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8/24/16 - Righteousness through Christ and not your works

Published: Tuesday, 23 August 2016 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.  Galatians 2:15-16

Most often I ask a class that I am teaching the following, “How many of you are as righteous as Christ?”  Most people will either not raise their hands or will make a half-hearted attempt to raise only their hand off their lap.  Nothing could be further from God’s expectations of what Christ has given you.  God has made you as righteous as Christ.

 

In the verses above, there is a contrast between being justified (to God as holy) by your own works or by your faith in Christ Jesus.  If you cannot get past these verses with the realization that you have been made righteous as Christ, meditate on the criteria that you are using to think you are justified to God.  If your mind even hints at something that you have done or are doing, you will not be justified before God.  Righteousness is all over the Bible, and I have provided a few references for you to read during your personal Bible study:

Genesis 15:6                                 Psalms 7:17                                 Romans 5:21

2 Corinthians 5:21                        Galatians 2:21                              Ephesians 4:24

Philippians 3:9                              1 Peter 2:24

At the time of Christ, the Jews strongly believed that they were justified to God through the Law.  This was a major difference of opinion between Jesus and the Jewish rulers.  Even today, most, if not all, Believers fall into the worldly philosophy that who you are, what you are, and what you have are the most significant criteria for God to accept you as righteous.  Any thinking along these lines keeps you away from the full and abundant life that God has for you.  Your righteousness comes only from God through Jesus Christ.  There is nothing else other than the blood of Christ running down the cross that makes you righteous.  This should be the foundation of your faith.

With this realization, you are free to be in the service of God with a correct understanding of your righteousness.  You are free from any laws, any lists, and any rules to become righteous before God.  This freedom is stated clearly in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Finally, one of the saddest things that I have seen among Brothers and Sisters in Christ is the use of laws and rules to govern the behavior of others.  The Bible is clear that Jesus expressed all of the commands of God under one word, “LOVE”! Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.  Matthew 22:37-40 With the knowledge that God has made you as righteous as Christ, you can truly love others as God intended.

 

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