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Joseph Idowu
Pastor
The Apostolic Church
Brooklyn, New York
The Power Of Redemption

Nigerian
News
 
THE JOY OF GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS (Part 1)
by Pastor Joseph Idowu

 

Righteousness Note to Readers:  If you are blessed reading this biblical explanation, and you are being convicted that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Savior of mankind and would like to have personal relationship with him, take a few minutes to pray for spiritual empowerment to draw closer to God through Jesus Christ.  If you are regenerated and saved, pray for spiritual anointing to run your Christian race successfully.   Also, should you have comments, questions and other spiritual concern, and wish to get in touch with the writer, send your mail to the The Power Of Redemption

Introduction
In John 3: 16 and 17 we read “
For God so love the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” 

 

This is truly an expression of an epitome of divine and unconditional love from the God our Creator.  It was not difficult for God to do this for mankind to satisfy what is believed to be the first messianic prophecy of the Bible after the fall of man (Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the curse that followed in Genesis 3: 15, which says, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”  The curse revealed three truths (1) that Satan is the enemy of the human race, (2) that He would put enmity (spiritual barrier) between “thee” (Satan), “thy seed” (Satan’s people), “her seed” (God’s people); until there shall be a reconciliation between God and mankind by the human representative of the woman in the person of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who would deliver the deathblow to Satan, but in so doing would be bruised Himself (His death on the Cross of Calvary.)

In part 1 of the explanation of the Power of Redemption I shall discuss the issue of righteousness and faith, being important components of the work of Christ in the process of Salvation and Redemption of mankind.
       
DEFINING RIGHTEOUSNESS 
 
The Greek root word in the Old Testament means “straightness,” and in the New Testament word means “equal,” which in a moral sense both means “right.”        Righteousness refers to a state of holy and upright living, which conforms to God’s  authoritative standard.  It is a moral concept as depicted by God’s character – the source of all “righteousness.”  Human righteousness can ONLY be defined in terms of God’s.  We cannot be righteous in the sight of God on our own merits but MUST have God’s righteousness imputed or transferred to us through Jesus Christ.

In Biblical usages, righteousness is conceived as judged by the standard of God’s holy as derived from His holy character. 
Romans 3: 19 – 24 says, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  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: for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” 

The understanding and meaning of the passage confirms that mankind is considered to be corrupt and lacking in righteousness; and that mankind is totally incapable of making himself righteous.  The book according to prophet Isaiah 54 in verse 17 confirmed that “….This is the heritage of the servants (believers) of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”  Also, Isaiah 64: 6 says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”  These passages are clear indications that it is only through the ATONING work of Christ that man can be made righteous, sanctified, and/or justified.  By Christ’s atonement, it is meant that when we trust in Christ, we make an exchange – our sin for his righteousness because our sin was poured on Christ at his crucifixion and his righteousness is poured into us at our conversion.   (Conversion is the point at which man responds to the gospel of Jesus Christ and with an understanding of Christ’s atonement, feel the guilt of conviction, love God, and surrender his will to the offer of salvation with the resultant effect of a changed life.  It requires the commitment of the total personality, intellect, emotion, and will). We cannot on our own come to God demanding acceptance on the basis of our “good” conduct or work.  God will make us to know that our righteousness is nothing compared to his infinite righteousness because sin makes us unclean so that we cannot approach God.  The good thing is that God will not reject us if we come to him in faith and will not despise our efforts to please Him.  It is in order to encourage and motivate our faith that God “hath made Him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5: 21).  Therefore, our only hope is faith in Jesus Christ, who can cleanse us and bring us to the presence of God.
 
WE ARE MADE RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH

The record in Acts 2: 44, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common;” shows that the first Christians called themselves “the believers” and that they went everywhere persuading men and bringing them unto obedience to the faith that is in Jesus, as contained in Acts 6: 7,”And the word of God increased; and the number of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.  According to Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary, it is in Paul’s epistles that the meaning of faith is most clearly and fully set forth.  Faith is trust in the person of Jesus, the truth of His teaching, and the redemptive work He accomplished at Calvary, and, as a result, a total submission to Him and His message, which are accepted as from God.  Faith in His person is faith in Him as the eternal Son of God, the God-man, the second man Adam, who died in man’s stead, making possible justification with God, adoption into His family, sanctification, and ultimately, glorification.  Faith is not to be confused with a mere intellectual assent to the doctrinal teachings of Christianity, though, that is obviously necessary.  It includes a radical and total commitment to Him as the Lord of one’s life.
 
Faith has a two-fold sense in the Bible:
(a)   An active one that means “fidelity”, and “trustworthiness” of God as we read in Romans 3: 3-4, “For what if some did not believe?, shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, THAT THOU MIGHTEST BE JUSTIFIED IN THY SAYINGS, AND MIGHTEST OVERCOME WHEN THOU ART JUDGED.” (Psalm 51: 4)
“Let God be true” refers to God’s keeping His promises to Israel, and that God’s faithfulness does not depend upon the faithfulness of man.
 
(b)   A passive one that means “trust”, and “reliance” by man on God.  It requires self-commitment to God, implicitly involving unwavering trust in and obedience to Him.  Faith lay behind keeping of the Law of God as its presupposition and utter confidence in the faithfulness of God and a consequent loving obedience to His will.  The Lord God saw the abominations and unmindful attitude of mankind when he said in Deuteronomy 32: 20, “…I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very forward generation, children in whom is no faith.”  Also, the undeniable work of faith was confirmed in Habakkuk 2: 4, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by faith.” (This is a quotation in support of the doctrine of justification by faith.)

In His miracles and teaching, Jesus aimed at creating in His disciples (and all believers today) a complete trust in Himself as the Messiah and Savior of men. Everywhere He offered Himself as the object of faith and made it plain that faith in Him is necessary for eternal life, and that refusal to accept His claims will bring eternal ruin.  Jesus Christ said in John 10: 9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture”.  Similarly, in John 14: 6 he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  Hebrews 11: 6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” This passage confirms and reminds the believer that without faith it is impossible to please God, and that faith is an essential part of the believer’s relationship with God.  We must consciously bear in mind that faith is not a work performed to earn righteousness.  Rather, it is the means through which God can impute the righteousness of Jesus Christ to the sinner.  Every mankind became a “sinner” because of the imputation of sin originally committed by Adam, as a result of which God charged the account of every person born of woman with sin and due to the fact that we are all connected to Adam’s race. (God regards Adam as the federal or seminal (seed) head of human race which implies that everyone existed in seed form with Adam, and that we were in the body of Adam when he sinned, just as Levi was in the body of Abraham when he met Melchizedek, Hebrew 7: 10.)  This imputation of sin is not arbitrarily charging people with sins for which they are not naturally responsible, but reckoning to them the guilt they deserve.  God not only imputes the sin of Adam to the race, he also offers to do the same with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. 

In Romans 5: 12- 21 we read; “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.  But not as the offense, so also is the free gift.  For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.  For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience   many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.   Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”  

When God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the account of a believer, He makes the person’s record as good (or as perfect) as Jesus Christ’s.  Thus, imputed righteousness is the only remedy for imputed sin.

In part 2 of the Power of Redemption, I will discuss other important components such as salvation or spiritual rebirth, redemption or deliverance from the power of sin, and atonement through the blood of our Lord Jesus which he shed on the Cross of Calvary.

REMAIN BLESSED.
 
Note to Readers:  If you are blessed reading this biblical explanation, and you are being convicted that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Savior of mankind and would like to have personal relationship with him, take a few minutes to pray for spiritual empowerment to draw closer to God through Jesus Christ.  If you are regenerated and saved, pray for spiritual anointing to run your Christian race successfully.   Also, should you have comments, questions and other spiritual concern, and wish to get in touch with the writer, send your email to The Power Of Redemption

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