Posts Tagged ‘Righteousness


Our Religion Is Showing

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches about various aspects of Kingdom living. Living for God’s Kingdom is a pretty radical way of living. Jesus gets right to the heart of the matter on several different topics. One of those topics is making a show of our religion. He said in Matthew 6:1 (NIV):

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

What is the motivation for our religious practices? Do you go to church to be seen by others or to worship the Lord? Do you give an offering so that others will see you or because you’re grateful for how God has blessed you? Why do we do what we do? God knows our hearts. If our motivations are less than pure, then we have no reward for our religious practices. Let’s be careful not to let our religion show so that others will think that we’re so righteous, holy and faithful. Let’s do what we do out of our love for God and not the applause of the world. Let’s make much of Jesus and not worry about making a name for ourselves.


New Clothes

I love buying new clothes. I love the smell of my favorite department store when I walk in. Why? Because it smells like new clothes. The apostle Paul describes some new clothes that the follower of Jesus is supposed to wear when we come to Him for salvation. Instead of dressing in sin like the world, we are to put on some new clothes. Paul describes our new clothing in Colossians 3:12 (NLT) when he writes:

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Instead of wearing old clothes of sin, we are to clothe ourselves with these new clothes of righteousness. You don’t have to worry about whether or not they fit. They are one-size-fits-all. These clothes never wear out, either. They don’t go out of style. They are always in fashion for Christians. You may not see them featured in Vogue or GQ. The Bible is our fashion guide. So go shopping for some new clothes today. Throw out the old clothes of sin because they really don’t fit anymore. They are tattered, stained and torn. Do some spiritual retail therapy and put on some brand new clothes.


Not Of This World

In Colossians 3:5, the apostle Paul listed some sins that Christians are to put to death. The list was not exhaustive, but contained some fairly common sins such as lust, sexual immorality, and greed. In verse 6, he said that the wrath and anger of God are coming because of the sins of humanity. In verse 7, Paul reminds us that we used to commit these sins. He wrote in Colossians 3:7 (NLT):

You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.

There are two important parts to this verse. First, he says that you used to do these things. In other words, you don’t do them any more. When you come to Christ for forgiveness, part of the expectation is repentance and transformation. We turn away from our sinful lives and allow God’s Holy Spirit to transform us. Second, we are not a part of this world. The sins we used to commit are a part of this world. Now, we no longer belong to the world and therefore should not conform to this world. Rather, we should be conformed to the image of Christ. We belong to Jesus now and not the world. Instead of looking like the world, we should look more like Christ.


Is Your Faith Strong?

If someone were writing a letter to you, what would they say about you? Would they tell you that they admire you for your faith or would they admonish you for your behavior? Would they talk about your perseverance or your inability to keep going through hard times? What would stand out about you to them? The apostle Paul, in writing to the Colossians, told them how he felt about them. He wrote in Colossians 2:5 (NLT):

For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.

He had affection for the people to whom he was writing. He also remarked about their faith and conduct. They were living like Christians. They were doing the things that they should have been doing. They weren’t making excuses for their sin. They were living like Christ. Not only that, but they were strong in the faith. Though there were false teachers who were trying to lead them astray, their faith was genuine and strong. The Colossians were looking more and more like the One in whom that had placed their faith. May the same be said of us.


Your New Best Friend

Whether you came to Christ early or later in life, you probably had some wild days in your past. You may have had a group of friends with whom you used to hang around, but do so no longer. You may have lived the party lifestyle with them that doesn’t seem all that appealing to you now. They wonder what happened to you. What happened to all of the good times you used to have. Why are you such a goody two-shoes? What are you? Are you some kind of Jesus freak? Peter says to not be surprised when people slander you for the change that has taken place in your life. He wrote in 1 Peter 4:4-5 (NLT):

Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. 5 But remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both the living and the dead.

We say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones…,” but names do hurt. When people make fun of us or persecute us for our faith, it hurts. Don’t forget that God has the final say. We will all stand before Him in judgment. Don’t walk away from your faith because your former friends don’t like your new best friend, Jesus.


Enough Is Enough

Think back to the time before Christ entered into your life. How did you used to live before you knew God? Maybe you were a pretty good person. Maybe you were not. Perhaps you had some friends who led you down some wrong paths. Maybe there were some bad influences in your life. It could have been a boyfriend or a girlfriend. It might have been some high school or college buddies. Then, someone introduced you to Jesus and things began to change. You began to change. You said, “Enough is enough.” This is what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:3 (NLT):

You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.

You may still feel the pull of that former way of life. Temptation may rear its ugly head at times and you long to go back to the way you used to live. Don’t do it! You’re done with those ways. You’re on a new path now that leads to life instead of the road that leads to eternal destruction. Don’t compromise your faith in Christ for the momentary rush of sin. It may feel good for a moment, but in the long run you’ll feel guilty and full of shame. But know this: Christ died for all of your sins and to take away your shame. If you fall short and back into a former way of life, it is covered by Calvary. There’s a new day ahead and a second chance is waiting for you. Jesus still loves you.


Slaves Who Are Free

Jesus died to set us free. We are free from the consequences of sin. We are free from religion that says you have to earn your way to God. We are free from fear that God is out to get us. We are free from rules based religion. We are free to experience radical love and grace. Peter, though, says that we are slaves to God. He wrote in 1 Peter 2:16 (NLT):
For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.
We are not free to sin willy-nilly as though Christ died for nothing. Our sins cost Jesus His life. He willingly went to the cross to lay down His life for our forgiveness and freedom. He purchased us from slavery to sin and darkness. Now we are slaves to God. We submit to Him. We serve Him. We obey Him. God is not a stern taskmaster who punishes us. Rather, He is good and kind and He has our best interests at heart. He is our Creator and our Father. He knows what is best and desires it for us. His love protects us and shelters us. Knowing that God is always good, why would we live for anyone or anything else?

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