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The Truth And The Many Misconceptions About Righteousness


I used to think that salvation had nothing to do with works. I didn't realize that Jesus has really set us free from sin so we can do good works. We were unable to do good works, but, through Christ, we can now do good works. I didn't realize that Jesus gives us the free gift of righteousness, and the righteousness that Jesus gives is real. Then, I realized that righteousness is actually something that Jesus does in us. Our part is to yield to Him. Our part is submission.

At the same time I had this attitude, I was trying to do good. That seems like it doesn't make sense because it doesn't make sense. I had my interpretation of the law. It was my idea of right and wrong, and I drew the proverbial line in the sand. Of course, we all know how the line in the sand works. You stand as close to the line as you can. You know you can cross that line. Oddly, you can move it since you drew it in the first place and it's just a line in the sand. Now I realize that people who live by rules and principles ask strange questions. "How much good do have to do for it to be enough?" "How bad do I have to be before I'm too bad?" "This sin keeps coming back into my life. Have I gone so long that God can't forgive me?" The person who walks in the Spirit never asks these types of questions. The person who walks in the Spirit asks, "How can I get closer to you, my Lord, so that You can work Your works through me more completely?" "How can I deepen my relationship with You, Jesus, and come to know you better?"

It has become popular to ask ourselves the question, "What would Jesus do?" Then we try to figure out what Jesus would do. Maybe we even look at the law in the Bible to figure this out. Maybe we just try to rationalize an answer to the question. Once we have our answer, we use our human effort to try to obey our new law. The Israelites heard God's voice directly, then they heard the law directly from Moses. Yet, they were unable to obey the law. The weakness of the flesh didn't let them obey God's laws. Pretty soon they were rationalizing new rules and laws that they liked better than God's laws. Jesus wants to tell us what to do and He wants to do the works through us. This is not self-effort. This is yielding to the anointing of God.

I once thought that the reason that the New Testament encouraged us to do good works was because we are so thankful that we want to do something for God. I was always careful to make a mental distinction so that I didn't think that I was earning my salvation. The Bible is clear in stating that we can't earn our salvation. So I was trying to do things that are righteous and good as sort of a gift to God. Then, the Holy Spirit brought the Scripture to me that says that our righteousness is like filthy rags to God. It was then that I realized that I didn't want to bring my filthy rags as a gift to God. God wants a soul that is turned over to Him, a soul that He can cleanse. He doesn't want filthy rags.


Last updated: Oct, 2011
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