Righteousness

Romans 5:17-18 NASB
For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

So then, as through one offense the result was condemnation to all mankind, so also through one act of righteousness the result was justification of life to all mankind.”

I know this post is a tad on the long side but I would hope that you would bear with me.

Did you notice those words “the gift of righteousness” in Romans 5:17 and “the one act of righteousness” in Romans 5:18? We’ll come back to these Scripture verses shortly.

We live in a “performance” orientated world, where our success or acceptance is normally judged upon our compliance with, or performance on, what has been deemed or considered as “right” or “correct”. Unfortunately, what is deemed as being “right” or “correct” depends upon which particular subjective “truth” one is looking at.

For example, for some, the subjective truth that seeing a red traffic signal directly in front of you, should normally mean coming to a complete stop, in the vehicle you are driving. However, some may also view it to be OK to proceed through a red traffic signal, directly in front of you, in a vehicle you are driving, if no traffic is present, or coming from any direction.

Consequently, the acceptance of what is deemed as “correct” or “right” depends upon the underlying subject truth that one adheres to.

There is an awful lot of confusion or misunderstanding as to what God deems as being righteous or good.

Many think that being good basically means that overall, subject to some possibly minor exceptions, a person is deemed by God, as being basically good, if they are kind, giving and non-critical of others. And because they are basically good, God accepts them both here, while we are on earth, and after they die, into His heaven. Quite often, you will hear someone say, that the person that just died, has gone to a “better place”, because they think that the person who died, was basically a good person. That may be a “truth” that this person believes, but it is a subjective truth, according to their own perception of what is righteous or good.

Objective truth differs from subjective truth in that objective truth is in fact the honest or factual truth on a given subject or reality, whether you believe in this objective truth or not. As an example, you may not believe in the objective truth of gravity but if you drive your vehicle off of a cliff, you and the car you are in, will both be subject to the gravitational objective truths of gravity and you will plunge downwards until coming in contact with another solid substance which can support the weight of you and your vehicle. In other words, subjective truth is subject to objective truth, whether the subjective truth is in accordance with the objective truth, or not. Or, another way of stating this is that objective truth, over rides subjective truth, when the stated subjective truth is not in agreement with the objective truth.

In Christianity, God’s Holy Word declares the objective truths of God. God tells us that His ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts. In other words, how we think and reason about things and determine both objective truth and subjective truth, if it does not agree with His objective truth, it is basically incorrect.

For instance, God tells us in His Holy Word that there is none who are righteous or what we would call “good”. God even tells us, “No not one!”. (Romans 3:10)(Psalm 14:1-3)

God also tells us in His Holy Word that if we do not believe (have faith) in Him, it is impossible for us to be found pleasing in His sight. (Hebrews 11:6) That kind of puts the subjective truth of being considered “good” by God, without believing or having faith in God, from God’s perspective, in the trash can, doesn’t it?

Humanities standards are lower than God’s, and that presents a problem. And it’s not like God hasn’t tried to get His Holy and righteous standard across to us, He chose the nation of Israel to teach us His requirements, He gave us the Ten Commandments, The Law, The Tabernacle, the Temples, the Prophets and finally His Son Jesus, to illustrate and demonstrate His objective truths.

The thing is, we can’t meet God’s standard, we never could, because we are sinful creatures, with sin, not without sin, and we cannot, in and of ourselves, be holy and righteous, like God is. And “sin” is any thought, word or deed that violates the holiness or righteousness of God.

This is where those two Scripture verses that I quoted at the beginning of this post become exceedingly important. Let’s read them again:

Romans 5:17-18 NASB
For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
So then, as through one offense the result was condemnation to all mankind, so also through one act of righteousness the result was justification of life to all mankind.”

When Adam sinned, we all became sinful creatures, in other words, we sought our own ways versus God’s ways. We sought our own counsel instead of God’s counsel. We basically told God that we could wing it on our own. Which also more than adequately illustrates why we in this world, are where we are today.

So God, in His wisdom and mercy, illustrating His love for us, sent us His Son, to do for us, what we in ourselves could never do. God Himself became our righteousness, in the person of His Son. The righteousness that Jesus lived and demonstrated, becomes our righteousness, as a gift from God.

And from our moment of rebirth, when we open that door to Jesus, we become sanctified in Him and are being made holy in Him, through this journey of faith in Him that Jesus calls us to. (Hebrews 10:14).

Saying we are Christians by occasionally going to Church or having done so when we were young, doesn’t make us followers of Jesus Christ, just like hanging out in the garage won’t turn us into a car. Being born again changes how we think, it changes our heart and it changes our spirit that is within us, because God’s Holy Spirit, joins with our spirit and changes us from within. Just like circumcision in the Old Testament, means nothing unless the heart becomes circumcised to listen and follow God’s will for our lives, outward ceremonies that we recite and recall vaguely in our memories, accomplishes nothing at all. This isn’t rocket science, we all know what lip service is. If it doesn’t fool us, chances are rather slim that it fools God.

And no, even sincere followers of Jesus still aren’t perfect, we still slip at times, our imperfections can still show themselves within us (Hebrews 12:1), because while we are sanctified in Jesus now, we are still being make holy. But when we confess our sins, and turn from our sinful ways, God is faithful and righteous to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Graduation day is when we leave this world and see Jesus face to face and we are changed into His likeness.

I know there are some who will disagree with God’s objective truths. To those who do, I would ask one thing. Truly earnestly study Jesus, all that He said and all that He did. Jesus could not possibly be any one else but the Son of God. This is not fiction, this is history.

Proverbs 14:12 NASB reads as follows:
“There is a way which seems right to a person,
But its end is the way of death.”

That would be when mankind’s subjective truth disagrees with God’s objective truth. Please don’t make that mistake!

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!







8 comments

  1. It seems Satan is smart to undermine objective truth as to undermine the idea of objective real guilt and objective real grace

    Like

  2. Excellent Post, Bruce! Much needed, these days. “Back in the day” the whole concept of objective truth was foundational to a Western world view and woven into the fabric of school curriculum. I still have a hard time believing that there is a whole generation who, for the most part, don’t believe in the concept of absolute, objective truth. It truly boggles my mind, because it seems like even a minor amount of reflection would expose the fallacy. Orwell was a secular prophet of the times. Of course, it’s nothing that Scripture doesn’t also openly acknowledge. The sinful human heart works tirelessly to suppress any objective truth that runs counter to its desires. Sorry for the ramble. Great, thought-provoking post as always.

    Like

Comments are closed.