Romans 6:15-19 (NLT)
Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.
The chorus to the popular song “Lord, I Need You” by Chris Tomlin has been constantly on my mind the last few days. “Lord, I need You, oh I need You - every hour I need You - my one defense, my righteousness - oh God, how I need You.” It is in my head when I wake up, it is on the radio when I crank up the car, and seems to be the first song that comes on Pandora no matter what station I am on at the gym. The line “my one defense, my righteousness” finally has gotten my attention as the Holy Spirit has been in relentless pursuit of my thoughts to wrap my head carefully and completely around such a concept. We have been engaged in a long battle against cancer. It has been a difficult journey but a total revelation about the goodness of God and His Power. Nevertheless, there are days when the burden gets too heavy and my heart is completely shattered. I cry out “Lord, I need you!” His response today, “I have given you righteousness so you have all you need! To win every battle, remain on top, to overcome in every situation. You have all that you need to prosper, receive the promise, and discover My Plan. It all belongs to you if you will simply use it.” God’s Grace allowed me to leave the penalty of sin behind and step into right standing with God once and for all. It is the weakness of our human nature to allow ourselves to be drawn back into the poverty of guilt, doubt and fear but God says to use your best defense – it is your righteousness! It is all that you need to be set free from sin and become slaves of righteous living! You are free to wholeheartedly obey God and live according to His Word. This is right standing with God. This is all that you need. But are you willing to do it?
I have this image in my head of walking through our local grocer pushing a cart when a voice comes across the loud speaker. Everyone who would like to have their groceries paid in full must go through checkout eleven. Talk about being at the right place at the right time. Naturally, one would first fill the cart to overflowing with everything they need and want including many things that were once unaffordable and make their way to the appropriate lane. But the sad truth is not many people would remain in the “free” checkout lane. Some would be in too much of a hurry to wait. Others might think the offer too good to be true while others just don’t like the number eleven. Of course, then there are those who don’t like that particular clerk or the people waiting in this line. Or perhaps, pride tells them that nothing in life is free so they pay for groceries that have already been paid for much like people try to do good things to secure righteousness that has bought and paid for by the Blood of Jesus. No matter what the reason there are many people who miss the blessing because of their inability to believe and remain faithful. Now do you see the image of righteousness from God’s Perspective? Most people simply will not wait on the Lord because they have no confidence in His Word or Willingness to save. Not knowing God, they are unable to trust Him. Some think that it is too good to be true this life of faith that prospers simply by believing because it does not make sense in the natural but regularly occurs in the supernatural. There are many who choose to leave righteousness behind because of the crowd who they run with or avoid. Pride is greatly offended by faith that calls for surrender of our mind, body and spirit to God’s Word, Will and Way. It would be sad to think we have missed out on God’s Purpose, Plan, Provision, Promise and Prosperity simply because we did not belief enough to walk through life His Way. I would regret missing out on free groceries. I cannot imagine the level of regret one might experience when judgment comes.
Isaiah 41:1-4 (NLT)
“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.”
Jesus Christ came to this world offering God’s Justice for His People called righteousness. He did not come to judge the world but that Him we might all experience salvation which is the pardoning of sin allowing us the grace to step back into right standing with God. The only way to become righteous is through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, it is messy and somewhat unsightly. Such brutality may make you just a tad uncomfortable, but it is totally necessary to become righteous again. Righteousness is God’s Desired Justice for His Children. It is freedom to choose to remain righteous and leave sin behind. You have the right to choose to serve whatever master you desire at this point. Many will use their grace to try to steal from God’s Kingdom or sneak a blessing or two while remaining on the edge of sin and darkness because their heart remains divided. Lukewarm Christians are vomit in the mouth of God and we all know what happens when it makes it that far. ”For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” (Romans 5:17-18) The sin of Adam once flowed through me, but when I met Jesus Christ it was instantly washed away and I became righteous. Now I have the opportunity to claim my inheritance as a Child of God because of my Father’s Grace and Unfailing Love alone. God is not mad at us because we sinned. He feels sorry for us which is evident in His Compassion. The Lord sees that we were tricked. The deception of the enemy caused us to accept a lie over the Truth. But God would not allow His Beloved to die in ignorance so He took His Only Son and wrapped Him in human flesh and sent Him to this world to bring us justice once more. We must know and understand who Jesus Christ is, why He came and exactly what He did for us on the Cross to fully understand righteousness and its benefits. “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9) Faith in Jesus Christ alone establishes me in right standing with God. If I concentrate on strengthening my faith in the Lord, I will become confident in the hope that He gives us and receive all that He promised. It comes by faith in God alone.
Isaiah 42:5-7 (NLT)
God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth. And it is he who says, “I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations. You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.”
Now this is where things get good! Righteousness gives us life. (Romans 1:17) The kind of life that we were living with uncertain outcomes but in Him we have everything that God planned before time began. God called us to be righteous for a reason. Righteousness allows us to align our heart and mind with the Lord and live the life that He predetermined for us. It is a good life with a future and hope that will not end in our destruction. He longs to make us successful in everything we do. We are to live a life of faith that demonstrates right standing with God which means to live what we believe rather than returning to a life of sin and darkness. This is a good thing. Stop looking at the collateral damage that keeps you in fear and bondage to sin and look at His Glory and Grace. God wants to prosper you from the inside out. We accept this by faith when we decide to accept the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ and live in alignment with Him. It would be sad to think of all the blessings and promises that we miss by rejecting God’s Way of doing things because we thought we might know a better way. It is pitiful to think that we have tried over and over to pay for something that was paid in full. Our life is renewed, restored and revived by living in right standing with God which means we must strive to remain in close proximity and not allow sin to be an obstacle again.
Ephesians 1:9-11 (NLT)
God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
Going back to the free shopping spree at the grocery store, imagine that rather than food and basic necessities that the shelves were piled high with every promise and blessing God had for you. What if it was way more than you could ever think or ask? What if all you had to do was load it in your cart and haul it through lane number eleven to have it? I bet you would do it without hesitation if you knew it was for real. If you were absolutely certain that you would not be rejected or made fun of but told to go in peace, I bet you would do whatever it took to make it the right place. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. The Bible says that not a single word from God’s Mouth will return to Him void. He has a plan and purpose for your life. He wants to prosper you! In fact, let’s just look for a moment at what His Inheritance offers through righteousness. Your life will have purpose. (Romans 8:27-29) Every detail will be for your benefit and good as He perfects it. You will have God’s Plan for your life without even trying by simply choosing to remain in right standing with the Lord. What is His Plan? Look it up – Jeremiah 29:11-13. You will have provision as God raises your standard of living to His Glorious Standard. (Romans 3:23) Rather than living off the crumbs under God’s Table, you will feast at His Table while He supplies everything you need as already prescribed according to His Riches. (Philippians 4:19) By faith in the righteousness of God given to you, you will have everything God promised even those things you cannot perceive in the natural that He is giving you supernaturally. (Romans 4:16-17) You will live in the realm of hope and impossibility where everything is possible for those who believe. You will prosper in all seasons of life (Psalm 1:1-3) as your soul prospers (I John 1:2) in moral excellence and righteousness given by Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ will literally hand you the Keys to the Kingdom by simply calling Him Savior and Lord. (Matthew 16:16-19) He immediate gives you His Spirit to make His Way plain so you will have your inheritance now before you ever meet Him face-to-face. God called us to a holy life in Jesus Christ. (2Timothy 1:9-10) His Spirit is His Guarantee that everything He promised belongs to us and to make the way plain.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon all those who call Jesus Christ Savior and Lord. Believing is the power to access the Glory of God which is our inheritance secured by His Death and Resurrection. You can have it all right now if you choose to believe. It is your only defense when it comes to the lies and taunts of the enemy. Righteousness opens the windows of Heaven. As we sow seeds of righteousness in our heart, we begin to discover the meaning of true prosperity that has nothing to do with monetary wealth but overflowing peace and overwhelming joy. (Hosea 10:12) Instead of worrying about all our problems today, what if we chose to dive into righteousness and focus our attention on aligning our life with Jesus Christ? What if we dared to believe His Word? What if for one footstep, our next breath, or for a single heartbeat we attempted to fully align our life in right standing with God’s Word, Will and Way by faith allowing confident hope to grow? What would happen? Miracles would happen. Lives would be changed. We would flourish in the Spirit and Word of God invested in our heart and given the opportunity to grow supernaturally forsaking the natural for just a moment! It might lead to something even greater. The Holy Spirit will reveal God’s Plan to those who invest a mustard seed of faith into the process. (I Corinthians 2:6-10) You can have it all in Jesus Christ but only if you live in right standing allowing nothing or no one to come between you and your God ever again. Why? Why you? Why would God give it to you? Because He loves you so much that He would not allow sin to rob you of justice and you now have righteousness because He gave His All just for you! Now why don’t you give your all back to Him! Imagine the potential.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Jesus has given justice to all. Will you stop holding closed the door of your cell and be free in the Name of Jesus. When the enemy comes (and he will) with his lies, your once defense is righteousness. God knows what you need and when you need it because He has already provided it. He is ready to do more than you could ever think or ask. All you have to do is be in the right place at the right time. The right place is righteousness. The right time is now!
I Timothy 6:11-15 (NLT)
But you, _______________ , are a man (or woman) of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.