IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: GOD’S GREAT AND WONDERFUL GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Rev Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
If you struggle, as many believers do, with whether you deserve to be blessed, favored, and victorious, you are asking the wrong question.
The question you should be asking is, does Jesus deserve to be blessed, favored, and victorious? Because you are in Christ, having a blessed future is not contingent on how much you strive to be perfect or how hard you work at changing yourself. It is contingent on the person of Jesus.
Righteousness” is a legal term. It means to have right standing before God. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines righteousness as “that gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God.” In other words, your right standing before God is based upon Jesus’ right standing before God.
And do you know what happens when you receive this gift of righteousness? The Bible declares that “those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). Hey, when you reign, your addictions don’t. When you reign, sicknesses don’t. When you reign, fear, depression, and every obstacle that is obstructing you from living your life to the fullest will be torn down and flushed out!
Today, you are as righteous as Jesus because your righteousness is from Him. He purchased it for you at the cross. When you received Him as your Lord and Savior, He took away all your unrighteousness once and for all and gave you His gift of righteousness. This righteousness is something that you can never obtain or achieve through your right doing; it can only be received by your right believing in Jesus.
“And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
Adam’s sin and disobedience led to judgment and condemnation. These both came through the act of one sin. In contrast, Jesus’s one act of obedience led to the covering of all sins. This is the beauty of the gospel.
Despite the many sins, the Christian has now been justified, which means He blots out all sins and calls the Christian righteous.
It was by one man’s offense that death came and reigned in the world. But it was the one act of Jesus that defeated death and brought life. The Christian is given the righteousness of Christ when they believe in Him. No longer does death reign over them, but those who believe shall now find life in Christ. They have lost the fear of death and will reign with Christ for eternity.
If you build your life on these verses — if the truth of these two verses becomes the foundation of your life — you will be unshakable in a hundred crises. If these verses become the sun in the solar system of your life, all your planets will orbit in harmony around the will of God. But if you put these verses out on the rim of your life (say near Neptune or Pluto) you need not be surprised if there is confusion and uncertainty and fear and weakness in your life.
These are some truths that are so foundational and so central that you should memorize them, meditate on them, bind them to your mind and heart with chains and ropes and every kind of adhesive you can find. Many professing Christians are very weak, and amble through their days pretty much like unbelievers, because they don’t hold on to these verses the way a drowning man takes hold of his rescuer’s arm.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All of us have sinned. No exceptions.
And the outworking of that sin is that we are falling short of God’s glory. “Falling short” is, literally, “lacking.” All have sinned and we are lacking the glory of God.
You know, a gift is something that you don’t work for. A gift is something that you don’t earn, and in a lot of cases a gift is something that you don’t deserve, and yet the Bible makes it very clear that righteousness is a gift.
“For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness,” underline that. “Everyone that uses milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he,” the guy that uses milk still, “is a babe,” or he is immature.
So interesting that he says you’ve been saved long enough that you should be teaching right now, but now you have need that somebody teach you. He’s talking about this issue of you being immature where righteousness is concerned, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s Word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right”.
See, most Christians understand righteousness by something they’ve done to be righteous, and so most Christians say, “I’m righteous ’cause I did right”. And this righteousness which is by faith is not you being righteous ’cause you did right. It’s you being righteous because of what Jesus has done, because you’ve accepted Jesus, and you’re righteous because of Jesus. Now, again, we’re talking about the gift of righteousness, so think about it. If you’re righteous because of what you did, you probably did something to earn it. This is a gift, a gift is something that is extended towards you. You didn’t earn, you didn’t work for, you didn’t sweat for, it was given to you. You didn’t even deserve it, okay?
We were made righteous without doing right. Just like Jesus was made a sinner without sinning, we were made righteous without doing right. Oh, man, that religion is getting on you right now, but this right here in the Scripture. Jesus was made a sinner, who knew no sin. Jesus was made a sinner without sinning. You were made righteous without doing right.
Matthew 5:20 “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
What kind of righteousness do we need to have in order to exceed that of the Pharisees? Especially since the Bible says in Romans 3:10 that there is no one righteous, not even one!
Do you think Jesus was saying you need to try really hard to be righteous and if you perform greater than the Pharisees then you will attain perfect righteousness and be able to go to heaven? Absolutely not! The Bible is very clear that no one is righteous of themselves.
So, what kind of righteousness was Jesus saying we need to possess in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Nothing less than the perfect righteousness of God! Anything less is an inferior righteousness that will keep us out of the Kingdom of God. God has made a way for all mankind to enter his Kingdom and walk in a relationship with him. It’s called the gift of his righteousness that makes us perfect in righteousness and enables us to draw near to God!
We haven’t become a form of righteousness, we’ve become the very righteousness of God!
Romans 5:19 “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Nothing can make you unrighteous.
Hebrews 10:10 “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
If God has made you righteous then nothing can make you unrighteous. Not even if you mess up and make a mistake and do something stupid. There is nothing you can do to make yourself anymore righteous and there is nothing you can do to make yourself any less righteous! Our ongoing state of righteousness before God is never based on our performance. It’s always based on his perfect righteousness. He has made us perfectly righteousness with his righteousness for all of time and nothing can change that!
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