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Right Standing With God

I wish above all things that thou mayest
prosper and be in health, even as thy
soul prospereth…
The Apostle John

Listen, I have Good News. Christianity is all about being right with God, not about being right with others. Getting right with others will come later. Let's concentrate on getting right with God. This is what counts.

OUR FEELING OF UNWORTHINESS

Christians are those who are made right with God. It should be Good News that being right with God does not happen by what we do or don't do. It is not up to us to become right with God. Righteousness is something that God gives to us. It is all about Him and not us!

We feel unworthy because of our past. Fear grips our heart, telling us that we can never be right with God because of past mistakes. We become angry at God, ourselves and others because He made life too difficult. We blame God and others for our mistakes, instead of taking responsibility for our choices. We feel that God must be punishing us, instead of realizing we are reaping what we have sown.

Sometimes we find it impossible to forgive ourselves, much less receive God's forgiveness. We become overly responsible, accepting too much blame and waiting around for judgment from an angry God. This is condemnation, the expectation of judgment and damnation. We feel rejected not only by God, but by everyone else.

We say, "How could God love me after what I have done?" This voice is not from God, but has become ours from the devil whose main purpose is to bring fear, torment, pain, guilt and anguish. Our thoughts are contrary to God's. Our own wrong doings brought this torment upon ourselves. We live in fear that things are just not right between God and us.

All the time, we are blinded to the fact that it is acknowledging God's love for us that brings peace of mind. Unbelief towards God keeps us in bondage, unstable, and not understanding that God accepts us just the way we are with all our faults. He desires for us to know and experience His great love, peace and acceptance. Faith in the finished work of Jesus is what pleases God. He is not angry at you! Will you believe what He says?

NOT WHAT WE DO

We do not become righteous by going to church or by even giving to the poor. In other words, we do not become righteous by our own works. The only way we can become righteous is by the actions of God. His plan makes us righteous, so it comes down to us trusting in God's plan. This should not only be Good News, but great news! What is God's plan for us?

His plan is related in the Holy Bible. This is where we get our facts for life. His plan seems too good to be true, but is in fact freeing, loving, kind and generous. The prophet Isaiah asks, "Who has believed our report?" (53:1). Believing God's report causes us to feel right about God and ourselves, because we are made right with God by doing His will. Doing His will always leads to a life of peace and happiness, no matter what situation we face or circumstance we find ourselves in. God's will is that we believe in His Son (John 6:40).

On the other hand, the enemy has a plan, consisting of the world, the flesh and the devil. The world bases our identity on our performance. We try to live life by our own strength, self-will, in the flesh. The devil is the one who tempts us in every way to do it his way. His voice tells us that we can make it by our own ability, if we will just listen to him.

Our nature tells us that our performance can provide us with everything we need. We are convinced that we are sufficient in ourselves and without a need for God's help. This works-oriented concept expects us to keep the commandments of God to be righteous. In reality, if our righteousness is based on keeping the law of God, we would be lost forever, never obtaining salvation. The fact being that righteousness or right standing with God comes only by the finished work of the cross, not by our fleshly ability.

One paraphrase of Romans 8:5-8 says, "Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action for them find that God's Spirit is in them, living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what He is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored" (Patterson, Eugene H., "The Message", Navpress, Copyright 1994).

Often, we confuse head knowledge of the Bible for spiritual understanding. By mistake, we base our righteousness on how well we know the doctrines of God. Like the Pharisees, our lives become one big argument with everyone we see, instead of a loving relationship with God and others (See Diagram#1).

LIVING BY FAITH

In the book of 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul encour-ages us concerning many matters, two being: walking by faith and not by sight (5:7) and judging no one after the flesh (5:16). As Christians, we are to see one another as new creations in Christ. We are left to our own selfish judgments; unless we know Christ.

We are to see one another as God sees us. He sees us through the cleansing blood of Jesus, through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son. He sees us not only cleansed, but risen with His Son and seated beside Him in heaven. He sees us forgiven, made righteous and complete by the work of the cross.

This view of God comes as we see the revelation of Jesus Christ. This revelation (vision, unveiling or disclosure) of Jesus is what He did at Calvary to purchase us from our slavery to the world, the flesh and the devil. This happens when the Holy Spirit awakens us by removing the blindness from our spiritual eyes and giving us the understanding of what Jesus Christ did 2000 years ago.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus saying, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, That being justified [made righteous] by his grace [God's ability], we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (3:5-7 emphasis added).

At this point, we begin to see others as we see ourselves. God did this great thing for us, and He did it for them too. Because God's grace is no respecter of persons, we see others cleansed, forgiven and made righteous as well. We cease to judge after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Compassion comes into our lives with a desire to pray for the needs of others as we see their suffering.

Living by faith is living an abundant life from God's point of view. Seeing everyone and everything as God sees it. As we believe His report, new possibilities come to light. People, places and things are overcome by God's promises. We no longer see things as we once did, but now see things from God's point of view, seated with Him in heaven.

WHO IS GOD?

God is love. The prophet Jeremiah says, "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (31:3).

The Apostle John writes, "See how much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!" (1 John 3:1a NLT). Again, "God showed us how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him" (1 John 4:9 NLT).

The problem is also revealed by John, "There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18).

God's love brings salvation according to the Apostle Paul, "…God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8 NLT). Again, "But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's special favor that you have been saved!)" (Ephesians 2:4,5 NLT).

Truly it is as Jesus says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

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