Sunday, April 26, 2020

Righteous, Dude!




“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” – Romans 1:16-18

I believe there’s a connotation attached to the word Righteous that, at least in my heart, makes me feel unworthy to call myself righteous.  That connotation came about through the slang meaning of the word.  Merriam Webster puts it perfectly saying:

“Righteous is an old word living a double life: a marker of moral goodness, and undercover slang for "excellent." ... According to our evidence, righteous did not start out as a surfer term of the 1980’s, as many people assume.

In my head I can still hear the secretary telling the principle on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that Ferris “is a righteous dude!”.  I can also hear Wayne and Garth saying it was “totally righteous!” and talking about “righteous babes”. 

I’m disqualifying their meaning of the word and suggesting we Christians take it back!  Righteousness is a gift from God through Jesus Christ! It’s something to be proud of.  Yet with the meaning of it being so twisted to mean so many things, it’s hard to put it on and wear it. I mean, what will people thing if I tell them I’m righteous? Eh? The meaning of the word has been suppressed, just as Romans 1:18 states.

Why care so much about a word?  Because that word represents a lot of power, and many gifts!

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” – Romans 5:19


(Warning: I’m about to use the word BLOOD.  Don’t cop out on me when I use the word.  I know some folks see it as gross, and disgusting.  You just have to see it for what it is and you’ll love it. The BLOOD of Jesus was who He was in God, just as your DNA proves who you are and it’s in your blood.  He was God’s son, and the BLOOD proved it.)

By Jesus’ obedience to the cross, to shed His blood (there it is!) and His life for us, we were given the hope of attaining righteousness.  And yes, even being covered in righteousness!  When God looks upon me, He does not see the person I used to be.  He sees a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  He sees the blood of Christ as my sin covering. (You’d have to study the old sacrifices to fully get why this is important.)

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” – Isaiah 61:10

And because of that covering, we resemble the Lord Jesus Christ! It makes us different in the eyes of God!  We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” as stated in 1 Peter 2:9.

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:12

But even in that we should still be humble!  Our righteousness is NOTHING we can brag about ourselves, and I think that’s where the difference in the slang use of the word and the Christian use of the word lies.  We have it as a gift – given freely – never earned.  I’m not a righteous dudette because of something I did or the way I comb my hair or how I dress! 

For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. – Ephesians 2:7-9

The Bible talks of Gentiles and Israelites.  The Gentiles didn’t try to attain righteousness on their own, but the Israelites did.  They tried to keep 613 laws throughout their entire life.  But God’s word says they STILL did not attain righteousness.

“What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;  but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.  As it is written:  “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”- Romans 9:30-33

Now picture a world where God would give us righteousness because of our good works, our kindness, our gentleness, our love for others, our clean language.  Exactly how much righteousness could you have compared to someone else?  Would God give the same to you as He gave to the most corrupt person you know?  What would be the scale for earning righteousness?  Does 10 good works a year give you 10% righteousness?  

You see, the belief that the righteousness of God can be earned is flawed.  There’s no program to get you there.  There’s no diploma of righteousness to earn – or anyone worthy enough to give it on this earth!  Even with the 613 Levitical laws, no one attained it!

God grants us faith as a gift.  We can choose to believe in Jesus – or not.  That’s the free will He gave us that prevents us from being slaves to Christianity.  We become His children through faith, and our own free will to accept Jesus.  God does not want slaves – He want’s children.  And through faith we become as children to Him. (Again, remember the BLOOD makes you children!) And THAT and that alone makes us righteous.

What’s the big deal with righteousness?  For me it’s in one verse.  This one:

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availmuch.” - James 5:16

To be found righteous in God’s eyes, God who looks on the heart, you have an open portal to the maker and keeper of all things on this earth and beyond.  You have an open line to the God of the universe, the God of peace and understanding and all wisdom.  I dare say, I would not last a day without Him.  But, even if I didn’t last another day here with Him, I have eternity WITH Him.  Can you top that?  Nope! Righteousness is righteous, dude!








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