For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Gone are the days of the "fire and brimstone" messages from the pulpit. Gone are the days when the preacher bellows to the congregation that "it's time to get your house in order, because Jesus is coming soon!" Gone are the days when Pastors line up the members of His church and spanks them all for their sins with the word of God...
Oh, wait... those days are not gone.
But they should be.
It is the Holy Ghost's job to convict the world of sin and chastise His sons and daughters. The Holy Spirit has never needed the help of His pastors or their parishioners to do His job for him. On the contrary, it is all of us who need the help of the Holy Ghost to do our jobs for Him as Christians.
With the Holy Ghost our preachers and pastors should be empowered to teach the word of God; to preach and proclaim the Gospel - that-too-good-to-be-true GOOD NEWS of God, and not authorized to beat his flock with it!
A 30 minute harangue about the sins of the church is not too-good-to-be-true Good News to anyone - saints and sinners a like! They claim that to be Christ-like we must be sin-free, but if they were more Christ-like they would not spend their sermons telling us how and why we must be sin free, they would preach and teach like Christ!
Even when Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adultery in John 8:10-12, Jesus first dealt with those who were busy accusing her of her sin; then He said He did not condemn her. Finally, Jesus simply told her (and others as well), "Go and sin no more."
His sermons were not about how to stop being wrong; but how to start being right, or rather righteous. But still and again, the righteousness that Jesus and Paul taught about was not a righteousness of the law - rules, regulations and the efforts of man. Righteousness is only achieved through the FREE GIFT of Jesus Christ!
If you believe in Him then you ARE the righteousness of God in Christ!
You already are righteous! You can't DO anything more to become any more righteous than your belief in Jesus and confession in Him as Lord has already made you! You can't work for it; you can't earn it; you can't pray for it; ask for it; beg for it; or make it up yourself.
If you believe, then you already are made righteous, and asking for it or striving for it is like asking for a chair you are already sitting in! The truth of the matter is, you cannot do acts of righteousness in order to BE righteous. We should do acts of righteousness because we ARE righteous!
Ok, you might be saying, "What about Matthew 6:33?"
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
How do we seek righteousness then, if we already are righteous? Today more than ever, we have to seek our own gift of righteousness and remind ourselves, or even (like King David) encourage ourselves in our own right to be righteous in Christ. We have to seek the truth of our God-given righteousness when the world around us (saved and unsaved) try to tell us otherwise.
- When preachers preach "be righteous" - remind yourself: "I am the righteousness of God in Christ!"
- When preachers preach "don't sin" - remind yourself: "I am dead to sin!"
- When preachers preach "forgive or you will not be forgiven" - remind yourself: "I will forgive because I am already forgiven!"
- When preachers preach, "you're a sinner saved by grace" - remind yourself: "I am a Believer, empowered by Grace!"
- When preachers preach "sin and you're condemned to hell" - remind yourself: "there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!"
When preachers preach "obedience" - remind yourself: "By one man's obedience (Jesus) all have been saved from the sin of one man's disobedience (Adam)" - Romans 5:19
Love is our only access to righteousness. Because Jesus loves us so, He was obedient to the cross so that through Him (and Him alone) we could finally be obedient enough to receive the promises and righteousness that no one could achieve through the law!
Know Grace: no law
Know Righteousness: no obedience
Know Love: no condemnation
Know Spirit: no flesh
Know Jesus: KNOW YOU!
YOU ARE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS!
Power, love & peace - ya'll!
(II Timothy 1:7)
~Min. Deidre Campbell-Jones