Archives For righteousness

Jesus died for our sins.

Yes. Absolutely yes.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3

This is the Sunday morning message, the message every sinner needs to hear. That the penalty of their sin was paid for by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That he who knew no sin became sin on our behalf. This truth has set me free from the penalty and p0wer of sin and reconciled me to my God.

But is this the only reason?

Jesus prayed in John 16, “I glorified you (the Father) on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

Everything Jesus does, is in accordance with the will of the Father. The Son is the Word, that spoke all things into being. He is also Emmanuel, God with us. God Himself condescended to this planet, was born in the flesh, and lived among his creation. This was the Father’s plan all along. From Abraham, to Moses, to David, and the prophets, God was orchestrating events to lead up to the first advent of his Son.

Why? Because man was sinful, separated from him, and the only way reconciliation was possible was if God himself took matters into his own hands, and won the victory for them.

And yet, while Jesus hung lifeless on the cross, another victory was accomplished.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:23-26

The first part of this passage declares what I’ve already explained. All people are sinners because they are descended from the first man, Adam, and his sin is transferred to every person born. Jesus died to justify (declare sinners righteous), and this salvation is a gift that is received by faith. Jesus removed God’s wrath from us and gave us grace.

But this passage also describes Jesus as being put forward (displayed publicly) for all to see. His death was to be public because one other declaration had to be made known. That God is just and holy.

In God’s divine forbearance (patience), he allowed mankind to live despite their sin. The wages of sin is death, so any life after sin is a gift of grace from God. He had set up a sacrificial system called the Law of Moses which covered sin, but as we know, never was able to forgive them.

If Jesus had never died on the cross for our sins, we would still be in them, and God would be unjust and unholy. His justice demands punishment for sin, unrighteousness, and godlessness. But throughout the Old Testament, God simply passed over sin, never punishing it as it deserved.

The Jews in Ezra’s time realized this as they mourned over their disobedience to God’s Word.

And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved-”
 Ezra 9:13

The wrath of God continued to increase throughout the generations of men who lived in sin and rebellion. But on the cross, the entire cup of wrath was poured out on the Father’s beloved Son. His justice was served in it’s entirety upon the one righteous man that ever walked the earth.

And for all to see, God was seen as he truly is: holy, just, and righteous. We can worship him for God is never changing. And although for years, he looked unfaithful to his promises and justice, his plan was sure. That justice would be served, but not in the way anybody would have expected.

Now we can be declared righteous simply by placing our faith in the person and work of Jesus with full assurance that our God is righteous and faithful.

So, may we be careful in singing lyrics such as, “He took the fall, and thought of me, above all.”

I will argue that Jesus died for his Father’s glory and honor above all.

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Opponents pack council meeting to decry nude Missoula bike ride.

This headline sparked massive interest in my local newspaper. Many comments degraded those who rallied against this citywide event. They mocked those trying to protect their children by saying, “Why protect them? They’re gonna see it sometime anyway. Plus, we were all born this way!”

The “highly anticipated” movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, based off the best-selling novel, is causing a stir. Described as erotic and “porn for moms”, it climbed to the top because of its graphic sexual descriptions.

One of the #1 shows on Netflix, Orange is the New Black, follows a women’s prison inmate and her relationships with a boyfriend, girlfriend, and fellow inmates. Graphic nudity showers this tale with deep roots in lesbianism.

I could go on and on how our culture is immunizing itself against purity through music, literature, television, and more. But the question is, Is it really  harmful? As Christians, can we dabble in these activities and still be OK?

Simply, the answer is “No.” In long, here’s why:

1. We have been made pure by the blood of Christ

God has made it abundantly clear.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV

God, in His endless love for mankind, couldn’t leave us in the mess we created. Sin separated us from our Creator and the only way to restore the relationship was by a perfect, eternal sacrifice. So He stepped down into His creation and offered Himself as the redemptive payment we desperately needed. If one believes in Christ, His sacrifice and resurrection, he his made a new creation. No longer is he dead in sin and impure in God’s eyes, but Christ’s righteousness and purity is imputed onto him.

So if we are forgiven and pure in God’s eyes, why can’t we just sin and rely on grace? The apostle Paul was asked the same thing.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 6:1-2 ESV

Our salvation through Christ ALWAYS leads to righteousness. To sin as a new created being is going against the very nature God made us to be. Holiness is eternal as a momentary titillation is temporary and costly.

2. Impurity offends God

When my children deliberately disobey me, it not only angers me, but hurts deeply. These children that I’ve loved and sacrificed for go against my rules because they think they know what is better for themselves.

How much more is God pained when we knowingly sample the world’s treasures at the expense of his glory? Jesus, being obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, tasted the wrath of the Father so we would no longer be under His righteous judgement.

And yet, even though our spirit is alive through the Holy Spirit, our flesh still longs for the carnal ways of our former lives. And when we give in to those temptations, the Spirit is grieved, Jesus is mocked, and our relationship with the Father is severed until we confess our sins.

3. Purity is our testimony

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and PURITY.”
1 Timothy 4:12

Even in the church, purity often sets us apart from the masses. When a believer takes a stand against the sexual perversions of the world, unfortunately they are often looked upon as legalistic or radical among the congregation. But its only because Godly living leaves sinners feeling guilty. Our purity can drive others to be passionate for Christ and commit to holy living as well.

But even bigger still is our testimony to the unbelieving world. Thought of as prude and religious, pure Christians leave their mark on society. People take notice and watch as their walk lines up with their talk. But to participate in impure activities, kills the message of the gospel as people see that Christians are no different and obviously don’t believe what they claim.

4. The pure receive blessings from the Lord

 “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully, he shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
Psalm 24:4-5

The Bible often promises blessings for those who are holy, for those who are set apart from the world unto holiness. Eternal joy and peace overflow, an active and powerful prayer life accompanies, and great is their reward.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Matthew 5:8

5. Impurity will hurt you

Paul states in 1 Corinthians, that unlike all other sins, sexual sins are a sin against our own bodies. If you are unaware of the physical consequences of sexual immorality, please research it.

I will only concentrate on the mind and heart.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23 NIV

We may scoff at the idea that watching perverse television or reading sexually explicit content will hurt us at all. For nobody else is affected, and many times, nobody else even knows. But those images and creations that you’ve formed in your heart and mind will resurface. They will affect your thoughts toward sex and the opposite gender. Often times, these activities become habitual, becoming idols that replace God. They haunt us when we strive for holy living later in life.

Purity is not a command from God to keep us from having fun. It is who we are in Christ and should strive to be more everyday. It is a blessing to be pure. Without the redeeming work of Jesus, we would never have the opportunity or ability to be holy. It is a privilege and a treasure we need to protect.

This is the day we as Christians need to stand up together. Keep each other accountable and make a decision to live holy as God is holy. Pray that God will convict your heart and give you a passion to live righteously in this ungodly age. Be pure, church, just as Christ has already made you pure.