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    1. #1
      Lämmchen's Avatar
      Lämmchen is offline God's Lil Lamb
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      The Righteousness of God - The Only Righteousness

      “The Righteousness of God - The Only Righteousness "http://www.goodshepherdlcms.com/sermons/sermon-archive/the-righteousness-of-god--.html

      Here are some quotes from the link above:

      ... a lady from the Roman Catholic church—was asked whether she knew for certain she would be going to heaven when she died. And her reply was, “Well, I think I’ve been good enough.”
      For, even in the tentative way that she answered that question, it was clear that she could never be sure that she had been commendable enough. Only in Jesus Christ can there be the complete assurance of salvation. “For, if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed,”—no doubts about it (John 8:36).
      “we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin…. [and] all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
      St. Paul goes on to write, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe… [who] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” And Luther then began to understand that that term, “the righteousness of God,” which formerly had struck such terror in his heart, was really revealing something about God’s heart—that He was a kind, gracious, merciful, and forgiving God. What’s more—and here’s the key—the heavenly Father was willing to take that perfect, righteous life of His own Son, Jesus, and give it to us freely, out of the goodness of His heart, so that we might claim His righteousness as our very own by faith!
      You can’t pick a fight with God and expect to come out the winner. And, Luther also was right about the fact that he could never be all that God expected him to be.
      You see, it’s a natural part of us to think that our fine character, our good intentions, our most sincere charitable accomplishments must count for something—I mean, you just can’t dismiss it all, can you? It would be such a waste of our efforts! There must be something worthy there to retain—something that sets us apart from the selfish, horrible, mean people in this world!



      That’s what we would like to think. So much so, that it absolutely chafes against us whenever we hear at that oft-repeated verse that slaps us so harshly in the face, declaring that that even our righteous deeds amount to nothing more than filthy rags in God’s sight.
      Only God can give to God what is worthy. Let me repeat that—only God can give to God what is worthy. Only the Son of God, in human flesh, can offer to the Father the perfect life that is required and only He can render the all-sufficient sacrifice to pay for every last one of our sin. He did what we couldn’t do.



      And don’t you, for one moment, dare to compare your life to the life of Christ as if His reason for coming into the world simply was to offer some great moral standard by which we should pattern our lives.
      But don’t ever imagine that God will be satisfied with your best efforts, even if when you do fall short. If you don’t succeed perfectly, then you fall under God’s most severe condemnation. So we can all wipe that smug, self-righteous expression off of our faces that secretly compares our behavior to others and salves our conscience by telling ourselves, “well, at least I’m better than that.”
      Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners,” (Mark 2:17).
      One day, we will all appear before the Lord for the judgment. The Bible describes it as the “great and terrible day of the Lord,” (Joel 2:31). Terrible for all those who believed that they all that they needed was a little help from God to fill in the gaps when things got a little rough. Absolutely terrible—horrifying—inconsolably regrettable. For they completely ignored the reason why God’s Son had to suffer and die as He did.
      For, trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, we will see our Savior, Jesus, face to face! Clothed in His righteousness alone; redeemed to stand before the throne. God grant us that repentance, that faith, and that sure and certain hope, for the sake of His Son Who has set us free indeed!
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus


      1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    2. Likes Josiah liked this post
    3. #2
      Josiah's Avatar
      Josiah is offline Bronze Member
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      Great post, Lamm....


      The Keystone of Christianity....


      NO ONE is righteous, no, not even one - although some might APPEAR so to man.
      NO ONE is obedient. NO ONE is sinless, EVERYONE "misses the mark" (the definition of sin).
      If you say you have no sin, you are a FOOL and a liar the Bible states.
      And if you sin, you aren't obedient.
      NOT the people God wants (and demands) us to be.
      Sinners - who deserve temporal and eternal death.
      SAINT Paul says he is the "chief of sinners" and thus is disobedient.



      The LAW states we are to be as perfect as God is.
      The LAW states we are to be as holy as God is.
      The LAW states we are to be as loving as Christ as He died for us.
      Doing this makes you obedient - and thus in no need of mercy, grace, forgiveness, salvation, justification.
      NOT doing this makes you disobedient, falling short (sinful).
      NOT doing this 24/7 in thought, word and deed means we are in need to being rescued, saved, redeemed....
      It means we need mercy (NOT getting what we deserve), we need grace (getting what we do NOT deserve)....


      We don't need a spiritual vitamin pill....
      We don't need enough time so we can fix ourselves....
      We don't need a good model we can copy in our lives and thus get it right...
      We need the SAVIOR.


      We are saved by grace (a pure GIFT - unearned, undeserved, unmerited by the receivers) because of Christ (who is THE one and only, all sufficient SAVIOR - not you, not me, not now, not ever, not 100%, not 0.000000001%) which we receive via the divine gift of faith (trust, reliance). Faith is not a meaningless chant but is trusting and relying - looking to the Cross rather than to the mirror (as you keep saying we should do).


      Jesus is the Savior. Job's taken. You don't need to do it for Him, as if He blew it and now you gotta help Him get it right. Jesus is not the failure, we are. We don't need to save Jesus, He needs to save us.


      Jesus Himself asked the most important question in the universe, in eternity.... "Who do you say I am?" The central message, the foundation, the keystone, the distinctive mark of the Christian faith is the belief that we are by nature DEAD and we can't do anything about that - "we've fallen and we can't get up", we are sinners. We need to be SAVED, RESCUED.... and that must come from God for ONLY He can do this.... and this has happened, Jesus is the Savior, Jesus does this via His incarnation, life, death and especially resurrection.


      The Devil and our dead, sinful, unregenerate self ("the old Adam") will work hard, work overtime, to undermine and deny that. Even in the "old Adam" of the Christian. Trying to make self as BIG as possible ("I ain't that bad, just you are" ) and Christ as LITTLE as possible ("technically, Jesus SAVES no one, He just makes it possible for all to be saved" "Jesus is not the Savior but the divine Helper, Possibility-Maker, Door Opener, Orderer"). Synergism is a fruit of this. Satan is not so stupid to out right deny Jesus but just belittle Him, make Him as impotent and irrelevant as possible.... while making self as well, as good, as capable, as important in the salvation of himself as possible. Make Jesus small.... make self big.


      Christianity proclaims that JESUS (not self) IS (really, actually, factually) THE (one and only, all-sufficient) SAVIOR (not just a helper or door opening or possibility-maker). There is no other name under heaven by which salvation can come (including your own). There is ONE Savior, and it ain't you or me, it's Jesus. For salvation, Christianity directs us to the Cross, not the mirror.


      You'll find LOTS of Christians who will say "Jesus is my Savior" and then go on and on and on and on contradicting that, denouncing that, INSISTING that actually, ultimately, SELF is the reason self is going to Heaven because SELF did X,Y,Z - ultimately, self doing X,Y,Z is why they will be in heaven (a repudiation of the Gospel, of Christianity, of the central teaching that Jesus is the Savior). They will proclaim (often not realizing it) that they are saying Jesus technically saves no one, He just orders people to be saved and maybe HELPS them in that regard or OPENS THE DOOR to heaven making salvation something we can achieve - anything, anything BUT the Savior. Why? Satan wants all to look away from Christ, to denounce the Gospel (and he likely needs to get us to do this in ways we don't recognize). Satan feeds our ego ("You ain't so bad..... you can do this") and ultimately to credit self and self doing X,Y.Z. and our "old Adam" likes for our ego to be fed and encouraged; we tend to swallow this. It means we abandon Christianity and go to other religions, all of which teach that while people are seriously messed up, it's not something they can't fix with sufficient divine help and time (no need for a SAVIOR but only a HELPER, TEACHER, INSPIRATION, POSSIBILITY-MAKER). In reality, THAT is the soteriology expressed by a lot of Christians (perhaps unexamined). And it's the anti-thesis of Christianity, it's the teaching of Islam and Hinduism and Buddhism. This is not "the full gospel" it's the repudiation of the Gospel and of Christianity.



      WHO is the SAVIOR?


      IF you answer "Jesus" then Jesus is the Savior. Not you - not a bit, not at all, not now, not ever, not in any way or shape or form or manner. Salvation is entirely, wholly wrapped up in Jesus. It's entirely HIS work. HIS heart. HIS love. HIS mercy. HIS gift. HIS blessing. His life, His death, His resurrection. His Cross, His blood, His sacrifice. His righteousness, His obedience, His holiness. His fulfillment of the Law. Not you. Not yours. You may have some other role in some other matter, but not this. The "job" of Savior belongs to Jesus. Not you.

      IF you answer "me" then you are the Savior. Not Jesus. Not a bit, not at all. Not now, not ever. Not in any way, shape or form or manner. Salvation is all wrapped up in YOU. YOUR works. YOUR will. YOUR love. YOUR efforts. YOUR merits. YOUR obedience. YOUR righteousness. YOUR holiness. YOUR sacrifice. YOUR steadfastness. YOUR doing stuff. Not Jesus. Not Jesus'. Jesus may have some other role in some other matter, just not this one. The Savior is you.


      Which is it? It's simple. It's easy. It ain't rocket science. The Devil, the fallen world, our own sinful self will TRY as HARD AS WE CAN to say "self" while trying to sound Christian and fit Jesus in there somewhere, just not as THE SAVIOR. The Devil, the fallen world, our sinful self will try to pat self on the back for doing X,Y,Z - why we are headed for heaven, to make Jesus as small as we can, self as big as we can, to get our eyes off the Cross and on the mirror. The Devil will try as hard as he can to mix law and gospel, to confuse God's grace with self's works, to transform Jesus from SAVIOR to just a divine helper, a teacher/example/inspiration, a possibility-maker/door opener, the divine OFFERER.... ANYTHING that sounds good and pious but strips Jesus of the role of Savior. The Devil is fine with you worshiping and honoring Jesus - as long as that Jesus does not actually SAVE anyone, when people enter those pearly gates, they will pat SELF on the back. The Devil is cleaver, and as at the Temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, he can even quote Scripture, but you can always tell him lies: what he's really saying is YOU are the savior of YOU.... you will enter heaven because of what YOU do (he will settle for "Jesus did 99% of it and I only 1% but that 1% is why I'm going to heaven" - same/same)




      A blessed Advent to all.



      - Josiah




      .
      Last edited by Josiah; 12-16-2019 at 11:16 AM.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    4. #3
      jsimms435 is offline Expert Member
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      I am so glad it isn't up to me to be good enough because I am not capable of it. I'm glad he's already done it for me

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    6. #4
      Lämmchen's Avatar
      Lämmchen is offline God's Lil Lamb
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      I am so glad it isn't up to me to be good enough because I am not capable of it. I'm glad he's already done it for me
      I really think that the more we learn about what Jesus did that the more we realize what an amazing God we truly have.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus


      1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    7. #5
      Josiah's Avatar
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      WHO IS THE SAVIOR?


      There are only two options: Self or Christ.
      There are only two places to look: The Cross or the mirror.
      There are two options to trust: The grace/mercy of Christ and His obedience OR the wonderfulness, sinlessness and obedience of self.

      We cannot embrace both, since if Christ is NOT the Savior then He's not the Savior. He might be the possibility-maker or the helper or the inspiration or the teacher or the model but He doesn't actually SAVE.


      The HOLY SPIRIT will always direct you to the Cross, to the SAVIOR Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
      The DEVIL will always direct you to the mirror, to SELF. You must do x,y and z - and this is what saves you, your performance and obedience.
      You can easily tell who is talking by what they are saying.
      When the devil is talking to you, it's best to tell him where to go.


      The devil is perfectly happy with considering Jesus to be the possibility maker ("Jesus opened the door to heaven but YOU GOTTA get yourself through it by YOUR doing X, Y, Z." "Jesus makes it POSSIBLE for everyone to save themselves by performing X, Y, Z"). The devil is perfectly happy with considering Jesus to be the divine helper ("Jesus gives you everything you need to save yourself - the will, the power, the enabling"). The devil is fine with you worshiping Jesus and celebrating Jesus as long as Jesus is not the SAVIOR - the one who SAVES us. He is okay with "Jesus is the Savior...." as long as their is a great big "BUT" added that contradicts the statement and points all to the mirror. When you hear the devil talking, tell him where to go.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    8. #6
      Julie Cohick's Avatar
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      Our righteousness is of CHRIST and HIM alone. There is nothing in this old regenerated sinner that endears myself to GOD - EXCEPT HE sees me in CHRIST with HIS righteousness imputed to me. Isn't HE glorious ! ! !

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    10. #7
      hedrick is offline Junior Member
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      The title and OP talk about the righteousness of God and then start applying it to us. You need to be cautious about that. In the OT, righteousness is a covenantal concept. It means that the person is carrying out their obligations with respect to the covenant. But God and humans have different responsibilities. God's righteousness, at least in the context of Paul's letters, means his commitment to his people and to saving them even when they are disobedient. Our righteousness means living as God's children, honoring his teachings, repenting when we sin, etc. We are certainly not expected to be righteous in the same sense that God is.

      The fact that God's righteousness means his commitment to saving his people is the key of Luther's discovery, as quoted in the OP. This is, of course the whole point of the Romans quote above.

      But I think you need to be careful about saying that our righteous deeds are filthy rags. Is 64:6 is a lament about a specific situation, and a bit of hyperbole. Paul makes it clear that we can’t merit justification by our actions. As he points out, if we had to do that, they’d have to be perfect, and they can’t be.

      But the good news is that we don’t have to. God loves us. Just as children don’t have to merit their parents’ love by being perfect, neither do we. So righteousness, the covenant obligation for humans, isn’t perfection. But it is living as God’s children, which means trust him but also accepting his teachings, even though we don’t carry them out perfectly. Scripture doesn’t reject the possibility of righteous deeds, as long as they are seen as part of living as God’s children.

      Contrary to many Protestant claims, the Bible (particularly the OT) refers to many people as righteous, and Scripture generally demonstrates this by their actions. Even in Romans, Paul shows that Abraham is righteous because he acted out his faith. Jesus, of course, says that you can know a tree by its fruit. His teachings about judgement often show people as being judged because they abuse others.

      “No one is righteous” occurs a couple of times in the prophets, but it’s a lament over a specific situation, and not a theological statement that no one can be righteous. Otherwise the Bible wouldn’t ever call someone a righteous man. (Just looking through the Gospels, Matthew, 1:19, Luke 2:25, Luke 23:50 call specific people righteous. and there are many references to righteous people that clearly assume such people exist.) The citation in Rom 3 is specifically to show that we can’t merit God’s acceptance.

      Indeed Paul says we can be righteous, because God accepts faith / faithfulness as showing that we are righteous. But as Abraham’s example shows, and Jesus’ teachings make clear, faith isn’t just believing that God exists, but accepting his standards for behavior, even though we don’t follow them perfectly. Trusting God and showing it in our lives is living within the covenant, and thus being righteous. Note that Paul is perfectly willing to call people righteous when it’s not in the context of trying to merit God’s love, even in Romans (14:17).

      Again, I’m not saying here that it we are meriting God’s acceptance by works. Rather, I’m saying that God accepts us as his children, as members of his covenant people, before anything we can do, but that we live out that covenant by a pattern that includes both trust in God and acceptance of his standards for behavior, and that this is what righteousness means throughout most of Scripture.

      Luther had a problem with taking into account people’s behavior, because of bad experiences with Catholic practice. That suggested that we moved back and forth between justified and not justified regularly, due to sin and penance. But if we go back to Jesus’ analogy of God as loving father, no parent would stop loving their child or reject them from the family because they misbehaved, and not consider them their child again until they had repented. But righteousness isn’t perfection. It’s living as God’s child. The righteous person repents, they don’t stop being righteous. (The theoretical issue here is, of course, distinguishing between justification and sanctification, an area which still separates Protestant and Catholic thought, no matter how far we’ve moved together in other ways.)

      But still, their behavior isn’t irrelevant to the covenant. That’s why Lutherans generally accept that one can eventually fall away if they get to the point of rejecting their membership in God’s people completely, including God’s standards for behavior. (I don’t believe one can claim faith without also being committed to Jesus’ teachings, even if that commitment isn’t shown very well.)

      -----

      Incidentally, Paul never says that Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. Rather, he says that our faith is counted as (imputed as) righteousness.

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