You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the Lord your God. So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord.
We are called to be different than the world around us. The world is lost in sin and following the desires of their own hearts. They are doing what is right in their own eyes. We as children of God are called to a higher purpose. We are called to do what is right in the eyes of God. We are called to live our lives for the desire of our Father in Heaven, Who has given His Son so whoever wills, may come to Him and also become a child of God. This lifestyle is influenced by the Fear of the Lord and accepted through humility. It is a lifestyle of Righteousness, the third pillar of Wisdom I am talking about.
Webster’s Dictionary defines righteousness as a quality of acting in accordance with divine or moral law; free from guilt. To be righteous is defined as being morally right or justifiable. I believe righteousness, as used in the scriptures, takes on much more meaning. A righteous individual is free from guilt; and the individual is walking in accordance with God’s law; but the righteousness of God goes much farther. It is also the vehicle in which the power of God is released. Righteousness is walking with humility in the Fear of the Lord. God is He, who we allow to influence and guide us. We walk faithfully with Him as we walk humbly before Him. Through the righteousness of Christ Jesus as it is displayed in our lives, the Holy Spirit will release the power and authority of God. Righteousness is a quality of God that directs actions, but is not determined by actions. Righteousness is not acquired through the works we do. The works we do are a result of a heart attitude resulting from a relationship with Christ which directs Godly responses.
I think the body of Christ is often confused about the righteousness of God. We know we have become righteous through the death and resurrection of Jesus; and being made righteous, we receive certain Kingdom privileges. Among these rights, we walk in a measure of the power of the Holy Spirit; our prayers are heard and are effective, doing much good in the lives of those we pray for. We are also blessed in our coming and in our going. We are the head and not the tail. We are the blessed of God. However, most Christians are living far short of the fullness of God’s blessings. The problem is not because they have a lack of faith or the fortitude to use the faith they were given. The problem is we are not walking in the fullness of true righteousness in Christ. We are not living a sanctified lifestyle. Lester Sumrall said,”A filthy person cannot cast out a filthy devil.” Likewise, a Christian who is not walking a sanctified life, a life lived in righteous behavior, will not be given the authority and power in this life as a mature son or daughter of God. God is a Holy God, concerned about our souls and will not give His power to be wielded by people who are prideful or living unclean lives. If we continue in sin we do not have fellowship with the Father.
When we were saved; having received the sacrifice of Jesus for payment of our sins, we were justified by grace. The term justification does not imply we no longer sin. It states the character of the one who justified us is accredited to us. Behold old things have passed away and all things have been made new. We were born of flesh when we were born into this world. Flesh begets flesh and we obtained a nature of one who would fall short of God’s righteousness. This is what we call sin. The definition of sin is to miss the mark. God created us in His image to grow into His likeness. When Adam sinned he died to perfection. We inherited an incomplete nature, one which would fall short of the mark. As Adam died we, as his descendants, died with him. We do not have the character of God in us for our spirits are dead unto Christ. He is a living Spirit. We cannot reach perfection and are hopelessly lost. Jesus came to provide an opportunity for sinful man to regain his potential. Jesus came born of a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit. The egg was of Eve, He was truly man with the sinful nature. While the Holy Spirit fertilized the egg without a man being involved. Therefore, Jesus was born completely God. Jesus bore our imperfect flesh. He lived His life sinless and was presented as the perfect lamb. As Caiaphas said, it was crucial for one man to die for the nation. Jesus, being spotless was worthy to enter the Holy of Holys and the sin of mankind could be removed from our lives. We are born of the Spirit when we give our lives to the Lord. Spirit begets spirit. Our spirits were made alive. We were born again. At this time, the physical man in the corruptible body, bearing the sinful nature, now has a new driver. We are no longer slaves unto sin; we are no longer dead unto Christ; but we are alive unto the Spirit of freedom in Jesus Christ. We still battle with the sinful desires of our old self because we still live in this corruptible body influenced by the sinful nature. However, we are alive unto Christ and our spirits are receiving instruction and strength from the Holy Spirit. As we renew our minds with the washing of the word, in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. We are strengthened and empowered to walk freely; separate of our old patterns and behaviors. It is in this state God is willing to accredit us with His character. We are justified. We are looked at as we have the righteousness of Jesus. We are empowered as we walk in this righteousness.
We are empowered to free ourselves from old patterns; but we are not forced to free ourselves from our old way of life. Because of this, we are in a continual struggle to turn away from actions which are contrary to God’s will because physically we are drawn to do them. One example of this struggle is revealed in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. He rebuked them on a number of issues. They quarreled among themselves; they accepted a man living in an adulteress situation; they would gather for the Passover and some would become drunk and eat excessively, while others had nothing to eat. Paul stated, although they should be teachers of the word they were still immature and needed milk. These are people who have been saved through the grace of the gospel, but they were living in the patterns of the sinful nature. Paul informed them they were still as infants being only able to receive teaching the quality of milk, although by now, they should have been on solid food. They should have been teachers themselves. The teaching of the Gospel is revealed both in milk for the young, and in solid food for the mature. I believe this is why Jesus said many times “He who has ears, let him hear.” There are deeper meanings in the words He and the Holy Spirit speaks to us. He spoke in parables so if someone desired to seek, they would discover the meaning. There are levels of training and growth. We are to be desirous of this greater teaching. If we receive it we will walk in a richer form of righteousness, obedient to the Holy Spirit. This Righteousness will result in the power of God being made more manifest in our lives.
The correlation between righteousness and the power of God is similar to the relationship between a rich father and his son. Imagine a young man born into wealth. He is raised in the household loved and nurtured by his parents. Servants tend to his needs in accordance with the charge given to them by his father. During his childhood, he is instructed as to the rules of the family and is disciplined to abide by them. He is instructed and corrected by the servants of the family. Over the course of time the young man enters an age of accountability; an introduction to adulthood. He chooses to continue in his father’s rules and understands the concepts behind them. He chooses to live in accordance with the purposes of these rules. The father watches the maturity of his son. He acknowledges His son’s character is growing into His own likeness. He prepares his son to carry out the responsibilities of his estate. In time the servants who watched over the lad growing up, become obedient to the commands of the son, now their master, who earlier was obedient to their instructions. The righteous actions of the son as he matured provided the evidence needed for him to carry more authority. This authority is released to him a little at a time so he can learn to grow in it in humility; not seeking his own, but the good of those he serves.
What would happen if the child while reaching the early age of adulthood, decided he was impartial to the commandments which he was taught earlier? Rather than working to understand the meaning of those rules, he chose to deal with his father on a basis of equal entities. The son determined his ideas were as valid as his father’s. His father would watch his son growing up. He would love his son, and would allow his son to move in the direction he chose to. However, the father would release the cares of his estate to a servant rather than to his ignorant son. The purposes of the father, for his estate cannot be accomplished outside of the fathers intentions; and a son who chose not to respect his fathers intentions will never operate in them. This is often the situation the church has with the heart of the Father. We have been raised in accordance with the law of Moses. This is the rule of our Father. As we have given our lives to Jesus, we have entered salvation and have become righteous through the blood of Jesus. The law was never our righteousness, but our instructor. The family rules still apply to us as it is a guide for us to see and understand the Father’s heart. But many of us, after receiving Christ’s righteousness, determine the law is not applicable to us anymore. We do not meditate on the law at all. We remove ourselves from receiving rich insight and instruction through the Mosaic law and choose to do what seems right in our own eyes. We find ourselves limited in active power and authority. Our Father will not release the authority He has for us in fullness if we will not walk in His nature.
Please understand. Righteousness is a character trait we must grow in to receive the active power of God in our lives while on this Earth. The law is a God ordained, given tool which is very useful in our instruction. We are first babes in Christ being nurtured to grow into Christ’s image. The commandments of our Father are to take on a new role as we grow in fellowship with God. The commandments now become our instructors, declaring the intentions and desire of God, our Father. While we are growing in understanding; agreeing with the purposes of the law, and practicing the ordinances according to the purposes; we are given more authority in the kingdom. We are able to make decisions on behalf of our Father and give instructions in His name. These instructions will be honored because God has put His signature upon our request. The early church understood this concept. Being rooted in the Jewish faith, the Jewish males were taught scripture at an early age and would memorize it. They memorized both the Law and the prophets and were instructed to meditate on the scriptures. These tools were critical in the culture of Hebrew society. Jesus walked with the first disciples for three years demonstrating the heart and purposes of God. He did not take anything away from the law, yet He was not bound to the letter of the law. He was obedient to the Spirit of the law. This is the very heart of the Father. After Jesus’ resurrection, the church was able to move in the purposes of God quickly as they practiced the skills in the example they were given. They were fully equipped for the task.
Much of the church in our day declares liberty from the law rather than using the law to know God’s heart. They believe the law is unimportant, useless or even evil in the life of a Christian. Not only do we decline to study it, we reject it all together. This places us in the position of the second son in our story. We can claim the inheritance of our Father’s kingdom. We are co-heirs with Christ. However, when we call something in to being, it may not be done because the Father may choose not to put His blessing on it. It is in demonstrating the righteousness of God where the Father is glorified. We do not need to be afraid of the Law of God. We are not given in to slavery again. We are to use the law as an instruction tool as we receive the whole council of God as given to us by the Holy Spirit. This includes the law of Moses, the prophets and the scriptures as discerned through the Holy Spirit. A large percentage of the church has lost the power to turn the world upside down. God desires to release His power to a mature church. Glorifying God will draw people to Jesus.
Jesus said we will be doing far greater works than He did. A thriving Church will see the miraculous power of God in their lives. This should not discourage us, but excite us since the goal is attainable even today, even in your life and my life. He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. While we apply ourselves to a relationship with God’s Spirit, and allow ourselves to receive from the whole council of God. We will be seeing the world giving respect to the name of Jesus, and much of our persecution will probably come from the religious base of the self-righteous. We will be moving into maturity and receiving the keys to the Kingdom. We will learn from the law and not be bound by the law. For we are now free from the law of sin and death; but made alive unto the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. We will be unashamed to declare the truth.