Posts Tagged ‘Righteousness

26
Sep
18

Skin Deep Righteousness

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes the Law of Moses and He expounds on it. It can be easy to fall into a trap of skin deep righteousness. This trap says that you’re on the right track because you look spiritual on the outside, but in reality are far from God in your heart. Jesus said:

Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:19-20 (NIV)

The Pharisees looked really good because they put on an outward religious show. They thought that they were better than everyone else because they outwardly obeyed the Law to the nth degree. Inwardly, though, they were far from God because they didn’t obey God because they loved Him. They loved the applause of people. Do a heart check today. Do you obey God because you love Him or because you want to impress people with how spiritual you appear?
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19
Sep
18

The Blessing Of Persecution

In Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” He begins with several “Beatitudes” that describe what a person who is on the right track spiritually looks like. It begins with understanding the depth of one’s spiritual poverty and moves through a growing understanding of God’s purpose for their life. When you want the things of God’s Kingdom, you’ll become more of a Kingdom-minded person. Jesus says that this person is “blessed,” which means, “happy.” He concludes the “Beatitudes” by talking about being persecuted. He says:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10 (NIV)

When you live for the Kingdom of God, it means that you are no longer living for the kingdom of this world. You’ll live differently than you did before. You’ll act differently, talk differently and think differently. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb. You may be persecuted for your faith. Jesus says that you are blessed when you are persecuted because you’ll know that you truly belong to Him. Persecution isn’t a possibility, it is a guarantee. When you live for Jesus, you become a threat and persecution becomes a reality. Stand firm in your faith because Heaven is the reward.
11
Sep
18

Hungry For God

When you begin your journey of faith, you start by realizing the depths of your spiritual poverty. You know that there is nothing good in you. You mourn and weep over your sinful condition. You humbly come before God for forgiveness. Once you acknowledge your brokenness and your propensity for doing the wrong things, you begin to desire the right things. Jesus said:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled. – Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

If your deepest desire is to be made right with God, God will satisfy that desire in a way that only He can. You cannot earn His favor or grace by your righteous deeds. You have to want to be made right with Him by His grace through faith in Jesus. When you want that kind of relationship, God will give you that kind of relationship. It’s a loving relationship that satisfies like no other. If you’re hungry and thirsty for God, He alone will fill your every longing.
15
May
18

The Spirit Gives Life

In Romans 8, the apostle Paul talks quite a bit about the difference between being controlled by the flesh and being controlled by the Spirit of Christ. He said that those who are governed by the flesh cannot please God and that they do not belong to Christ. He then contrasts that with the person filled with Christ. He wrote:

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. – Romans 8:1​0​ (NIV)

We are all going to die a physical death someday. Those who are filled with Christ’s Spirit will be granted life. Why? Paul says that it is “…because of righteousness.” Is that our righteousness or Christ’s righteousness? It is because of Christ’s righteousness that is granted to us by His perfect life. Our righteousness is nothing compared to the righteousness of Jesus. When you trust Christ for forgiveness, you are covered by His righteousness and given eternal life.
13
Apr
18

Our Motivation

Motivation is so important in the life of a follower of Jesus. Some motivations are better than others. Why do we live the way that we live? Do we obey God out of respect and reverence? Do we live for Jesus out of fear and terror? Do we live for Jesus because He loves us and we love Him? Peter wrote:

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. – 2 Peter 3:14 (NIV)

Since we are looking forward to the day of Christ’s return, we should live differently. We need to be spotless or pure and holy. We need to be blameless, which is free from accusation. We need to be at peace with Him, which means that we need to be reconciled to Him by grace through faith. Our motivation is knowing that Jesus has saved us and is returning to take us home. This is something we who follow Him are looking forward to. Jesus loves us and will take us to be with Him forever. Until that day, let us live with the expectation of Heaven in our hearts.
19
Jan
18

We Don’t Live That Way Anymore

Every follower of Jesus has a past. We all have a transformation story. We used to live one way, now we’re living differently. This was as true in the first century as it is now. Peter writes:

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. – 1 Peter 4:3-4 (NIV)

Notice what he says about persecution. When we live differently and we don’t go along with the crowd, we are abused and persecuted. People who live for Jesus stick out like a sore thumb. We should never look down on others or condemn them. That’s not our job. We need to make sure that we are living righteous lives that please our Heavenly Father instead of sinning with the crowd. We should rejoice when persecuted for great is our reward in Heaven.
10
Jan
18

Blessed In Spite Of Suffering

We expect to be punished when we do the wrong things. What happens when we are picked on or punished for doing what is right? We feel persecuted and not blessed. Yet Peter says that we are blessed when we suffer for doing the right things. He says:

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” – 1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)

Even if we are threatened by punishment for doing the right things, we should do them anyway. We should always be eager to do good and to do what is right. Regardless of the consequences of doing what is right, we should live lives of character and integrity. God will have the final say and He is the One who will bless us when we do what is right. While we may suffer for a little while on earth, we will be eternally blessed in Heaven.



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