True & Full Righteousness by Faith Message
The true righteousness by faith message has been rejected by the churches today. The power of the gospel has been denied by the churches and has been replaced with a 'lukewarm' gospel that keeps people in their sins. Even the denomination that was given the true righteousness by faith message through our pioneers have also now rejected it and has become the church of Laodicea.
So what do the churches believe today? That God only cleanses our record of sin, 'imputing' the righteousness of Christ to our record, but leaving us to continue living in sin until Christ returns. Ask any professed Christian today if they will continue to sin until Jesus returns, and the majority of answers will be a resounding yes! But God imputing the righteousness of Christ to our record is only part of the message. In this short study we will give you the FULL message of righteousness by faith, and our foundational text is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ...'And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.'
Was the apostle Paul setting up a standard here that is impossible to attain to? When the apostle said in Hebrews 6:1 that we are to "lay aside the basic principles of the doctrine of Christ and go on unto perfection", was he preaching error? No, because Paul was not looking to himself and his weakness, he was looking to Christ and the power of God to utterly transform a sinner to a saint, look:
Romans 1:16 ...'For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.'
The reason so many professed Christians do not have victory over sin in their lives and do not accept the truth that we CAN be 'preserved blameless unto the coming of Christ', is because they are looking to SELF. They see their weakness and just accept that they will keep on sinning. But what did the apostle Paul say? That the gospel of Christ is the POWER OF GOD unto salvation. The gospel is not the weakness of man! It is the power of God! Do you believe in the power of God? The apostle Paul certainly did, and so do I. Look:
Ezekiel 36:26-27 ...'A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and CAUSE YOU TO WALK in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.'
Jeremiah 31:33 ...'But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.'
Oh! that we would all BELIEVE and EXPERIENCE this!
This is a PROMISE of God, and what did He promise? That HE would cause us to walk in His ways and keep His commands. Did God only promise to help us in part? Did He promise to only go so far in tranforming our lives and stopping there? No, as the apostle Paul said, God is seeking to sanctify us WHOLLY - body, soul and spirit - "preserved blameless unto the coming of Christ." The act of God in putting His law in our inward parts and writing it in our hearts is God changing our characters to be like Christ - to be obedient keepers of His law, which is the very expression of His own character. But this can only be achieved one way - through faith in what God HAS done through His Son Jesus, and in what God WILL do through His Son for us.
1 John 1:9 ...'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'
So many people hold onto the first part of what John said above and believe that righteousness by faith is simply believing that God will forgive us of our sins. But this is only the first step. Yes, God is faithful to forgive the sins we confess. But what did John say that God is also faithful to do? CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness. In forgiving us of our past sins, our record becomes right with God, but it does not change our nature. This is where being converted and born again in the Spirit comes in. As we surrender our lives to Jesus, He comes in and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. This is the whole point of the 2300 day prophecy concerning the cleansing of the sanctuary. Jesus isn't just cleansing our record of sin from the books in heaven, while leaving us in a sinful state on earth. No! Christ is seeking to cleanse the SOUL TEMPLE - "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor.3:16). This is the 'temple' that Christ is seeking to cleanse most of all.
If Christ is only cleansing our record of sin, and we will keep on sinning as so many believe, then Christ will have to stay in heaven forever and never come back, because He will be forever simply cleansing our sin from the books day after day!
Galatians 5:24 ...'And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.'
Romans 6:1-2 ...'What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?'
How much sin can a dead person commit? None, he is dead! Something that is 'crucified' is gone, it is dead, out of the way. So if we belong to Christ, then according to Paul we crucify the flesh with its lusts, which means the flesh is now dead! So how can we say we will continue to live for the flesh in sin if the flesh is to be dead? The problem is we keep holding onto the flesh rather than letting it go, and we lack that all important ingredient - FAITH - Faith that God will change us into the image of His Son and cause us to walk in His ways and keep His commandments, just as He promised to do for all who BELIEVE!
Paul's prayer for God's people was for us to be "sanctified WHOLLY." Not in part, living half for Christ and half for Satan and self, but the whole - our "whole spirit, soul and body." To be "preserved blameless unto the coming of Christ." But what is the key to making this happen? Can we do it ourselves? No, never! There is only one way this can happen:
John 15:5 ...'I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.'
The key is to abide in Christ. But to be able to abide in Christ, we must do what Jesus told us in Matthew 16:24, which is to "deny self, take up our cross and follow Jesus." We must surrender self and crucify self. Just as Jesus surrendered Himself to save us, we must surrender self in order to live for Christ and have that life which is in Christ. And look again what Jesus said in John 15 above. He is the vine and we are the branches. Can the branches bring forth bad fruit from a good vine? Can the branches bring forth different fruit to that which the vine produces? Look how the apostle Peter put it:
1 Peter 2:21-24 ...'For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.'
2 Peter 1:2-4 ...'Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.'
Do you see what Peter is saying? We can be partakers of the divine nature! Which will enable us to do what? Escape the corruption that is in the world through lust! Do you see the clear message? Our fruit should be the fruit of Christ - no sin, no guile, but righteousness! This is the true and full righteousness by faith message - VICTORY over sin through faith! But how do we follow in the steps of Christ? Our lives are to be completely surrendered to Him. We must 'abide in Christ' for Him to be able to perform this work of righteousness in us and through us. Then we can be truly 'dead to sin' which is the experience of the 144,000 in the last days:
Revelation 14:4-5 ...'These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.'
Revelation 14:12 ...'Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.'
1 Corinthians 1:8 ...'Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
Ephesians 5:27 ...'That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.'
Dear friends, this is the TRUE and FULL righteousness by faith message. God does not only 'impute' the righteousness of Christ to our record, He is seeking to impart the righteous character of Christ to our very lives - making us a righteous, holy, commandment keeping people! Remember, we are told that the "just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17). And God has promised to cause us to walk in His ways and keep His commands through faith. He has promised to 'preserve us blameless' unto the coming of Christ, if we would just surrender and BELIEVE. The question is, do you believe? Do you have faith? Because "without faith, it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6). Let me leave you with some Bible verses showing what Christ is able to do for us:
Hebrews 2:17-18 ...'Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.'
Jude 1:24 ...'Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.'
Romans 8:37 ...'In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.'
Proverbs 3:5-6 ...'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and HE shall direct thy paths.'