Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Righteouness Of Faith

But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?  (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead,). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. Romans 10:6-12 NKJV

I’m always amazed at the simplicity of God’s word, and how it produces extraordinary things when we apply it to our lives.  So often there are people who think in order for the word of God to have an effect in their lives, it requires multiple, task wrenching, religious tactics; tactics that have been told to them by the religious people around them but does not profit any into salvation.  Paul calls it in the book of Romans 10:2 “having a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.”  It’s when someone remains strong and enthusiastic for God, but all that strength and enthusiasm is without knowledge.  He continues to say: Romans 10:3-5 “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law. “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

Paul helps us to understand how sometimes in our enthusiasm for God we forsake knowledge; that is we forsake the truth of His grace giving to us through His word and the life of Christ Jesus.  When we forsake the knowledge of God we tend to establish our own knowledge, our own rightness; because we have not completely submitted ourselves to the knowledge of God; which is to His rightness.  

I remember my earlier experience in the church as a newly born again Christian, I was excited and ready to conquer the world in the name of the Lord.  I felt, since I was going to church hearing the word and allowing the more seasoned women to steer me I would be good and well prepared to live out my life in the Lord and establish great things in this world.  But suddenly something took place in my life that almost took the excitement away, because although I was excited about God I had no real knowledge of God's word, I only had what was instructed to me by others. Suddenly, I found myself in a ritual of religious righteousness, one that taught me to be careful that my skirt wasn’t too high above my ankles, if I joked too much it was a sin because I was being idol and I was never to forget as a woman I had my place-this was certainly mentioned in every service so I could feel the wrath of my inferiority.  Not to mention if I didn’t shout according to how those steering me thought, something was wrong and perhaps I was slipping away from salvation but if I shouted too much then I must have sinned or was going through something extreme and had to be laid across the alter.  There was this whole list of rituals that had no salvation in it because the focus was more own religious laws then on the righteousness of God and while they meant well their tactics made many feel as though it was hard to serve God, live according to His word, and reap the goodness He has laid out for us.  They had one foot in the laws of the old testament and the other in the grace and faith of the new testament, and while there are things we must learn from the old we should know that we are no longer bond by the laws of the old testament and therefore should not bond others by those same laws.  I had almost became so focused on getting my outward appearance acceptable to those around me that my inward appearance had almost gone neglected and I almost lost sight of what really mattered which is the salvation of Christ Jesus and how that salvation effects my confession and how I believe.  Anytime you allow religious tactics to guide you in your walk instead of finding that intimate place with God, so He can teach you how to live; you risk loosing sight of what really matters.    (To be continued)

Grace & peace

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