[Note: The following is a devotional that was written by my mom. It was taken from her blog.]
Romans 1:17: “For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith”.
Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”.
What a contrast—the righteousness of man vs. the righteousness of God. In our day what is “right” and “true” is judged by each individual according to whatever he/she feels is right for them. Everyone has his or her own truth, or his or her own “righteousness” and we are not to dare judge another’s concept of right. If one claims to have thee way of righteousness or truth they are told they are self-righteous. But according to the Bible one who is self-righteous is one who is righteous in their own way…their own self, not regarding what God calls righteous. So the truth is just the opposite of what we are hearing in the world today. Those who trust in Christ alone have the true righteousness of God imputed to them.
What is God’s righteousness—the righteousness He alone bestows on man? It is only the righteousness of Christ Himself. No man can ever be righteous in himself or in God’s eyes by any works or religion or belief of his own. Oh how many ways we justify our own actions, feelings, thoughts, etc. We justify even our most self-centered acts, that are self-exalting and God opposing. But there has been a righteousness of God revealed! This righteousness is of God alone, and not of man. It does not come by any works of the law or goodness of man.
The world has its own form of righteousness. They justify themselves according to their own mind. Below is a quote from Vincent Word Studies I found interesting…
“Righteousness is union with God in character. To the Greek mind of the legendary age such a conception is both strange and essentially impossible, since the Greek divinity is only the Greek man exaggerated in his virtues and vices alike. According to the christian ideal, righteousness is character, and the norm of character is likeness to God.”
How can a man be in union with God in character!! The Greek mind is the same as the mind of today’s thought—divinity being man exaggerated in his virtues and vices alike. Man does not even conceive of the true character of God but instead makes for himself a god of his own choosing in his mind, which he can comfortably unite with. Just take a look at some of the movies recently made about the life of Jesus! They have made him into a man like us in character, vice and virtue rather than the God of the Bible that He is. So in doing so they have lowered the standard of righteousness that they must have in order to be united with Him. In doing so they will never be united with the one true God but will continue to be alienated with Him.
What is the righteousness of God? Only Jesus Himself. How can we then ever attain to that?? We cannot. How then can we be united with Him? Only by faith in the finished work of Christ. That is the only way God will accept. It is the only way that we shall know true righteousness—by faith taking that righteousness in the form of Christ Himself into our hearts, because of the justification He worked for us on the cross, (Romans 5). In doing so we live by faith, unto faith. That faith grows and becomes greater and fills our hearts with an abundant life that will never end.
Dear Christians, I pray that you will not come to Him by faith only to live by your own works of righteousness. They are just as unacceptable to him as they ever were! The same way you came to Him is the way you must live unto Him—by faith in the righteousness of God! Just as you could not come up with your own righteousness in order to be saved, neither can you now ever work out your own righteousness by your good works. You are to live by faith in the righteousness of God to replace, (not reform), the unrighteousness in your flesh. You have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer you who live but Christ Who lives in you---your hope of glory—and the life you live now you live by faith in Him!
This righteousness is by faith and it is unto faith. It is faith that causes it to grow in you and produces more faith. The more faith is developed in us, the more abundant spiritual life we have, which again produces works of righteousness that are works of the Spirit’s overflowing abundance in our hearts, not our own. The Analytical Literal Translation says it in an interesting way—“But the [one] righteous by faith will live”. If we are righteous by faith, then we will truly live—life abundant in Christ!
How great God is! He made the perfect way for us to walk in union with Him--a true righteousness that is not judged by man according to his thoughts and ways, but by God Himself. He made a way for us to be perfect before Him. What greater love can there be in the universe? As He is perfect in all His ways, so He will make us to be before Him so that we may live with Him and enjoy His glory forever! Why would we want to settle for anything less!!
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