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Building up believers and the New Testament church

The Righteousness of Faith

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT GOD REQUIRES

If the goal is God Himself, then what is the righteousness required to enter into this fellowship with God? If we simply stop and consider that question, it will be very obvious that nothing we do can make us righteous enough to enter into union with Almighty God. His righteousness so far surpasses our righteousness that ours is "filthy rags." It cannot begin to be compared with His holiness.  We are entirely unworthy to draw near to Him.

Can we all agree that God does not change? He is the great "I Am," eternal in His attributes. From eternity past to eternity future, the nature and character of God is the same. Thus there is no "God of the Old Testament" and "God of the New Testament." He is the same God in both. We may not understand all of His dealings with men over the history of time, but if God changes, we have no God and our faith is in vain. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). God is everything He says He is, and this statement is all-inclusive. Whatever we may or may not understand, let us be sure of this foundation. Only then can we respond in faith, diligently come before Him who changes not, and be sure that we will not be disappointed.

To be able to enter into fellowship with God, we must be brought up to "His level," so to speak. That takes a miracle, and only God can produce that miracle in us. The resources lie in God alone. Only in His mercy and mighty power of grace can a divine work be done in us that will allow us to enter into union and fellowship with Him. Yet this is what Calvary is all about! God knew what it would take to make this fellowship possible, and Christ was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

So what does man need? Man needs a new nature, a nature like God's. How has God chosen to do this? Listen to the words of Peter: "Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:1-4).

Peter says that by the great and precious promises of God, we have become partakers of the divine nature, and thus are made righteous by the work of God. What are these promises? Are they not: 1) the promise of the Savior, and 2) the promise of the Holy Spirit? Both of these are God Himself. Jesus paid the price for sin and opened the door so that the Holy Spirit may come within us. In the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God brings His very presence within these temples of clay and now His life (righteousness) flows from the inside out. It is no longer trying to be righteous by doing things. It is living in His life and righteousness.