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We Have A Righteous God

Inspirational Words from Evangelist Margarette Jackson " We Have A Righteous God [Yah]. Evangelist Jackson appears courtesy of Prince of Peace Ministry in Sacramento Ca.

Bishop Bob of Buttafleye Ministry discusses "plank in the Eye" and Youth In Ministry "Know who you are".

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We Have A Righteous God [Yah].


1.  God’s righteousness gives us his peace Psalm 85:8-13‘I grew up in an atmosphere of strife’, writes Joyce Meyer, ‘and that was all I ever knew.  I had to learn an entirely new way of living.  Now I am addicted to peace.  As soon as my peace disappears, I ask myself how I lost it and start looking for ways to get it back’

God has promised ‘peace’ (v.8) to his people.  This does not necessarily mean outward peace.  The pressures, difficulties, trials, battles and busyness may not disappear.  But in all this, God has promised to give us his peace.  This peace comes from listening to what ‘God the Lord’ says (v.8).  It is very closely connected with righteousness.  The psalmist says, ‘righteousness and peace kiss each other’ (v.10b).  In the same way that love and faithfulness go together (v.10a), so do righteousness and peace.  Peace comes from living in a right relationship with God (Romans 5:1). 

God, thank you for your righteousness.  Thank you that you make it possible for us to walk in a right relationship with you.  Help me today and always to keep walking in a right relationship with you and to enjoy the peace that follows from that relationship.


2.  God’s righteousness is a gift we receive Romans 3:9-31We long for peace.  We long to be in a right relationship with God and with other people.  But how do we receive this ‘righteousness from God’? Paul continues his argument that no one is righteous on their own.  ‘There's nobody living right, not even one’ (v.10b, MSG).  ‘They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys’ (v.12).  Righteousness is the way to peace, but the reality is that ‘the way of peace they do not know’ (v.17).

Paul concludes his argument in this section: ‘And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else?’ (v.20).  The two little words that follow are of huge significance: ‘But now…’ (v.21). 

Having set out the problem, Paul now moves on to describe God’s amazing solution – ‘a righteousness from God’ (v.21).  This righteousness from God cannot be achieved through the law because no one (apart from Jesus) has ever kept the entire law.  The Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets) testifies about this and points towards God’s solution (v.21). 

‘This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe’ (v.22).  This righteousness from God cannot be earned.  It is a pure gift that we receive ‘through faith in Jesus Christ’.  It is a gift ‘to all who believe’ (v.23).  Paul then uses three images to describe what Jesus’ death on the cross has achieved.  Each is like a facet of a diamond.  Each image is intertwined with the others:

  • The law court: the penalty of sin has been paid

We ‘are justified freely by his grace’ (v.24).  Justification is an expression from the law court.  God is a just judge.  He could not ignore our guilt.  He came in the person of his son Jesus Christ to die for us: ‘He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus’ (vv.25–26).  He paid the penalty himself. We are justified ‘freely by his grace’ (v.24).  Grace means undeserved love.  It is free.  There is no merit on our part.  We cannot earn it.  It is a gift.  Therefore, there is no room for boasting (vv.27–31). Through his death on the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for our every wrong action, word and thought.  The moment we put our faith in Jesus, we are justified.  We have nothing to fear.  The penalty has been paid.  We have received the gift of righteousness from God.

  • The market place: the power of sin has been broken

The second image Paul uses comes from the marketplace: ‘through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus’ (v.24).  Debt is not a problem confined to the present day; it was a problem in the ancient world as well.  If someone had serious debts, they might be forced to sell themselves into slavery in order to pay them off.

Suppose a person was standing in the marketplace, offering themselves as a slave.  Someone might have pity on them and ask, ‘How much do you owe?’  The debtor might say, ‘£10,000.’  Suppose the customer offers to pay the £10,000 and then lets the person they’ve paid for go free.  In doing so, they would be ‘redeeming’ them and paying a ‘ransom’ price.

In a similar way for us, ‘redemption … came by Jesus Christ’ (v.24).  Jesus, by his death on the cross, paid the ransom price (Mark 10:45).  In this way we are set free to have a relationship with God.  Our relationship is restored.  We receive a righteousness from God. 

  • The temple: the pollution of sin has been removed

Paul’s third image in this passage comes from the temple.  ‘God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood’ (v.25). 

In the Old Testament very detailed laws were laid down regarding how sin should be dealt with.  There was a whole sacrificial system which demonstrated the seriousness of sin and the need for cleansing from it, as sin was passed from the sinner to the animal, which was then killed. 

The writer of Hebrews points out that ‘it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins’ (Hebrews 10:4).  The sacrificial system in the Old Testament was only a ‘shadow’ (Hebrews 10:1) of what was to come.  The reality came with the sacrifice of Jesus.  Only the blood of Christ, the ‘once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10) sacrifice of atonement, can take away our sin and remove its pollution.  This is because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.  He alone lived a perfect life.  Through his blood we receive a righteousness from God.

Lord, how can we ever thank you enough for the gift of ‘the righteousness from God’ by faith in Jesus.  Thank you that we can walk in this right relationship with you as a result.  Thank you that it is a free gift, that we do not (and could not ever) earn.  Thank you that we receive it by faith.  Thank you that it transforms our relationship with you and that you see us as righteous in your sight.  Thank you that you forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Thank you for your love and mercy revealed to us in Jesus.


3.  God’s righteousness challenges us to right living

Amos 3:1-4:13 As Amos turned to speak the word of the Lord against Israel, the Lord said, ‘Out of all the families on earth, I picked you.  Therefore, because of your special calling, I’m holding you responsible for all your sins’.

James L. Mays writes in his commentary on this verse that Israel is the people in whose history God’s desire ‘for righteousness becomes visible in that all their sins are punished.’ The people are condemned in what is almost a law court.  ‘ “Hear this and testify against the house of Jacob,” declares the Lord, the Lord God Almighty’ (v.13)

It is as if God calls witnesses to testify against his own people.  ‘Listen to this, you cows of Bashan grazing on the slopes of Samaria.  You women!  Mean to the poor, cruel to the down-and-out!  Indolent and pampered, you demand of your husbands, “Bring us a tall, cool drink!” ’ (4:1, MSG).  The only thing these women lived for were bigger and better parties.  They are condemned for their superficiality, self-centred indulgence and their treatment of the poor and needy.

Over and over again God speaks to his people in an attempt to draw them back to him: ‘The fact is, God, the Master, does nothing without first telling his prophets the whole story’ (3:7, MSG).  ‘Yet’, he declares, ‘you have not returned to me’ (4:6,8–11). When we understand this Old Testament background, it makes it all the more staggering that the apostle Paul writes, ‘This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe’ (Romans 3:22).  Jesus has paid the penalty for us. Lord, thank you that your desire is always that we return to you and walk in a right relationship with you.  Thank you that you have now made that possible through Jesus – through ‘a righteousness from God, apart from law [which] has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify’ (Romans 3:21).


 

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