The most prolific writer of the New Testament was the Apostle Paul as he wrote many letters to the church of his day.
How much he thought of the church that would be around in 2022 I don’t know, but the words he was inspired to write are eternal and they reach out to us right now just as powerfully as they did when he wrote them.
Paul had come a long way, from being one who persecuted the church, to being converted on the road to Damascus and being filled with the Holy Ghost prior to stepping out onto the pages of church history as the Apostle to the Gentiles.
But Paul was a Jew who had been trained in the greatest schools of Israel on the Law of Moses.
At one place he refers to himself as a Pharisee among the Pharisees, meaning that no one could best him at the knowledge of the Law and how to force men to comply to it.
He was a great debater, even at one point taking on the seekers of mysteries among the great thinkers of the Greeks on Mars Hill, where he declared unto them the Lord Jesus Christ as the one, they knew only as “The unknown God”.
One thing Paul had was a heart after God.
When he was converted, he “got the real thing”.
This gospel was no plaything to him.
When he gave his heart and soul to Jesus, he did so without reservation, committing his life to the preaching of the gospel at all costs, and counted everything as loss in this world, so that he might comprehend all that he could about Jesus and have a greater revelation of the power of the Holy Spirit.
One man, fully committed and sold out to God, under the anointing of the Holy Ghost, laid the foundation of the church upon the same foundation that Jesus had laid for there is no other foundation that will stand the test of time and eternity. The words that he spoke revealed the very heart and nature of Jesus to a world that was lost and dying in the sin of darkness.
As I look around today, I still see that same world! It’s a lost and dying world, steeped in idolatry and wandering around without eyes to see, ears to hear, and unable to come to the Truth of the gospel which has the power to see men free.
Romans 10:3-4 J.B. Phillips New Testament
How Israel has missed the way
10 1-4 My brothers, from the bottom of my heart I long and pray to God that Israel may be saved! I know from experience what a passion for God they have, but alas, it is not a passion based on knowledge. They do not know God’s righteousness, and all the time they are going about trying to prove their own righteousness they have the wrong attitude to receive his. For Christ means the end of the struggle for righteousness-by-the-Law for everyone who believes in him.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
God’s righteousness and our righteousness are polar opposites.
Apart from Christ our right standing with God is impossible.
It was Isaiah who said that our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
He was talking about self-righteousness (the things we do to try to make us right with God). Self-righteousness looks great on the outside and people do genuinely take the time and the season to notice it and then comment upon it.
Like the Israelites our churches are filled with people who look holy but solely trust in themselves to be good enough for God. They are seeking him based on their righteousness and what they can accomplish for God. However, God does not grade on a curve, our righteousness in no way possible compares to his.
Paul said in today’s passage that the Israelites didn’t know God’s righteousness and so they tried to establish their own.
What is God’s righteousness? His righteousness is the uprightness that He ascribes to. It is who HE is – in thought, word and deed.
I pray you and I can see; this is a polar opposite of who we are as humans. God is so holy, completely just and true, in every sense of the word. It is impossible for us to approach God on the basis of what we’ve done, even though all of it seems good in the natural realm. In our own self sufficiency and sinful state, we would not even be able to stand in His presence because of the ugliest effects of sin.
Paul said in Romans 5, “before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law” (Romans 5:13). So, sin existed, but God was not crediting it to the accounts of mankind before the law was given.
So, they mistook his forbearance with sin to be his acceptance of it. Sin became more and more ugly and prevalent in the world, so in contrast, a life lived holy looked pretty good in contrast and comparison to the corruption that existed.
Therefore, the law was given to the Jews, and it outlined hundreds of rules and guidelines on how to live. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness to them. Compared to the nations around them, they assumed they were good enough but in comparison to God’s righteousness, the law showed them it was impossible to fulfill on their own.
The law came with both blessings and curses (Deuteronomy 28), and they were subjected to those by how they lived. The law was never intended to be a plan of salvation. The law was intended to show us our inability to earn our way to heaven and to reveal our need for a savior.
This is a major truth in the Bible; we cannot earn our way into heaven by our good deeds. If we are relying on what we do for God and our own self-righteousness, then Paul says that we remain under the curse of the law.
“All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because “The righteous will live by faith” (Galatians 3:10-11).
God knew it was impossible for us to fulfill the law, so he provided another way to be justified before him through Jesus. This comes about by faith and those who are righteous before God live by faith.
He went on to answer the question on everyone’s mind,
“What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come” (Galatians 3:19).
Romans says it this way,
“no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (Romans 3:20).
And again, Paul said in Galatians,
“the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).
In other words, the law shows us our need for a Savior so we will fall upon the grace and mercy of God and trust in his plan for salvation instead of our own.
The law was intended to get us ready for Christ and was never proposed to be the way to God.
The amazing thing about falling upon the mercy of God and accepting this grace message is that by doing so, we know and submit to God’s righteousness.
Romans says, “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:21, Romans 3:22).
Which means that we obtain God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus and since we are righteous by God’s standards, we can stand before him, completely justified, where before it would have been impossible to be in His presence.
Romans goes on to say, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law” (Romans 3:28).
This is good news for us today. We do not have to rely on what we do to please God; he is already pleased with us on the basis of our abiding faith in Jesus.
There is nothing else we can do to add to it, he looks deeply at us and sees us completely whole, righteous and justified before him as if we had never sinned.
What an incredible blessing it is to 100% submit to the righteousness of God.
Today it is my prayer that we recognize how righteous we are in Christ Jesus.
We have God’s righteousness covering us and we can stand in His presence fully justified, forgiven and loved. Sin is not an issue with him because he has paid your debt to it. Through faith in Jesus, we are the righteousness of God, Amen!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Lord, my teacher, I’m often confused when I need to make important decisions about my work, my relationships, my health, or finances. Show me the way I should go when I don’t know which way to turn. Help me remember to come to you, rather than trying to figure everything out on my own. Guide me along the best pathway for my life. Advise me and watch over me. Help me to listen to your guidance and not resist it. I thank you that your unfailing love surrounds those who trust you. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.