By Pastor J.D. Link
Phil 3:8c-9 says “that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” The Apostle Paul here contrasts two kinds of righteousness. There is a righteousness that comes from self effort, which is based on a person keeping the Law of God. This is also known as works (or self) righteousness. And there is a righteousness which comes from God Himself, through trust and belief in Jesus Christ. This is known as faith righteousness.
What is righteousness? Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says: “In a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting.” So, righteousness is a state of being; the state of being as one ought to be; the condition of being acceptable to God and approved by God. Or, simply put, right standing with God. This state of being righteous then results in righteousness – right thinking, feeling, acting, etc.
Of these two types of righteousness, one is acceptable to God, and one is not (Gal 3:11).
One will give you eternity in Heaven, and one will not (Gal 2:16). One is the administration of death, and one is the giver of life (2Cor 3:6-9). One is a curse, and one is a blessing (Gal 3:10, 13-14). Matthew Henry said since we are “transgressors of the law, we are under the curse of it, (and) it must be a vain thing to look for justification by it.” Righteousness comes only by faith upon Christ. If we seek righteousness through keeping the Law, only a curse can be upon us, for if we offend in on aspect, we are guilty of breaking all of it (Jam 2:10).
Not understanding the difference between these two types of righteousness is a major problem in The Church. It steals our victory; robs our joy; crushes our confidence. It takes away our hope and peace; it causes us to be weak and beggarly; timid, guilt-ridden, self centered, and defeated Christians. We need to understand what Jesus did for us. We need to walk in the victory that He has provided. As Christians, we are the righteousness of God, in Christ (2Cor 5:21). We are, in spirit, as we ought to be. We are accepted by and approved of God.
In Christ, we are a new creation. Old things have passed away; all things have become new. All things are now of God (2Cor 5:17-18). Through faith in Jesus, we are recreated. We come into a new existence. We are not merely made better, but we are made new. We are now the children of God. We are heirs of Almighty God, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom 8:16-17). Heirs receive the inheritance. As co-heirs, we receive all God has and is, and share in all things with Jesus.
Many Christians still live under a Law mentality. They still relate to God based on their performance. In their mind, their acceptability with God varies from day to day, based on how well, or how badly, they have performed that day. They have no real victory. Of course, one who lives under the law never has any victory. Do you know why? Because you can’t keep it! Therefore, because you try to be right with God by keeping the law, you are constantly under condemnation (2Cor 3:9), and you constantly see yourself as a disappointment to God.
Some of you might be saying, “That Law of God is killing me!”. Well, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do. The letter kills (2Cor 3:6). The law will slay you (Rom 7:9-11). It will kill your pride; it will kill your self righteousness; and it will kill the thought of you ever being right with God by your works. Just when you think you’re alright, the Law will pop up and say “Oops, you missed it right here!”. The Law is very unforgiving, being “engraved in stone”. It never hesitates to show you every single failure in your life. Yet, it does nothing to help you. Why? Because only the knowledge of sin comes from the law, but not the cure (Rom 3:20). It diagnosis our problem, but cannot remedy it.
The Law is perfect, pure, just, and holy. Man, however, is not. And herein lies the problem. God’s Law demands perfection, and we’re not perfect. So God, in His love and mercy, does something wonderful for us. He sends His Son, Jesus Christ, to keep the Law for us; since we can’t do it on our own. Then Jesus pays the penalty for mankind, who can’t keep the Law; and dies in our place. Death is the penalty for breaking the Law of God, and no matter how good you think you are, if you’ve broken one, single commandment; you are guilty.
Here is the Gospel: After Jesus dies, He rises from the dead three days later, just like He said He would. Now, if we will take Jesus Christ as our Lord, and trust in His sacrificial death to be right with God, receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life – then God will freely give us His very own righteousness (Rom 3:21-28). Do you believe that? God Almighty will give you, as a free gift, His own righteousness (Rom 5:17). All you have to do is put all your faith, trust and confidence upon Jesus Christ. This is called faith righteousness, and this is The Gospel.
Righteousness Part 2
By Pastor J.D. Link
Philippians 3:8c-9 says “that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Last week we began to look at the subject of righteousness. We saw that there are two different kinds of righteousness: works righteousness and faith righteousness. One focuses on what you do for God, the other on what God did for you. Paul didn’t want to be found having his own righteousness. I assure you, Paul lived a holier life than you or I have. Yet, he didn’t want to be found in his own righteousness. Why? Because he knew it wasn’t good enough. At the end of the day, he still fell short of perfection. No, he wanted to have God’s righteousness, which comes by faith, and is perfect.
If a Christian tries to relate to God by keeping the Mosaic Law, they place themselves under a curse (Gal 3:10-12). The law itself wasn’t a curse, but there was a curse associated with being under it if you broke it (Dt 27:26). Like a glass window, whether cracked or completely shattered, it’s still broke. Like a chain, if even one link is broken, it is unusable. So the law is a unit, and if any part is broken, it’s totally broken (Jam 2:10). You either have to keep all of it, or you have to put faith in The One who kept all of it (Jesus). Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law. He was made a curse for us. For us He suffered the curse, the penalty, for not keeping the law; so that we wouldn’t have to. Jesus came to give us abundant life (Jn 10:10).
Who did Christ die for? The ungodly (Rom 5:6). How many are ungodly? All are (2Cor 5:14, Rom 3:10). Why did He hang on that tree (the cross) and die? For our sin (1Cor 15:3); That he might be our Lord (Rom 14:9); That we who believe on Him should live for Him, and not for ourselves (2Cor 5:15). Also, that the blessing of Abraham (righteousness by faith) could come on all of us through faith in Him (Gal 3:14). Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness (Rom 4:3).
So what purpose does the law serve? It keeps people in line, until faith in Christ comes (Gal 3:19). It does not prevent all sin, and does not cure the heart; but it does have some restraining affect. The purpose of the law is to bring us to Jesus Christ. But once faith has come, we are no longer under the law (Gal 3:24-25). Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to those that believe (Rom 10:4).
Keeping the law is not to be a means of justification with God. Indeed, it cannot be. It is done away with (2Cor 3:11), because it is not of faith (Gal 3:12). Faith delivers us from it (Rom 7:1-6). The law works wrath (Rom 4:15), because it actually strengthens sin (1Cor 15:56). This is why the law kills (2Cor 3:6); it administers death (2Cor 3:7) and condemnation (2Cor 3:9).
Lest there be any confusion, know that the moral precepts of the law are holy, just and good (Rom 7:12). The problem lies not in the law, but in our inability to keep it (Rom 7:14). Paul was not “bad-mouthing” the law. He was revealing the utter futility of being justified by it. The only perfect law keeper was the law maker – Jesus Christ. Through faith upon Jesus Christ, the Father imputes His righteousness to us, so that we are counted as law keepers, though we fall short of it. This is called faith righteousness, the glorious truth of the Gospel.
The law is not made for a righteous man, but there is still a lawful use for it (1Tim 1:8-10). It reveals to the self righteous rebel that he is indeed a sinner. No person, when confronted with God’s law, can say they have kept every precept perfectly (except a liar, of course). The law is useful in destroying the delusion of the self righteous that he is “basically good”. Have you ever once stolen anything? Lied? Been jealous? Used God’s name in vain? Committed sexual sin – or even entertained it in your heart? These are just a few.
We are all guilty, and one day we will stand before the just and holy Judge of all the earth. What are you going to say? Will your “basic goodness” suffice as a defense? I tell you, your own righteousness is filthy rags (Isa 64:6). Don’t be a fool! You will be cast into the Lake of Fire to burn unconsumed forever! You need an Advocate! You need a Savior! You need redemption, forgiveness of sins and eternal life! You need Jesus!
If you do not receive the righteousness of God which is through faith in Christ alone, you will die in your unrighteousness. Then where will your worthless philosophy and opinions be? They will be tormenting your mind in Hell for eternity. If your soul is convicted, and you know what I have said is true, then you had best not fool around with your eternity. Go find a quiet place, fall on your knees, and cry out to Jesus for salvation and forgiveness of sins. He could return this very day. Are you ready? Selah.
By Pastor J.D. Link
Philippians 3:8c-9 says “that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” This is our third week in this series on righteousness. If you have not read the first two, I encourage you to read them in the archives. Today we will begin a trek through Hebrews chapters seven through ten to help us fully understand righteousness by understanding what Jesus is; what He did; and the differences in – and reasons for – the two covenants.
The book of Hebrews was written to 1.) encourage Jewish believers in Christ to not turn back to Judaism 2.) prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament types and shadows 3.) and to stress faith is the means of salvation.
In chapter seven, Paul brings up the mysterious King-Priest Melchizedek, written about in Genesis 14 and Ps 110. He shows Melchizedek was a type of the eternal King-Priest, Jesus Christ. He was greater than Abraham, because Abraham paid him tithes, and Melchizedek blessed him. Levi (representing the priesthood) paid tithes to him through Abraham – making this Priest greater than the Levites (who received tithes). If the priesthood would change – and Ps 110:4 shows that it would – then by necessity the Law must change (Heb 7:12). Why? Because under the Law only Levites could be priests, and Kings were of Judah. Yet, this new priesthood would be after the order of Melchizedek. So if the priesthood has changed, the Law also has changed. It could not remain.
The OT Law was disannulled, because it was weak and unprofitable, and made nothing perfect (Heb 7:18-19). By it, you could not draw near to God. Only one man, once a year, in fear and trembling, could enter into the Most Holy Place. The rest of the people could not approach unto God. By Jesus, we can draw near to God in confidence (Heb 4:16). His priesthood is eternal, and saves to the uttermost (completely) all those who come to God by Him (Heb 7:25). He forever lives to make intercession for us. He doesn’t die; He doesn’t grow weary; doesn’t take a day off. He is an eternal intercessor, on the job 24/7/365.
Jesus is the perfect High Priest, because unlike the Levites, who were sinners themselves and had to offer sacrifices for their own sins as well; Jesus is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens (Heb 7:26). He needs not to offer any daily sacrifices, because He offered Himself once for the sins of all. You see, Jesus offers perfect salvation, because he is both High priest and Sacrifice. There is no lack nor insufficiency. His saving work is perfect from start to finish (Heb 12:2).
Jesus’ ministry is more excellent than the Law. He is the mediator of a better covenant established on better promises (Heb 8:6). The entire Mosaic Law system were but types and shadows of Jesus. Jesus is the “Real Thing”. Why stare at the picture of your wife, when she is in the room with you? The OT Law was the picture.
If the Old Covenant had been sufficient, a New Covenant would not have needed to be established (Heb 8:7). This is why in Jeremiah 31:31-34, God promised to make a new, different and better covenant. Not that the Law was bad in and of itself, but God found fault with the people (Heb 8:8). They were unable to keep it, and were therefore covenant breakers.
In the OT, people had to be taught, “Know the Lord”. It didn’t produce righteousness or a new creation. It was all rules and laws and ceremonies and sacrifices. There was no heart change or new birth. Even those who wanted to obey, fell very short of the standard. However, in the New Covenant, the believer is truly free; truly righteous; totally recreated and joined in union with the Spirit of the Lord (1Cor 6:17).
In the New Covenant, through the new birth (Jn 3:3), God now puts His laws into our minds, and writes them on our hearts, and all of His children will know Him (Heb 8:10-11). Through the High Priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus, He able to be merciful to our unrighteousness, and will remember our sins no longer (Heb 8:12). What a glorious truth! Through faith in Christ, The Father not only forgives, but also forgets all of our sins!
Heb 8:13 “In that He says, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.” We are under a new covenant; a new High Priest; a new Sacrifice. The Old covenant was finished at the cross of Calvary in 30 AD (Jn 19:30). Forty years later, shortly after this Epistle was written, it officially “vanished away” with the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD as Jesus prophesied (Lk 21:6). Believe on Jesus. He is the end of the law for righteousness for those that will (Rom 10:4). Selah.
By Pastor J.D. Link
Philippians 3:8c-9 says “that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” The only acceptable righteousness (being as one ought to be in God’s presence) comes through faith in Jesus Christ. By the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified (Rom 3:20), for all of our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa 64:6). Let’s continue where we left off last week in Hebrews. Today we will look at chapter nine.
In vs. 1-5, Paul speaks of the first covenant having divine ordinances and an earthly sanctuary. He then lists the different items in the earthly tabernacle. Remember, that these were all types of the true tabernacle in Heaven. Paul was again laying this foundation of the type, so that he could show the antitype (real thing).
In vs. 6-10, he makes the point that the first covenant was insufficient, because the way into the Holy of Holies (the presence of God) was not made known while the first tabernacle was standing. We know this, because only the High priest was allowed to go into it, and only once a year. The people could not approach unto God. This was a picture that the Holy Spirit was giving, that something better was to come. The worship of that covenant just consisted of offerings, sacrifices, washings, meats, drinks and all sorts of outward ordinances – that were imposed on the people until the time of reformation (the New Covenant). Notice, these were only in effect UNTIL the NT. These things could never cleanse the conscience.
In vs. 11-14, we see that Jesus was a High priest of good things to come. Why? Because He didn’t enter into the earthly Holy Place (the mere type), but into the Heavenly. He didn’t offer the blood of bulls and goats, but with His own pure, sinless blood. By this act, He did not provide a temporary covering for sin, but eternal redemption. If under the OT the blood of animals and ashes of a red heifer cleansed the flesh, then much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse our conscience of dead works to serve the living God.
Certainly dead works could be considered sins of the flesh, as in Gal. 5:19-21; but in this context, “dead works” are the works previously mentioned (outward ordinances of the Law). These dead works could not cleanse the conscience, but the blood of Jesus can. When we understand that through the finished work of Jesus, we have eternal and complete forgiveness of sins; this gives us a clear conscience, and enables us to serve God with a pure heart.
In vs. 15-22, we see that Jesus’ sacrifice not only reached forward to forgive the sins of all who would come after Him; but also reached back, to forgive the sins of the OT saints. He also pointed out that a will or testament requires death for it to come into force. In the first covenant, it was the blood of animals. In the new covenant, it was the blood of Christ – the blood of God (Act 20:28). Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. The life of the flesh is in the blood, and sin required a life for a life. Jesus gave His life for our life.
In vs. 23-26, Paul repeats that Jesus entered the heavenly tabernacle to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. In some wonderful, supernatural way, Jesus entered the true Holy of Holies in Heaven and offered His blood. We cannot fathom this glorious work of redemption. If we could only grasp that Jesus’ pure and holy blood is more than sufficient to remove every sin from us as far as East is from West; and that through faith in Him and in it, we stand eternally righteous, holy and complete in God’s awesome presence. It’s almost too good to be true – yet it is true. Oh, the love of God! Who can fathom it?
In vs. 27-28, Paul reminds us that it is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment. Make no mistake: we will all die, and we will all be judged. There are no do-overs. Get right with God now, because you can’t do it later. Once you die, your fate is sealed. You will go to the judgment throne and into eternity with Jesus or without Him. If you go with Him, you’re safe, happy and blessed. If you go without Him, you are cursed and forever damned to destruction and misery. Do not take this lightly. It is serious, serious business. If you get this wrong, it doesn’t matter if you’ve gotten everything else in life right.
If you have surrendered your life to Christ, and He lives in you through faith in His sacrifice; you are looking for Him. The true Christian longs to be with Jesus. They are looking for His coming; It is their blessed hope (Titus 2:13, 1Jn 3:1-3, Rev 22:20). The last verse of Hebrews nine assures the saints that to those who are looking for Him, He will appear a second time. We can be confident of that fact. He has promised us (Jn 14:1-3). Erchomai Kurios Iesous – come Lord Jesus! Selah.
By Pastor J.D. Link
Philippians 3:8c-9 says “that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Where are you found? If you don’t live to see tomorrow, will you be found in Christ and in His righteousness; or would you be found in your own righteousness? Your answer has eternal consequences. If Christ is not your righteousness, please understand you have no righteousness. It is filthy rags (Isa 64:6). Worthless, weak, insufficient, ineffective, void power and unable to save – that is our own righteousness.
Hebrews 10 is one of the most powerful chapters in the Bible. I encourage every Christian to really meditate on every verse. It is truly life-transforming.
(Heb. 10:1-4) The blood of animals could never take away sin. It was never possible. How do we know? For the simple fact they had to be offered repeatedly. If they worked, why repeat it? Instead, they had the opposite effect. They constantly reminded one of their sin. Had they actually removed sin, they should have had no more conscience of sin. The Christian, being cleansed of their sins by the blood of Jesus, should have a righteousness conscience, and not a sin conscience. Instead of always being reminded of our sin, we are always reminded of forgiveness of sins. Instead of being ever conscious of our sinfulness, we should be ever conscious of our righteousness in Christ.
(vs. 5-9) Though God ordained the sacrificial system, He never took pleasure in it. They were all just types and shadows of Jesus. They temporarily covered sins, but never removed them. In contrast, Jesus came to do His Father’s will. It was His sacrifice that the Father took pleasure in (Isa 53:10). The first covenant had to be taken out of the way (completed), for the second to be instituted. They do not mix (Mt 9:16-17).
(vs. 10-13) By God’s will, the Christian is sanctified (set apart as holy unto God) by the offering of Jesus’ body once for all mankind. Jesus will never die again (Rev 1:18). His one-time sacrifice for sins was more than sufficient to cleanse all men of all sins forever. He has sat down at The Father’s right hand, signifying that it is a finished work. We need only access this great salvation through faith. One day, all the enemies of Christ will be trampled under His feet (Rev 19:11-16).
(vs. 14-18) By Jesus offering Himself once, He has forever perfected those who are sanctified (made holy) through faith in Him. He saves to the uttermost. He is not only the author, but also the finisher of our faith (Heb 7:25, 12:2). Upon conversion, our spirits are made righteous, holy and perfect. This is the down payment of our complete redemption, when soul and body are glorified at His coming. Because our spirits are perfected through faith in Christ, God’s laws are now written on our hearts and minds. Our sins are forgotten, being carried away by Jesus. God does not remember them. He not only forgives, but also forgets. No more offering for sin is necessary. Nothing can add to Christ’s finished work.
(vs. 19-21) Through this new covenant, the living way, we can boldly (confidently) enter the Holy of Holies – the very presence of God (Heb 4:16). Not just one man, but all men. Not just in one place, but every place. Not just once a year, but every moment of every day. When Jesus was suspended on the cross between heaven and earth, between God and man; His body was symbolic of the veil that was torn in two from top to bottom (symbolizing that God did the tearing) (Mt 27:51, Jn 3:16). As when Abraham separated the sacrifice, and God passed between making covenant with Him (Gen 15:9-10, 17-18); so Jesus was the sacrifice rent in two, God passing through Him to reconcile Himself to man, and man, through faith, passing through Jesus to be reconciled to God (2Cor 5:18-19).
(vs. 22-23) Through Jesus, we can now draw close to God with a true heart and a clean conscience, because our hearts have been purified; we have been washed by the Word; cleansed by the Blood; sanctified by the Spirit; redeemed; forgiven; made new; made righteous; joined together in union of Spirit with Almighty God (1Cor 6:17). Armed with this glorious truth, and knowing the absolute faithfulness of God; let all of us who name the name of Christ hold firm to our confession of faith and not waver or doubt. We have exceeding great and precious promises (2Pt 1:4)! God is faithful! His work of redemption complete! Believe on Jesus!
By Pastor J.D. Link
Philippians 3:8c-9 says “that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” This week, we will go back over to the book of Romans to finish our current series on righteousness. I pray you have been blessed by it, and have grown in your relationship with Jesus and in your knowledge of His Word.
In Rom 1, the Gentiles are declared guilty sinners before God, because they violate the inward light of conscience, and the outward light of creation. In Rom 2, the Jews are declared guilty before God, because they have the Law of God, but do not keep it. In Rom 3, all are declared guilty. There is none righteous. All have sinned. All need a Savior.
(Romans 3:20-31) No one can be made righteous by the Law, for by it comes only the knowledge of sin, and not the solution. There is a righteousness, called God’s righteousness, that comes through faith in Jesus. This righteousness is apart from the Law, and has nothing to do with it. God justifies those that believe on Jesus and His shed blood, because Jesus is the propitiation (appeasing sacrifice) for sin. Faith excludes boasting. If righteousness came by the Law, God would owe the Law keeper salvation (though there is no such person as a Law keeper, barring Jesus Christ the Righteous). Therefore, salvation is by grace through faith, and no one can boast. God will justify both Jew and Gentile through faith alone. The Law is established through faith in Jesus, because He fulfilled it, and imputes His perfect righteousness to them that believe. Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified (declared righteous) through faith, apart from the deeds of the Law.
In Romans 4, Paul turns his attention to Abraham as an example of righteousness by faith. 500 years before the Law, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness. He was declared righteous before the sign of the covenant, which was circumcision. Therefore, it is evident that circumcision (works of the flesh) did not make one righteous, but only faith. King David even described the blessedness of this imputed (credited) righteousness through faith without works, when he wrote, “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Ps 32:1-2).”
Abraham was called by God “the father of many nations“, not just the Israelites. He is therefore our father in the faith, the father of all those who believe. He was a mighty man of faith, hoping when there was no hope, and not considering the outward appearance, but only God’s Word. God promised him a child, though he was 100 years old, and Sarah 90 – well past childbearing age. However, he did not stagger in his faith. He did not consider the circumstances. He had a promise from God. He shunned unbelief. He held only to God’s Word, because he was fully persuaded that what God had promised, he was able to perform. Because he believed, God counted Him righteous; and He will do the same for us who believe in the promise of forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Are you fully persuaded of God’s promises? Why doubt? God cannot lie. His word is truth. It will not return to Him empty, but accomplish the purpose for which it was sent. Jesus often said in the Gospels, “Why did you doubt? Where is your faith? Did I not say? Only believe.” In other words, Jesus is saying, “If I have told you something, you have no reason to doubt it. Am I a liar? Is My word no good? Can I not be trusted? I am truth. My word is eternal truth. You have no reason to doubt. Only believe my word, and see it come to pass. It cannot fail.” We cannot doubt, and expect to receive (Jam 1:6-8).
How do we receive from God? Know His promises. Believe they are yours. Do not look at outward circumstances. Do not stagger in doubt and unbelief. Refuse to doubt. Walk only by faith, and not by sight. Hope, even when there seems to be no hope. Be fully persuaded that God will do what He promised he would do. Be assured He cannot lie, and that His word is truth. This is what our father Abraham did, and it was counted to Him as righteousness. And you know what? He received the promise. His name was Isaac. Selah.