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Archive for the ‘Righteousness’ Category

The famous Abraham Lincoln had a favorite joke: “If we consider the tail of a lamb as a leg, how many legs would a lamb have?” — His answer: “Four, considering it one doesn’t make it one!”

Except….whatever God considers is just that!

God considered something for Abraham:

Abraham “believed the Lord, and God counted it to him as righteousness”. — Genesis 15:5-6

God considered Abraham righteous though Abraham had done and continued doing some pretty stinky things! God considering him righteousness was all that was required!

King David, too! He wrote:

“Blessed is he whose sin is covered unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity.” — Psalm 32:1-3a

The word imputeth means to consider. He wrote about those to whom the judge of the universe looks at and says, “Not Guilty!” That is a blessing!! Where do you get that?!

The Bible says

“It was not written for [Abraham’s] sake alone … but for our sake also, unto whom it shall be reckoned (considered), who believe on him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification. — Romans 4:23-25

Joining our lives to Christ enters us in that consideration.

So, If We consider five (5) unrighteousness men in a room as righteous, how many righteous men are in the room? — Five, if they have given their lives to Christ, God considers it so!

— fritz

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The Old Testament had strict dietary laws generally based on inherent animal characterises — fish with fins and scales, “clean”, fins without scales, “unclean”. Animals chewing the “cud” and parting the hoof were ok to eat but those having one without the other, no good!

It all seems so arbitrary and many have tried to explain it by saying there are, perhaps, special heath benefits. But the Bible indicates why — and it had nothing to do with health.

“And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nations which I cast out before you … I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from other people … Ye shall therefore put a difference between clean beasts and unclean” — Leviticus 20:23-25

The “therefore” of this verse specifically links dietary law to the kinds of people God was replacing.

Old Testament dietary law was an object lesson teaching there were “clean” and “unclean” people based on their inherent actions.

In the New Testament God, again, links dietary laws with people groups, but with a twist — something happened with the advent of Christ!

Follow a telling story from the biblical book of Acts:

The apostle, Peter, has a vision of unclean animals on a sheet and is commanded to eat. He refuses, as any good Jew would, because they were “unclean”. Then the vision’s voice says,

“What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” — Acts 10:15

Just then three (3) gentiles show up at the door wanting to hear about Jesus, and a light goes on in Peter’s head!

I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” — Acts 10:34-35

Before Christ, people rarely changed — they were forever as they were born. Not so in Christ! Jesus is in the life changing business! The symbolical dietary law has been superseded by Christ who changes the human heart making the unclean forgiven and holy! As the Apostle Paul wrote to those who come to Christ from the world,

“[S]uch were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” — 1st Corinthians 6:11

— fritz@langgang.com

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“The LORD is my shepherd…He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” – Psalm 23:1a, 3

It’s after his restoration of our soul that we can be lead in paths of righteousness.

That restoration makes us want to do the right thing, only then can enables us follow, not as a precondition but as the result. This is his work, and he gets the glory for it.

Charles Wesley, Anglican Priest and brother to John Wesley who founded the Methodist Church, wrote in his hymn “O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing”

He breaks the power of cancelled sin
He sets the prisoner free
His blood can make the foulest clean
His blood availed for me

– fritz

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[T]ake … the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, … having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” – Ephesians 6:13-14a

The Bible lists eight essentials for withstanding evil days, warning us to take time now to prepare.

It takes boldness and confidence to withstand any adversity; any display of weakness or fear is an invitation for disaster. Spiritual adversity requires the boldness of being right with God – the Bible says “the righteous are bold as a lion.”1

We can’t be bold by our own rightness for our best efforts are woefully inadequate but, thankfully, Jesus did the heavy lifting. He lived a righteous, sinless, life and offers himself to be our covering.

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” – Galatians 3:37

It is the breastplate, strong, fit, and unwavering, that the enemy sees not how well or inadequately we are behind it.

– fritz

1 – Proverbs 28:1b

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Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; – Deuteronomy 7:9

Some are up for the challenge – Keep the commandments, love God, and get God’s blessing; and how some really try!

But law condemns for incomplete adherence. Have you ever wanted what someone else had? You haven’t kept the 10Th commandment, you failed the challenge! Have you ever worked on Saturday? You haven’t kept the 4Th commandment, you failed the challenge! Actually, are there any of God’s commands you have done from your heart without some failure? Me neither!

There’s no balance scale to see if more good is done than bad – laws, even our own, don’t work that way. Example: Stop at five (5) traffic lights but run one (1); can you still get a ticket?

James puts it this way:

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” – James 2:10-11

We can’t even keep his commandments one generation, much less to a thousand!

So we have blown that deal! Our only hope is to find an alternative; fortunately there is one!1

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. – 1st Timothy 1:15

– fritz

1 – Post from 09/23/2010 Alternate Righteousness

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>Alternate Righteousness

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Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. – Psalm 32:1-2

For those who can’t measure up in their own righteousness there is an alternative.

“Imputeth” literally means to “weave”, to “fabricate”, to regard as so – like when a large debt is owed but the owner decides to forgive the debt and regard it as paid; or like when a child draws a picture of “Mommy” and she considers it the prettiest picture in the world!

Abraham, described in the Bible as the father of all the faithful,1 was actually a disobedient liar and a deadbeat dad but he found an alternative, imputed, righteousness.

God had told him, who had no legitimate children, his descendants would be as numerous as the stars2 and that one of them would be the Messiah3 who would pay for his sins. Abraham believed God’s word and God call him righteous. When Abraham asked God to prove it God took an oath. That was good enough for Abraham and good enough for God.

If Abraham found it so can we!

Those of us who just can’t measure up can choose God’s alternative. We can choose to believe God’s word in spite of what we are told by others or what we have always thought. We can believe Jesus paid for our sins with his sacrifice. We can become an actual part of Christ’s body, like my finger is part of mine, and legitimately claim that promised lineage of God’s blessing.

“Those words (“God accepted Abraham’s faith”) were written not only for Abraham but also for us. God will accept us also because we believe in the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Jesus was given to die for our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God.” – Romans 4:23-25

What a wonderful opportunity!

– fritz


1 – Romans 4:11
2 – Genesis 15:5-6 and Romans
3 – John 8:56

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“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee?”– Matthew 25:37-39

The “righteous” in Jesus’ parable were clueless, in a good way.

They didn’t think their actions were particularly noteworthy or good, they weren’t keeping score of deeds done and to whom, they weren’t even self aware; they were simply acting from a heart of Love, being who they were made to be.

The Apostle Paul put it this way,

“yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; … he that judgeth me is the Lord.” – 1st Corinthians 4:3b, 4a, 4c

It is time to put down the score card and just live for Christ.

– fritz

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