RighteousnessBro. David Chancellor
11/23/2008 11:00 AM
Romans 9:30-33; 10:1-11
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
"What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness." Those that weren’t looking for it, found it; those that were looking for it, didn’t find it. The Gentiles found righteousness when they believed; the Jews followed the law of righteousness, but never got there because of their lack of faith. Christ is where we find the righteousness of God. Paul wanted them to be saved, but realized they needed a different approach. Because of their ignorance of God’s righteousness, they went about establishing their own and didn’t submit to God.
When men establish their own righteousness today, they’re not submitted to God. If you’re writing your own rules and requirements, you’re not submitted to God. Spiritual life doesn’t come through religious works. Many people do penance to try to establish their own righteousness. Penance won’t bring life to your soul, nor will it correct your character to make it right or just. Some take the route of self-flagellation. You won’t find life in this. Others look for it in philanthropy, but it won’t bring life in your soul. Religious activity won’t bring life or righteousness. The only way to change is through Jesus Christ.
"But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)" Jesus already came and is already here. You aren’t able, of your own strength, to bring him down. Jesus came when God sent him, and if we’ll believe on him, we’ll have righteousness. Faith is something we receive; it’s simply trusting God to do what he said he’d do. Both righteousness and unrighteousness are "heart and mouth" things. When God saves the soul, a change is made in the life. Salvation can’t be earned; it is a gift from Christ. Will power isn’t strong enough to overcome the character within.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We couldn’t bring life to our souls or change our character. God can change us because we’re his creation. Christ creates the righteousness. The righteousness brings good works. Righteousness by the works of the law brings boasting. When salvation is received by faith, our boasting will be Jesus Christ. If Jesus leaves, the righteousness is done. By the grace of God, you can leave a testimony for the next generation. If you would have life, it is in the righteousness of God. Believe that what God said, he will do.