WHO ARE THE RIGHTEOUS?
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:16-17 AV)
Now we know that there are at least two varieties of “righteous” persons, the truly righteous and the self-righteous. Of which of these righteous is Jesus speaking? I believe both. The truly righteous have already repented, and the self-righteous do not see the need to repent because they maintain a “holy” works program of do’s and don’ts, not looking for God’s forgiveness, but their own and their priests or evil judges.
The great guilt trip placed upon mankind by mankind is a portion of scripture improperly preached with a terrible effect on the human spirit. That text is: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10 AV). When taken as read without study, we may believe that there are really none righteous regardless of their position in Christ. That is what some so-called scholars teach, known as “total depravity”, a false doctrine when referring to God‘s righteous ones. The truth is that the above verse refers to all who are under a legal system, whether Jew or Gentile. In the second chapter of Romans we read: For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) (Romans 2:14-15 AV) The Jews are under the laws of Moses. So, all are under a law, and all are guilty because the keeping of the law is a works program that cannot be attained, for no one can perfectly keep the law. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:20-23 AV)
Note that what is required of those who seek the righteousness of God must attain it by the faith OF Christ, not faith IN Christ. As expected, the New King James Version misses this truth; it says, “faith IN Jesus Christ”. (We cannot trust modern Bible versions which come from corrupted Greek texts). We see here that the righteousness that is of God is shown forth to be by the faith OF Jesus Christ to all them that believe. So it is Christ’s faith that saves us, not ours. If we were saved by OUR faith we would be saved by OUR work. But we are not saved by any of OUR works of righteousness. It is Jesus’ faith working in us who believe. It is also His faith that works in us as we walk with Him, for we possess the Faith OF Christ of whom Paul says, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 AV) So, we see that our righteousness is not IN Christ, but OF Him. And if so, we become part with Him, and He IN us. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:30-31 AV) Also, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:11 AV) It is by Jesus that we are fruitful, not by our faith, but by His faith. Again, see what Paul proclaims: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:9 AV) Again in these texts, the NKJV with each other version says faith IN Christ, this is consistently false, actually a lie by which Christians see themselves as sinners because they do not see that their lives are lived by the faith of Christ, but believe that it is their own (weak) faith that avails for them, and therefore flesh is the basis of their walk, producing the sin they confess. If Christ is not in them, they are not His, and they are still in their sin.
So, now we must determine how Abraham was counted righteous. He believed God who had spoken to Him, and it was the faith OF Christ, Messiah, that moved in him to obey, by which he was counted righteous. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 AV) Jesus is the living Word of God, so again it is by Christ that faith comes to us.
But do we not have faith of our own? Yes, we do. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3 AV) This ‘measure of faith’ provides all men access to the Word of God that they might hear and believe unto righteousness, as did Abraham. It takes the faith of Christ in a person to obey the Word. This is where faith without works (obedience) is dead.
Now who will obey? Those who ask for God’s Holy Ghost in which to walk, for if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. In this situation, we are like Abraham, righteous, because we not only believe God, but also obey Him. We have an advantage over Abraham because we have God’s written Word which teaches us of Jesus Christ through His disciples’ accounts according to the truth of God’s Spirit. This is an advantage to us, but it also demands more from us, But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48 AV)
Abraham is not the only account of righteousness through faith we know in the Old Testament. The following are some other examples:
And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (Genesis 7:1 AV)
And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6 AV)
The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. (Psalms 34:17 AV)
The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory. (Psalms 64:10 AV)
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:41-43 AV)
For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:17 AV) The righteous of old longed to know what we know through the revelations of the Holy Ghost who has taught us the things of Christ, and through God’s Living Word, the Lord Himself.
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5 AV) The Saints of the Old Covenant had hope as we do, that Christ (Messiah) would come for all His people.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9 AV) We ‘see’ Jesus as He offered the sacrifice of His blood for the satisfaction for our sin debt in the presence of all the holy angels. The righteous before the cross, under the law, ‘saw’ the blood of bulls and of lambs, a shadow of what would come, shed for the remission of their sins. They had to struggle with their sins year by year because the Holy Ghost was not yet given to dwell within their ‘temple’ (not made with hands) with whom they could walk to keep them in holiness before God.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Matthew 23:27-28 AV)
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24 AV)
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, (1 Timothy 1:9 AV)
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (1 Peter 3:12 AV)
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (1 John 3:7 AV)
So, where are you in this righteous work of God in your life? If you are saved, you need to ask your Heavenly Father for His Holy Spirit, according to Luke 11:13. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13 AV) If you are not saved, then you should recognize that you have no part in the righteousness which is required to enter God’s kingdom, and repent of your sin, and invite Jesus Christ to forgive you, and give Him your life for His purposes. Here only will you find peace with the Father who will give you His Holy Spirit if you ask Him with a desire to serve Him forever. Do not put off this most important act of your life; today is the day of salvation; there will be a tomorrow that will be too late. Which tomorrow it will be you cannot know. Be saved today.
Way Truth Life Ministry http://www.wtlministry.org 10-12-2001