page Copyright © 2006 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: https://www.peterwade.com/.
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