A weekly Bible Lesson
Hope and Life Fellowship of Rockbridge
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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The Effect Of Righteousness
-- New Revised Standard
Isaiah 32:17 The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
The New King James says it like this.
Isaiah 32:17 The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
I have a question to ask, have you ever considered that righteousness has an effect?
The prophet Isaiah said it is quietness and trust or assurance forever.
This is something to strive for. However we must understand what righteousness is and how we can receive this effect. Many would say it is the result of holy living. In other words, if you live a holy life then you are righteous. I believe this is not accurate, it is the other way around. If you are righteous, it will effect you, and that effect will be to walk in holiness. God's Word tells us in 1Pt:1:16: Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
We certainly can not be holy on our own. We know our own righteousness is as filthy rags. So how do we achieve this?
I would like to start out by looking at what righteousness is. One of the definitions given by W.E. Vines Greek dictionary of righteousness is… "the character or quality of being right or just"; it was formerly spelled "rightwiseness," which clearly expresses the meaning. It is used to denote an attribute of God, and that of a gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God. This righteousness is unattainable by obedience to any law, or by any merit of man's own, or any other condition than that of faith in Christ... The man who trusts in Christ becomes 'the righteousness of God in Him,' 2 Cor. 5:21, i.e., becomes in Christ all that God requires a man to be, all that he could never be in himself.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
If we could have obtained this righteousness by living a holy lifestyle then Jesus would not have had to come. As we just read "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We could not have become the righteousness of God in Him until Jesus became sin. This had to happen because we could not have obtained it any other way.
Romans 4:3 declares… For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.''
Abraham lived 430 years before the law. We know that even if he had the law he could not have kept it. The Apostle Paul said that the law only brings the knowledge of sin. It was never meant to make us holy. It was placed there to show us a better way. Simply, God accounted righteousness to Abraham just because he believed Him. What an incredible thing, just believe God and He will count it to you as righteousness. Righteousness only comes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You might say well Abraham didn’t have faith in Jesus, as Jesus was not yet born. Abraham might not have known His name, but he looked ahead and saw Him coming. Jesus himself said this in John 8:56… "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.''
The difference between us and Abraham is that Abraham had to look ahead to the coming Messiah, and we know He has come. The similarity between us and Abraham is that our righteousness only comes through faith in Him. This is truly the simplicity of the Gospel.
The Apostle Paul spent much time trying to explain this to many of the early Christians. They didn't want to believe that they could just receive righteousness by faith. The church at Galatia started out in faith and then began to slide into legalistic bondage by trying to keep the law. the Apostle Paul rebuked them harshly for this.
Galatians 3:2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3. Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
It is not so different in many of today's churches. We are taught we must do this and do that. We were told we had to do these different things to be sanctified. We were taught we had to wear our hair a certain way and wear certain types of clothing. Women would not be allowed to wear make up or jewelry and so on. I am not here to discuss the rightness or wrongness of these things, but to say that if righteousness comes by these things then Jesus died in vain. I realize that this is a strong statement, but it is a direct reflection of what God's Word has to say.
Galatians 2:21 "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.''
God sees and knows our heart. He looks at the inward man of the heart not at our outer man. It is man that looks at outward appearances and judges.
Galatians 3:5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6. just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.''
I truly believe that when we get the inside cleaned up, the other things will follow. If we try to clean the outside up without a change on the inside we are just back where we started, trying to earn our right standing by works.
Righteousness does have an effect. I believe if we are going to receive this effect we need to become less sin conscious and more righteousness conscious. You don’t get this way by constantly thinking about what a worthless sinner you are. You get this way by learning who you are in Christ Jesus. Knowing the truth about who you are in Christ Jesus will make you free. Our minds have to be renewed with the Word of God.
Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.
This is a message of freedom and liberty, not a message of bondage.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
This expression Paul was using was a military term meaning to hold your ground. We as Christians are being told to hold our ground in the freedom and liberty which has been given to us in Christ Jesus, and not to be entangled again in the bondage of the law.
This liberty comes by faith, it is a free gift.
Faith is a multiple blessing, we believe the Word of God and we freely receive God's promises. Then on top of that, we are called righteous because of our faith. God has already provided all that we need. Our responsibility is to believe Him, and receive His promises by faith. So we receive both the promise and the reward of righteousness.
This is an awesome thing to behold. Many people will just not receive this kind of freedom. Many pastors and teachers will not trust others with this freedom simply because they have never experienced this freedom for themselves. Once you experience this true freedom in Christ, you can then begin to help liberate others. I am not saying these things to condemn any one, but to point out a better way.
God gives us grace to walk this way. Many people are saying that if you teach this you are just giving people a license to sin. I would say to those that grace is not at all a license to sin, but an enabling to fulfill God's plan. Without this enabling you will never do it on your own. This is the essence of the Gospel and must be proclaimed. When people hear and receive this, it will make them free. Let's do our part and let's let God be responsible for fulfilling His Word, for He most certainly will!
The effects of this righteousness will be quietness and assurance forever. I am so grateful for God's righteousness. I know I didn’t earn it, but thank God I didn’t have to.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.