THE LAW OF FAITH
"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB)."
Devotion 9 of 30
A RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD, #1
Righteousness is THE issue with God, not TRYING to be righteous! With a flaming indictment, God announces, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE" (Rom 3:10, NASB). This is not a casual announcement, and must not be so viewed. God cannot and will not accept an unrighteous individual. That is a cardinal doctrine of Scripture. "Or do you not know that the unrighteous SHALL NOT inherit the kingdom of God?" (1 Cor 6:9). Through Peter, the Spirit poses a question. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Pet 4:17-18). Make no mistake about this, the coming of the Lord in all of His glory and majesty will induct "the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Pet 3:7).
An acceptable righteousness must be obtained by men, else they will be condemned. It cannot be a righteousness wrought by man. God has already announced such a righteousness does not exist. Apart from Christ, and unwavering faith in Him, there "is none righteous."
THE UNRIGHTEOUS ARE EXCLUDED
Without equivocation, unrighteousness, or ungodlikeness, excludes one from the heavenly kingdom. An encounter with the Living God will confirm this to be the case! Israel's confrontation of God Almighty shook them to the core of their being. "Then they said to Moses, Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die" (Ex 20:19). When Isaiah saw the Lord "high and lifted up," he responded "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts" (Isa 6:5). When Peter knowingly faced the Son of God, he cried, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" (Luke 5:8). When every eye sees the returning Christ, the unreconciled, because of Him, "will wail" (Rev. 1:7).
With vivid language, the Spirit describes the universal response of the unsaved to the Lord of glory. Among the ungodly, there will not be a single deviation from this response in all the universe. "And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?'" (Rev 6:15-17).
And why will such a response be evoked? Because a righteous Lord in all of His blazing glory will convince them of their unrighteousness. They will sense their unacceptable state, and wail because of it. Now, in this time, the Lord has made provision to be convinced of this truth so it will not condemn us then. One of the primary ministries of the Holy Spirit relates to persuading men of righteousness–of their need for it, and the availability of it, in Christ Jesus. "And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin . . . of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more . . . " (John 16:8-11). If you expect to dwell forever in the courts of the Lord, you must be convinced that only the kind of righteousness Jesus possessed is acceptable with God. We will find that faith is the appointed means of appropriating such a righteousness.
There is no price too great to pay in order to avoid rejection for being unrighteous or ungodly! The Gospel is a call to fallen humanity--a call that announces a righteousness from God that will stand the test of His appearance in glory! It is a precious proclamation to those who have been convinced of their sinfulness--mind you, not merely their sin, but their sinfulness!
PRAYER POINT: Father, through Jesus Christ, I thank You for the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, a righteousness that is accepted with You, and the Lord Jesus Who has brought that righteousness within the grasp of faith.
-- Tomorrow: THE ERA OF "ALL THINGS" --