“THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD”
Did you know that Jesus, who knew no sin, was made sin for us? Now the Bible according to Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus did not commit sin but instead became sin for us.
What is sin? All unrighteousness is sin; we sin in thoughts, words and deeds but Jesus came into this world to seek and to save the lost and give us the grace to overcome and even conquer sin. Sin is a reproach unto any person, in that it keeps us away from fulfilling the plan of God for our lives. While we may sin and even take pleasure in it, Paul tells us that Jesus became sin itself. His selfless act on the cross was because he took upon himself the sins of the world.
Cain killed his brother Abel because God rejected his worship while accepting Abel’s. Sadly sometimes, the greatest sins are committed in the name of religion or a god.
Recently I went to a local supermarket, part of a global chain, late one evening and witnessed the store bagging up to throw away bread rolls, croissants, cakes and other pastries. I asked the shop assistant if this was in fact what he was doing, he answered in the affirmative. I have always heard this said of stores, shops and restaurants that they on a daily basis throw away food in large quantities and never think to give it away, so as to keep prices high. Additionally, boutiques and other retailers, regularly throw away clothes at the end of a season instead of giving them away to the poorest in our society. Well I need not say again I heard or read about this but instead that I witnessed it. I did not remonstrate with the assistant for he was simply carrying out his duties though he did agree with me that this was criminal in a world where so many go hungry, including children.
I know food is wasted right across the world, even in poor countries; however, this does not make it right. I believe it is for this and other reasons the finances of the world is in such a mess. Greed, selfishness and pride drives too much of our personal affairs and businesses and this all adds up to sin. I will be writing to the supermarket chain in question to see if I can persuade it to give the food to a good cause. Jesus once said the poor we always have with us, well you can see why this is the case. Please pray my success.
Apostle Paul continues in his letter to the church at Corinth, that not only did Jesus become sin for us, but that we (the church) would become the righteousness of God through Him.
The children of God are therefore, the righteousness of God in the earth, but we must be born again first or undergo conversion. As a good tree is known by the fruits it bears so the child of God is known by his or her righteous character. The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, so neither can the child of God bear fruit without first being connected to the vine which is Jesus Christ. The fruit of righteousness which the child of God must bear includes: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance, forgiveness, humility and much more besides. These are not abstract or theoretical virtues to be mouthed but lived. The prophet Amos had a controversy with the people of his day when he declared, “you who turn judgment to wormwood (bitterness), and leave off righteousness in the earth”. Simply put, the judgment or justice that should be meted out in society was bitter and righteousness, that is doing the right thing, was being neglected.
In an increasingly sceptical and unbelieving world, it is very important that the church manifests the righteousness of God through personal witness as well as standing up for good causes.
In blog 65, “The church in England” I wrote about St. Paul’s Cathedral and the anti capitalism protestors. One of the most featured and commented on placard on display was “what would Jesus do”?
The church must always ask itself at the individual and corporate level inside and especially outside what would Jesus do; in response to the adulterer, to the sick and lame, to the corrupt tax collector or the hypocrite? Jesus led the adulterer to a new life, healed the sick, brought change to the corrupt tax collector and rebuked the hypocrite. But he also fed the hungry, helped the man that lived amongst the tombs and blessed the children. The righteousness of God must go beyond self, family and friends and even church members but must reach neighbours and the wider community, for good ministry is in words and deeds.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God”. (Philippians 1: 9-11).
Our platform is the world and congregation the people.
The Lord’s servant
Apostle Lloyd Denny