The Righteousness That Comes From God
April 21, 2016
Jesus tells us, “If you want to enter Life, obey the commandments.” (Mt. 19:17) These commandments are God’s Moral Law –those laws that are the rules by which to treat one another. As Rom. 13:9 informs us, whatever commands there are, such as those prohibiting adultery, murder, theft, and covetousness, –they are all summed up in one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is, therefore, the fulfillment of God’s Law (v. 10), and those who live out love, have, themselves, fulfilled the Law. (v. 8 )
Gal. 5:13, as well, reminds us to serve one another in love, and verse 14 confirms, “The entire Law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” In James 2:8 where this command is repeated, it calls it “the Royal Law found in Scripture.”
This Law is the Law which God has written on the hearts and consciences of all mankind. (Rom. 2:15) It is the Truth of God which, if people live by it, will cause them to come to the Light (John 3:21) –who is Jesus (8:12, 12:46)– and put their faith in Him (12:36) so that they “may become sons of light.” (Same verse) By putting “aside the deeds of darkness” (Rom. 13:12) –all those behaviors that contradict Love– and doing so by the Spirit (8:13), we clothe ourselves with Christ (13:14) who is “the armor of Light” (v. 12) and are thus able to fully live out “the righteous requirements of the Law” (8:4) which beforehand was impossible. (v. 3) This is the freedom for which Christ has set us free! (7:23-25 // Gal. 5:1)
Indeed, God’s good and perfect Law, having been weakened in us because of our strengthening sinful nature, actually became powerless in its effect for us. (Rom. 8:3) Nevertheless, because of Christ’s atonement, sin in sinful man was condemned (same verse) so that those who live by the Spirit are freed from its power! (v. 4) Consequently, the sinful nature’s desires need no longer be fed (Gal. 5:16) for “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (v. 24) Yes, by dying to the old self, sin itself is died to, crucified, and rendered powerless (Rom. 6:6,7 // Col. 3:3) because the sinful nature is completely circumcised off in born anew believers, done so by Christ Himself. (Col. 2:11) This is the Great News! Jesus came to earth “to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8) and “take away our sins” (v. 5) if we, by faith, unite ourselves with Him who is void of all sin! (Same verse // 1 Cor. 6:17 // 2 Cor. 5:17)
What happens when people do not understand “the righteousness that comes from God”? (Rom. 10:3) What happens is that they seek “to establish their own.” (Same verse) The Law written on their consciences becomes foggy or even severed (Eph. 4:18,19 // 1 Tim. 4:2), and they thus deviate further and further from submitting to God’s righteousness. (Rom. 10:3) This fate includes those who think they are “zealous for God” and His Truth even while their zeal is actually stemming from error. (v. 2)
But, for those led by the Spirit, we are not under the supervision of the Law or under the righteousness it demands. (Gal. 3:21-25, 5:18) For God’s Law, itself holy and good (Rom. 7:12), produces Death rather than the Life it is intended to bring (v. 10), for Sin uses it against the sinner. (v. 11) Thus, under Law, we are not ever able to actually attain to God’s righteous requirements. However! By being one with Christ and walking in the power of His Spirit, we come to “know the righteousness that comes from God” (10:3) and thereby live by the Truth (John 3:21, 8:31), know the Truth that sets us free (8:32), fulfill the Royal Law of Love, and abide in Life Everlasting.
It all boils down to fulfilling that one rule within which all God’s Law is summed up. And to being able to do so because of the Spirit of Christ within us –who is leading us and empowering us– and this, because we understood the Message concerning the righteousness that comes from God, which is through our Savior, Jesus Christ.