There has reportedly been more criminal activity on the streets of Harrisburg in recent weeks. Break-ins and robberies have increased. Residents are reminded to lock their houses and vehicles. There is no doubt that the world is increasingly corrupt. How are we to face the challenges before us? Is it possible to embrace righteousness? Jesus had an odd answer to such questions.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17 NKJV).
In the Hebrew language, the slightest stroke of a pen can completely change a character, a letter of the alphabet, and therefore a word or meaning. On this occasion, Jesus was speaking to a group of people who knew the importance of the jot and tittle. Jesus said that not the least stroke of a pen would by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Is it a surprise then, that in spite of this, we are not to struggle to live righteously? That’s right. According to New Testament teaching we are to live by a higher “law” or principle, which the apostle Paul called the Law of the Spirit of Life (see Romans, chapter eight). Under this dispensation of grace, the Holy Spirit is our source of life, and He directs the course of our lives. So righteousness is really God’s life in us.
“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:3,4 NKJV).
Why do we make serving God so hard? Why does it seem such a task to control a nasty temper, to wear a smile when our hearts are breaking, to push down the jealousy and resentment we feel when personal injustices come? The answer is simple. We are not living by this higher law or principle – the Law of the Spirit of Life. It is absolutely impossible to live righteously in our own strength. We think carnally, we act carnally, unless the life of Christ is ruling, governing our lives.
The life of Christ within is released by the Holy Spirit, and realized in our actions as we acknowledge His Lordship. This involves yielding to Him, obeying Him. In Revelation, chapter 19, we have a picture of the Bride of Christ, clothed in linen, which is the righteousness of the saints. The Greek meaning of this word “righteousness” means “righteous acts or works”. Note that she (Bride of Christ) is clothed in linen. In Ezekiel 44:17-18, we have the typical meaning of this, for we see that the high priest was not allowed to wear wool. There was no wool touching his body. His undergarments were made of linen. He did not dress according to the weather conditions, but according to God’s instructions, and those instructions were in effect: “When you come into My presence, no sweat.” Wool produces sweat! Figuratively speaking, we are to take off the wool and put on the linen. Clothed in His righteousness, we are candidates for impossible living – living righteously. Kingdom people are called to live righteously because it is possible in Christ. It should not be a problem to turn the other cheek, or to forgive.
Paul told the Corinthian believers, by HIS doing you are in Christ Jesus. Jesus said, “Abide in Me”. Again, Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.” He said, “In all things I am instructed.” Another translation is, “I have learned the secret . . .” The word “instructed” in the Greek is from a root meaning, “to initiate into the mysteries (to be disciplined in a practical lesson, to learn a lesson).
Born again believers are being disciplined and schooled by the Holy Ghost, who brings to us spiritual resources we require for every situation. It is possible to live righteously every day of our lives. We are not yet perfected (matured, ripened), but we are being initiated into this wonderful triumphant, victorious life of Christ. We are in the School of the Holy Spirit. As we cooperate with Him, and allow the Law of Christ to govern, to rule in us, and as we die daily to our own way (put off the wool and put on the linen), as we put on the Lord Jesus Christ – put off the old and put on the new – we will discover the secret of living righteously in a sin-ridden world. Then we will enjoy life, as we never have before. The following article will elaborate on the Attributes of a righteous man according to the word of God – Dothan Christianity | ovalpike.com
A literal translation of Philippians 4:13 is, “I have the ability and strength to do all things in the Christ who is empowering me from within.”
The empowerment of Christ is the secret to impossible living. Kingdom living, living righteously IS possible. The devil is a liar. He has come to steal, kill and destroy, but greater is the Christ who lives in us. May we be challenged to reach higher. Live by the higher Law that Jesus holds out to you. Let Him take the struggle out of you. Let Him have His way.
That’s what Christianity is about.
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