Righteousness—the Person, the Action

1 John 3:7 (KJV) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

It is to be deceived to believe that those who commit unrighteousness are righteous.

I was almost avoiding this passage. Somehow, I’m affected by books and messages discouraging a call to holiness and righteousness. Those who do are seen as legalistic, or 1 John 3.17 - Righteousness - The Person, the Actionpeople who don’t understand God’s love and grace. They are seen as judgmental, condemnatory, and they preach salvation by works.

I know those labels aren’t true with me. I understand that we’re saved by grace through faithliving faith that is. I understand God’s unconditional love and abundant grace. I caught myself doing something I ought not to: avoiding certain passages. That was wrong.

So, I settled. How can I escape this divine billboard projected so emphatically right before me—repeatedly, in different ways, just from one book alone? Here’s a sampling of what I mean:

1 John 2:1,5-6,29 (KJV) 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

1 John 3:3,10,24 (KJV) 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John 5:3 (KJV) 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

There’s a lot more where they came from.

If God’s Word doesn’t withdraw from urging us to life of love, obedience, holiness, purity, righteousness; it’s only right we also don’t.

‘nough said.

 

 

 

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On Pleasing God

1 Thessalonians 4:1   (KJV)   4 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

It’s easy to understand our brothers and sisters who teach us and assure us that God loves us so much and is already pleased with us just as we are.  Some believe this in the light of our relationship with our precious Lord Jesus, i.e., the Father loves His Son and is 1 Thessalonians 4.1 - On Pleasing Godperfectly pleased with Him, and because we’re in Jesus, He’s also pleased with us.  Others take it a little farther, i.e., with or without Jesus, He already loves us and is already pleased with us.

What’s my humble take?  I believe God’s love for us is from everlasting to everlasting—this is even before our saving relationship with our precious Lord Jesus.  It was because of His love that Jesus willingly came to save us and reconcile us to our heavenly Father.  His pleasure is different. He has always loved us, but He’s not always pleased with us.  I believe that if God is pleased with us in a constant and an unchanging way, meaning, He always loves us, it is only because of His pleasure in His Son.

Scriptures like the one above encourages us as His people to walk in a manner that pleases God.  In fact, even when we already do, we’re encouraged to keep growing in it—to do so even more.  This has to do with our practical daily living or walk with and in God.  This makes it very clear that it’s possible, even for us believers, to displease God.  In Christ, He’s always pleased with us; in our walk, we restfully and diligently strive to please Him.  This isn’t a burden; as I’ve repeatedly stated:  as children of God, we find our greatest pleasure in pleasing our Father.

Righteousness Matters

Galatians 2:21  (KJV)   21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Grace can be wasted. To continue to pursue law-righteousness is to frustrate grace-righteousness. The death of Jesus Christ is a very direct statement that no one can be made righteous through the works of the law. If there is even one person who can qualify for eternal life because of self-righteousness, the gruesome and painful sacrifice of the Lord Jesus will be the unwisest choice and biggest mistake ever made – in heaven or on earth.

It’s no good to abuse God’s grace; it’s equally no good to waste it. If any person has any chance or assurance for salvation, it’s never going to be through the path of the law; it’s always going to be through the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me be quick to state that I’m not undermining the importance and call for pursuit of daily righteous living. Yes, we ought to be righteous in our thoughts, in our actions, and in our choices. But the righteousness that will save us is the righteousness that’s not our own. It’s the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ that He shares with us – His righteousness that becomes our righteousness. His righteousness is the only righteousness that qualifies for the perfect eternity in the presence of the perfect holy God. That written, we ought to now live out practically who we are positionally.

Dear righteous Father, thank You for the riches of Your loving generosity. Thank You for sharing us Your righteousness to the full measure. We would have been hopeless without it. Because of it, we will be with You for eternity. For this, we are indeed eternally grateful, in Jesus Name, amen.