Bible Ballistics: What Righteousness??? Vol. 6 #01
Matthew 5:18-20, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven? How can we do that? By keeping the ‘Law’? Or is this is a higher call, a call to total ‘righteousness’–God’s righteousness, not man’s. Jesus goes on in this discourse:
Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
We are called to be ‘righteous’ but God also calls us to “be….perfect”. Impossible, you say? Yes and no!!! Can we be ‘perfect’ on our own? No way!!! Then how? How can we be more righteous than the Pharisees? How can we be ‘perfect’ before God? Let’s continue on and find the answer to these questions.
John 4:20-26, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
Jesus declares to the ‘Samaritan’ woman that true worship is ‘in spirit and in truth’? But what does that mean? Simply put, “JESUS”, is what that means—the great ‘I AM’ come to dwell among us! Unless we worship through the ‘Son’, and the Holy Spirit that is given to those who believe/trust in Jesus, we cannot worship God acceptably! Jesus declares Himself to be truth in John 14:6, and He also promised in that same chapter to send HIS Spirit, the comforter/Holy Spirit, to be with us after His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Jesus was, is, and always will be the only way to see God, to know God and to worship God. He is the fulfillment of all Scripture—of all that God promised in His Word! He brought salvation by grace, and as John says in the passage below, Moses gave the Law (which pointed to Jesus) but Jesus brings (IS) grace and truth.
John 1:10-18, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the “Law”. When we are ‘born again’ into Jesus Christ He makes us alive unto God (See Romans 6:11-13). But this cost the greatest price in all of creation—the death of our Lord Jesus Christ–The promised Messiah–The Lamb of God–The deliverer—The Son of God!!! And when this was done He made the greatest cry and proclamation in all of time and eternity—“IT IS FINISHED”!!!
John 19:28-30, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” All done so that we could become God’s children.
Why this way? To satisfy the Holiness of God, to satisfy the ‘Righteousness’ of God, who could not tolerate sin. Jesus fulfilled the ‘Righteous’ Requirements of God’s Law—not just the Law of Moses—but also the Law of God’s perfect holiness, perfect justice, perfect righteousness. And because of HIS perfect love for us, God gave “His only begotten Son” to be lifted up and die for ME!!! To die for YOU!!! God’s love is amazing and unconditional, He so ‘loved the world’, that He gave Jesus. While His love is unconditional, His forgiveness and salvation are totally conditional upon our repentance toward our own sin, and faith in this atonement that Jesus Christ bought at Calvary! Nothing else would do. Only a ‘perfect’ sacrifice would do! And only Jesus, come in the flesh could be that perfect sacrifice for us. Remember, God didn’t need a sacrifice, He could have just sent us all to hell—the just dues for our own sinful lives!!! But praise God that He ‘so loved the world, that He gave….’!!!
When God delivers us from sin, and when we are truly saved by God’s grace and re-birthing power, then we are delivered from not only the eternal penalty of sin, but also the very power of sin, we have new life because we are ‘born again’ in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 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; 19 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. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The answer to our “how” questions regarding being ‘perfect’ and totally ‘righteous’!!! It’s “in him”, I repeat it’s “in him”!!!
Not by the ‘Law’ of Moses but by the “Law of God” that paid for our sin! The law of just recompense and reward. The justice that sin requires death (see Ro. 3:23 & 6:23), and only Jesus’ payment of that debt brings deliverance–not because HE owed it, but because I couldn’t pay it—which fulfills God’s demand for perfect justice! Jesus was and is the ONLY ‘perfect’ sacrifice, and the only way that I can receive the ‘perfection’ through His payment applied to my sin debt. Not because I deserve it, earn it or work for it, but because Jesus has already done it all and I simply (but not easily) must believe and trust in HIM for my salvation. To acknowledge and see my sin as a total affront to God; to repent of that willful, selfish, greedy sin that controls my life, and turn to Jesus in faith, believing that God can and will change me into the ‘image of His Son’ (Ro 8:28-29). And He promises to equip us to live this ‘new birth’ life!
John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
He places His Spirit within us to accomplish HIS work in us. The “new covenant”, as promised in Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jer. 31:31+ and Ezk. 11:19 & 36:26), gives us the ability to walk in that ‘spirit and truth’ which Jesus revealed to the woman at the well. The promise that He spoke of in Acts 1:4-5,
“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
And because God always keeps His promises, we can now ‘walk in the Spirit’ and obey God from our hearts not from tablets of stone.
Galatians 5:16,25, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh…..25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Have you come to Jesus? Have you bowed your knee before the King of Kings who died for you? If not, won’t you call on Him today in repentance and brokenness for your own sin, and bow before His throne, and receive the life-transforming work of salvation? Not a flippant, presumptuous formula of ‘name it and claim it’, but a true realization of the vileness of my sin before a Holy God, with sorrow and gratitude for what He did at Calvary. He is standing and waiting for YOU today.
If you know Him, won’t you commit anew to yield yourself to HIS Spirit and live what you claim to posses? You can claim a lot of things, but God knows the truth, and just ‘saying so won’t make it so’!!! Only Jesus—“the way…the truth…the life…” can make it so for YOU and ME!!!
2 Timothy 2:19, “Nevertheless
the foundation of God standeth sure,
having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them that are his.
And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ
depart from iniquity.”
If you’ve claimed His Righteousness for your own through the blood of Jesus—then live it—every day!!!