I’d like to welcome you to the first meeting of our online conference entitled “Our Greatest Need”. And tonight I will be taking you through a presentation, the first one on our list of programs entitled, “Our Need of Righteousness”. But before we do that, let us turn to our key text found in the book of Romans chapter six and verse seven. We read, “For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
As we consider this topic this evening, I would like to invite you to kneel with me now as we asked for the Lord to be here with us and to bless us with the Sprit. Gracious loving Father, we come to you in the hours of the Sabbath here as we ask for your presence to be amongst us. Your Spirit to guide us and teach us understanding as we we open up our hearts to hear Your voice speaking to us through your word. And we pray that you may give us direction. And as we go through these different subjects on our greatest need, we pray that it may draw each of us to a closer and deeper experience with you. We pray for your blessing now and for all those that are watching, be with them and touch their hearts as well. We thank you for your love, and most importantly for the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Well, to begin with, I’d like to welcome again, everyone here that are watching all across Australia, and over as far as New Zealand and maybe across the world. I invite you to join us in this first presentation entitled, our need of righteousness. And so I’d like to begin with asking you a question. And how we’re going to proceed with this presentation is that although we’re looking at our need of righteousness, what I want to do is present in the form of questions. And in the end, hopefully we can be able to discern and answer this question, do we need the righteousness of Christ? Do we find in our own heart that longing for for something that we don’t have? A righteousness that surpasses what we have experienced in our life so far? So with that in mind, I want to ask you this question, do you have the righteousness of Christ? And this is what we’re going to be looking at. And we’re going to be dividing it up in just two sections. We’re going to be looking at righteousness in the sense of pardon, and then righteousness in the sense of a principle.
Now our need of righteousness is going to be under the umbrella of some key concepts, some key ideas that we’ve gone over many times in the past. And I pray that as we look at it from this particular perspective, the perspective of righteousness in relation to forgiveness or pardon, and righteousness as a principle, that we may be able to gain some new insights, and God will lead and touch your hearts. So let’s begin. And I want to take you to just what we probably could, take for granted. And this question is, Why do we need righteousness? Now, I’m not going to spend much time here; as believing Christians, we all realize the the essential importance of righteousness and the need for righteousness. But just let’s have a look at a couple texts. I’m going to take you to the first one, which is found in Romans chapter three, verses 10 to 12. And we’re looking at this in in light of the question, Why do we need righteousness? And this is what also Paul states about our need, or our condition. And he states in these words in Romans 3:10; “There is none righteous, no, not one. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable. There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” And the Apostle Paul here, he identifies very clearly, as he’s building here an argument for the necessity of the righteousness of Christ and why this righteousness is needed for every single human being. He makes this statement in support of his argument, that there is no one that actually does good. No one that that is righteous, no one that does good or seeks after God. In fact, he says they’ve all gone out of the way. And I believe what Paul’s describing here is, the condition of the natural heart, devoid of the presence of the abiding Prince and God in their life.
Now further on in Matthew, chapter five, verse 20, if you go with me there, Jesus, in fact, tells us that righteousness is absolutely essential if one would enter into the kingdom of heaven. We read here what Jesus says. He says, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And you notice here that Jesus makes it very clear that condition of entrance into the kingdom of heaven is that we have to have a righteousness. And he described the quality of this righteousness, and that it was greater than the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees of his day. And you probably remember the texts in Revelation chapter three and verse 17, where Jesus describes the condition of the church, the church in the end of the world. Revelation chapter three and verse 17. And in descriptive language there Jesus identifies speaking to us today that we have a need, and there is a great need of a righteousness. And we read verse 17, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind, and naked.” And we understand from Bible language that that reference there to being naked, is void or not having on the robe of righteousness, Christ garments of righteousness. And so he says to the church in the last generation, he says that you have a need, aside from a few other needs, the need of being clothed. And that’s reference to righteousness. And you remember Matthew chapter 11:22, Jesus gives a parable of a man that was among many people invited to the wedding. The father of the bride, he comes in to examine the guests and he noticed one man without his wedding garment on and he questions him there. And he asked him, How did you come in without a wedding garment? In the context of this parable, we understand that Jesus is teaching us here, the necessity of being clothed with righteousness, something that is given to us as a gift, just like the wedding gown was given to the guests. And they were to wear it as they entered. And finally, Jesus, in the sermon of the Mount in Matthew chapter six, verse 33, he says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” And so Jesus is admonishes there, out of all the things that we’re to consider and to be concerned about, there are two things he lists. The first one is the kingdom of God. And the second one is the righteousness of God. And this is to be above everything else. If you read the preceding verses, he’s talking about food, he’s talking about shelter, he’s talking about clothes, where you live. But he says, above all these things seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness. And so we’re not going to go on but we realize that is essential if we are to one day spend eternity with God, there is a need that we must be clothed and covered in righteousness that is not our own.
But that’s not really the focus. I want to look at our need, but I want to have a look at righteousness and how we receive that righteousness in terms of pardon. So let’s go to our first section out of the two, righteousness in light of pardon, and righteousness as a principle. And we find the first one in Romans chapter four, verse six to eight. Where the Apostle Paul connects the idea of righteousness with the idea of pardon or being forgiven of sin. It is closely connected with the idea of being a recipient of righteousness, or when righteousness has been imputed. The effect of that is that sin has been forgiven. I want you to notice here Paul referring to what David describes here as righteousness, being part of it. Romans chapter four, and we’re going to read from verse six to eight. And Apostle Paul says, “Even as David also described the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputed righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquites are forgiven and whose sins a covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Now, I just want to pull out a couple of points from there. The Apostle Paul begins by saying, David describes the blessedness of the one whom God imputes righteousness to. Now Paul is taking from the book of Psalms and he’s using David to support what it means and what it is to have righteousness imputed to us. And what he takes from the book of Psalms is where David says blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
So I wanted to recap here how Paul understands imputed righteousness. Paul describes imputed righteousness from taking what David says and supporting his argument. Imputed righteousness is the forgiving of sins, or the covering of sin. That’s what Paul understands, or at least he describes imputed righteousness is what happens when one is forgiven, and one is pardoned from all their sin. And we go to Luke chapter 18 verse 14. And Jesus gives an example here of a story that took place in the temple. And as we look into this text, we also find that he outlines this same point. It says, “And the publican standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” And Jesus goes on now to tell the rest of the story. He says, I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. Now the key points you want to have a look at is this man’s request, and what Jesus said was the result. His request was for mercy, because he recognized that he is a sinner. And what Jesus says happened as a result of that request, is that he was justified. Now, in the Greek that word justified means to regard as righteous in a legal sense, or in a judicial sense it means to regard as innocent. So this man goes into the temple, this publican, and he asked God for mercy because he’s a sinner, and what does he get? While it says that he’s justified. In Greek, the main meaning of that word justified is rendered, to be regarded as righteous, or to be regarded as innocent. So I just want you to back up with me here a little bit and consider what’s going on. The two men that go into the temple, one of them, Jesus said, he begins to pray. And he begins to tell of all the good things that he’s done. And thank the Lord that is not like other people. In other words, he’s sharing how righteous he is. And he’s listing all his good deeds, and then he’s listing the ones that he’s not doing, the negative that he’s not doing, compared to this man that comes in and recognizes that he’s a sinner and he pleads for mercy. And Jesus said, the only one that left that place that day that God imputed righteousness to, which was in this case the forgiveness of sin, was the one that recognized that he was a sinner, and cried out to God for mercy. And you find this rendering of this word “justified” in quite a few texts in the Bible. What it means is to be regarded as righteous, or to be seen as innocent. Some examples there in Luke chapter 16, verse 15, where Jesus speaks to the Pharisees and he says in verse 15, “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” The highlighted word there where it says ye are they which justify, that word again from the Greek is to make yourself or to consider yourself to be righteous. And Jesus said, this is what the Pharisees were about. They were making himselves to appear as if they were righteous.
In Revelation chapter 22, verse 11, that same idea is captured there. It says “He that is just let him be just still and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still and he that is righteous let him be righteous still.” And that second phrase “let him be righteous still” is that same word, which in the parable Jesus used, the word justify in Revelation is translated to be righteous, let him be righteous still. And the point here that I want to bring out, is that when we think of righteousness, to be righteous, to be imputed righteous, I want to connect thoroughly with the idea of being forgiven and pardoned. Now, the question that we need to ask in light of this is question is, are you and I forgiven? Because the received the righteousness of Christ cannot be separated from being forgiven, or your sins being covered, or as the Bible uses the language to be cleansed or washed. To be to receive the righteousness of Christ to be filled with righteousness cannot be a separate event to being declared righteous. Neither can it be a separate event to the forgiveness of sin.
I want to have a look at here forgiveness, what forgiveness looks like. And I’m going to look at three different different thoughts to see what forgiveness looks like, how we can be forgiven. And thirdly, what is the means by which we receive pardon. So first one, what does forgiveness look like? And I’ve been considering as I’ve been studying for this, and some other things I’ve meditating on recently on the question of forgiveness; have we have we received forgiveness and what is forgiveness is really like? Or do we question whether God has really forgiven us. And this really comes into into perspective when we think about this topic, our need of righteousness. Because really when we break down what righteousness is, we find righteousness has two things. Righteousness is pardon, being accounted as just or righteous. And two, it’s a principle that works within the life and expresses itself in obedience to the law of God. So the question is, have we experienced what it is to be forgiven?
Let’s have a look at the first one. What does forgiveness look like? You know, I’ve got two verses here. I want to take you to Luke chapter seven, verse 47. And notice with me here as we go to Simon’s feast, Jesus sitting around the table, and a woman enters, who had been shown great mercy in the past. And she wanted to express her gratitude for what had been done to her by Jesus. And she, makes her way to where Jesus is. And you remember she took that expensive bottle of ointment, broke it, poured it over his feet and and washed his feet with her hair. And there’s a little bit of commotion amongst some of the disciples. Simon didn’t verbalize it at the time, but Judas and and some of the others did. And Jesus makes a very interesting statement here regarding forgiveness. Read with me verse 47, he says, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins be forgiven.” Now I want you to consider here what he’s saying. This woman, it says had great sins, and she was forgiven much. And as a result of being forgiven much, Jesus says she loved much. And then he compared it to those that are forgiven little, their responses in return, they only love a little. And so what does forgiveness look like? Forgiveness in this story looks like a woman that was filled with love. Not only just love, but a woman that was filled with “much” love. When we think about forgiveness, which is really the righteousness of Christ, when we see the righteousness of Christ, that’s when we’re forgiven of our sin. When we think about forgiveness, forgiveness always has a response. It always has an influence and effect upon the person. In this case, this woman, her only response in this case was an outward expression of the love to the one in which she received the forgiveness. So what does forgiveness look like? In this case, forgiveness looks like an unbounded expression of love to the one that is giving the forgiveness.
I want to have a look at another example in Romans chapter five verses one and two. And the reason why I want to bring these out these these points is because I want you to ask yourself and consider in your own experience, whether whether you righteousness. When you have the righteousness of Christ all you need to receive is that righteousness. And what we’re looking at is what that righteousness really is in a practical sense. So far righteousness is forgiveness, the pardoning of our sin where we are made righteous, where we are considered to be regarded as if we were righteous. So let’s have a look at the second example of what forgiveness looks like in a person that received forgiveness, and what is the response of a person that has been forgiven? Romans chapter five verses one and two. Paul here describes what forgiveness is going to be like when one receives that forgiveness. And remember here he’s using the word justified, which is the receiving of righteousness, or the pardoning or the making/declaring one to be as if they hadn’t sinned. He says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God.”
So the first thing he identifies here is that the result or the fruit of being justified or pardoned is there is a peace, a peace in the soul between us and between God. And then he goes on to say, “By whom also we have access by faith into the grace wherein we stand.” And then he adds the second point, “and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” What does forgiveness look like? What is what is, what is it like to be forgiven? The first example is that someone that has truly received the righteousness of Christ and the forgiveness of sins that the righteousness of Christ brings, has a love that is unbounded. You think about what that woman went through to bring and express that love that she had to Jesus. Not only did she have to go into a place where a party or feast was going on, but she had to come to Jesus, she had to come down, kneel down and make a scene in order to express the love which she had for the one that had forgiven her. And the second example here is that love, that forgiveness, brings about a certain peace, a certain calmness in the soul between us and God. And then thirdly, it brings about a state of rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.
So I’m going to go back to that question, are you forgiven? Because forgiveness, forgiveness is not simply a judicial act, in which God clears out names in a record, and then at the end of time when a record is again brought up, then we will be called to enter into eternal life. But forgiveness is something that’s real, that actually impacts and affects who we are in our daily life. In these cases, it had such a profound effect that people were willing to go out of their way to show and express that love for the forgiveness that they received. And then we’re told here that it brings about a certain peace of relationship, a drawing back together between us and God, and a rejoicing. So when you ask that question, have you been forgiven? Let me ask it in this way. Do you have an unbounded love for Jesus Christ who has given you forgiveness? Do you have a sense of peace? There’s no conflict between you and God, that God is is like a father to you. Do you rejoice in hope knowing that one day You will see the glory of God? This is what forgiveness means. This is what forgiveness is about. It’s an experience that we have, that we can’t keep to ourselves, that we can’t close up our hearts.
So the next question is, how can we be forgiven? In other words, how do we receive righteousness? Because when righteousness is imputed to us, we are basically forgiven. We’re accounted as if we hadn’t sinned or we hadn’t been guilty of sin. There’s no more no condemnation then to them that are in Christ, Paul says. Let’s have a look at first john, chapter one, verse nine. On what basis can we receive that righteousness, which frees us from sin, from the whole past of everything that we’ve ever done? First John, chapter one, verse nine, we read there, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful, and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Notice what’s in this verse. This verse is very small, but it’s packed with so much promise of what God’s going to do. It begins by saying if we confess: and that’s what the publican did in order for him to receive forgiveness and be considered righteous, he confessed. And what did he confess? He confessed that he was in need of mercy. He confessed that he was a sinner, unworthy. And as a result he received the righteous that was imputed to Him. In other words, he was forgiven. And what does it say here? That if we confess, it says he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse from all unrighteousness
Let’s turn to Romans chapter four verses 21 to 24. Here is this question of how we can be forgiven and receive that righteousness. And when I say receive righteousness, I’m referring to forgiveness. When I talk about forgiveness, I’m talking about receiving an imputed righteousness of Christ. Turn with me to Romans chapter four, verses 21 to 24. And we’re reading the experience here of Abraham, when Abraham received the promise of having a son. And Paul picks up the story in verse 21. “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to Him for righteousness. Now, it is not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” Notice here, the end result is that Abraham is imputed with the righteousness of God, which means he was declared to be innocent. He was accounted as one that had never sinned; declared to be righteous. How did that come about? How did he receive that? It says being fully persuaded; there was a certain confidence, a certain belief, a certain trust, that what God had promised, he was also able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to Him for righteousness. So Abraham had faith and trust that what God had said would happen, would happen. And guess what happened? He was forgiven. He was accounted as righteous. The righteousness of Christ was imputed to his account. Because he believed that God was faithful.
Now I want to go back and ask you that question; Are you forgiven? Have you received the righteousness of Christ? The question might be better asked, do we believe that God is faithful and able to forgive me for what I have done in the past? For every sin, every wrong action, every wrong deed, every wrong word, every wrong thought, and to place me in a standing before God. Like I’ve never sinned in my whole life. That’s how it says that Abraham received that righteousness. He believed that God was faithful to what he said. So the question here is, do we believe that God today will do the same as what he did for Abraham? When we believe that God is faithful to His word, and we confess and ask for mercy because we are sinners, do we believe that God is faithful to to to impute His righteousness and to cleanse our sin? Notice there that verse 24 says it wasn’t written for his sake alone. That’s how he received the righteousness, but it was given to us and to those to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. And so how do we receive righteousness or how do we receive Pardon? It is by believing, we must believe that God will be faithful, that he will impute that righteousness to those that confess and believe that he will do it.
Alright, so finally, let’s have a look at the means by which we receive pardon. Romans chapter one, verse seventeen, Paul stated very simply, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written… Notice that he’s referring to a group of people, the ones that are that are declared righteous, the ones that stand right vindicated before God. He says, “The just shall live by faith.” Their experience, how they become just, was through an experience of believing God. And they remain just by continuing to believe that God is faithful to perform that which He has promised. Now, what is the means by which God can justly justify the sinner? In Romans chapter three and verse 24, it says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are passed, through the forbearance of God.” Why is God able to give you righteousness, which clears your name from all your past sins right now and right today, when you believe? Why is God able to do that? Well, according to Romans here, it says, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation”. It’s because of the death and the life of Jesus Christ, His righteous life, and his death, his sacrifice, that God can justly acquit from sin, all of us who believe. And he can aquit us by imputing to us the righteousness of the life of Jesus Christ. But there’s a condition. There’s a condition upon which we receive this forgiveness, all this imputed righteousness. Now the means by which we obtain is through faith. We believe that God is faithful. But there is a condition that must be met in order that we might receive that righteousness. I want you to have a look here. Romans chapter six and verse seven. Here’s our key text. It says, “For he that is dead, is freed from sin.” Now that word “freed” there is that same word that Jesus used in the parable, when it says that the men that went home he was justified or regarded as righteous. Here’s that same word and it is translated “freed from sin”. I’ll put it in the context of the Greek here, he that is dead, is regarded as righteous. That’s what the word is, to be freed, to be considered innocent, or to be regarded as righteous. And Paul says that the condition for us to be righteous, to receive that imputed righteousness, is there first must be a death. For he that is dead, is freed from sin. Freed from the bondage of sin. Free from your history, from our wrongs, from our past. But thats on condition of death. So, in order to receive the imputed righteousness of Christ, there must be faith. There must be death. There must be a righteousness that God has to offer us in exchange for our sin. That’s what imputed righteousness is. And that’s how we receive imputed righteousness.
Now righteousness is not just, as I mentioned, not just a judicial act in which God acquits us. And he writes over our name, guilt free, or pardoned or acquitted. The imputed righteousness of Christ does something more than just place us in a right standing before God. We listed a couple already. It not only brings an expression of love, that can’t be hidden, it brings about a peace and it brings about a sense of joy, a sense of delight and a hoping to see the glory of God. But it is also something further. And I want to have a look at that righteousness as a principle. Not only righteousness, as in the aspect of being pardoned, but righteousness as a principle that is implanted in the heart. Now righteousness in the Bible is often spoken of using the context of one’s relationship to the law. And the example is this. It said that we are righteous when we’re forgiven. And we’re in harmony with the law. When we’re forgiven, or made righteous, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our account when we’re forgiven or pardoned. We’re considered as no longer in conflict with the law of God. We don’t stand in war anymore with the principles of the law of God. The apostle Paul speaks to that, in Romans chapter eight he refers to the natural heart as the carnal heart, but then he refers to the new life after righteousness has been imputed. And justification is the experience, that now we walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. And now we fulfill righteousness. Our life begins a path way of living out what that righteousness is. We consider Christ as righteous, because he did no sin and therefore he was righteous.
If you look through the Bible, the word righteous is often in relation to what is declared about someone in relation to standing for a principle of right. And we know that principle of right and and holiness is the principle of the law of God. So the law of God is the standard, and when the word righteousness is used, it’s always used towards someone in reference to their relationship to that law. So if God has declared someone righteous, that means they’re in harmony with the principles of that law, because that is the standard of right. When they’re outside of those principles, when they’re against or even rebelling against that law, they are said to be unrighteous or a sinner, because they’re in opposition to the principle of righteousness. And so I want to ask, in light of this, what is the law? And in the past, we’ve considered and heard some studies on the law and its relationship to the principle of love. In fact, Jesus used this example, in Matthew chapter 22, verses 36-40. A man came to him and asked him the question, about which is the great commandment in all the law. “Master, which is the great commandment in the law. Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” And so Jesus here in a nutshell, he basically said that everything in relation to the law can be summed up in this one principle. In this one principle of love, love to God and love to men, is everything that the law is written about. And everything that the prophets have said, can be summed up in this one thing. And so the foundation of the law is founded on what we might call the principle of love itself. So righteousness is the measurement of one’s relationship to the principle of God’s love. If the law can be summed up in love to God and love to men, and righteousness is referred to an individual to describe their relationship to that law, then basically when one is righteous, they’re in harmony with that principle, the principle of that law. And righteousness, as I mentioned before, righteousness is far more than just forgiveness. Righteousness, as you’ll notice here, is about a change in the heart itself, the implanting of a principle. And so as we look at the law, and what is the principle of the law, according to Jesus here, Matthew 22 is a principle of love.
I want you to notice here this next quote taken from Mount of Blessings, page 114 paragraph 1. “God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act, by which he sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness of sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming the Love that transforms the heart.” And she goes on to say David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.” And again, he says as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions. What she is saying here is that forgiveness, or the imputed righteousness of Christ is not only just the mere forgiveness of sin, the declaring us to be in a right standing, but it has a real effect upon the life itself. And she says it is not just forgiveness of sin, but the reclaiming from sin. David had the right understanding of what forgiveness is when he prayed “create in me a clean heart, oh God”. And that’s taken from Psalm 51 when David prayed after his great sin and he asked God to forgive him. As part of that prayer of forgiveness, he not only asks for forgiveness of the sin that is committed, but he also prays that God will create a new heart in him.
And lets turn to our next one in RH Aug 19, 1819, “To be pardoned in the way that Christ pardons is not only to be forgiven, but to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. The Lord says, ‘A new heart will I give unto thee.’ The image of Christ is to be stamped upon the very mind, heart, and soul.” What does it mean to be imputed with the righteousness of Christ? Well, it means forgiveness, it means right standing with God, but it also means a new heart. A new beginning. And not only does it just mean a new heart, but further it goes on, that the principle that comes as a result of the imputed righteousness of Christ is a principle that begins to work out the righteousness of Christ in our life. Turn with me to Jermiah 31:33, and I want you to notice here as the verses confirm, that it’s far greater than just a simple forgiveness. The covenant that the Lord will make with the house of Israel. “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.” What does it say here? I, that’s the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts… Now go back; what is the law? What is the foundation of that law? It’s the principle of love. So what is God promising in the covenant experience? When we receive forgiveness and his righteousness is imputed to us, what is he promising to do in that experience? He is promising to put the principle of love in our heart.
Turn with me to Deuteronomy 30:6. And I want you to notice here what God is promising to do. “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” Just notice carefully here what the promise is. What is God promising to do? He says, “and the Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart”. And you know the idea that the Jews had, circumcision was removing a piece of flesh, was cutting and removing it away, and the idea here is captured in not the circumcision of the outward flesh but the curcumcision of the inward heart. And God says, I will circumcise their heart. Now notice here what is the purpose, what is the intent that God is going to bring about after this curcumcision of the heart? What is it going to produce? It says, “I will circumcise thine heart and the heart of thy seed”, and it goes on to say, “to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” What God wants to do, is he wants to bring about a change. When he imputes his righteousness, it’s not just to
give forgiveness. But what he wants to do is implant the principle of love in the heart.
7T 266, para 2, notice here what it says. “We need not begin by trying to love one another.” Have you ever tried to love in the way the Bible describes love, agape love? Love without limits, love without end, love without boundaries? It says, we don’t need to try and begin to love one another. You might think that’s strange, because the apostle Paul’s writing all through the New Testament, the apostle John’s, is that we need to love one another. But notice what it says. “The love of Christ in the heart is what is needed. When self is submerged in Christ [or another way we could phrase that, when self is dead], true love springs forth spontaneously.” What is the result when self is dead? It says, true love springs from the heart spontaneously. Now, I don’t know about you, but I know in my experience, this is not something that continually takes place. In my own life, I realize, and I recognize, that what is described here about the love that spontaneously springs from the heart, is the outflowing of the law itself. Because remember love is the principle on which the law is founded, and the law is summed up in the principle love God and love to man. When self is submerged in Christ, it simply means that when there is a death, when self is dead, only then, and not before, but only then can that principle of love, which God says he will implant in the heart, and will cause us to walk in his laws, that he will cause us to love him with all the heart and with all our soul, only then can that love spring forth spontaneously.
So, the question I want to ask you here is, do you find in your experiece from day to day, that the principle of the law itself springs from your heart spontaneously? And that means we are not thinking about it, we are not prompted to it, it’s like what Jesus said, they said to him, “When Lord did we see this one in this situation, or when did we feed, or when did we…”, it was such a spontaneous response to help those in need that they took no record, there were not counting the cost, because it was a spontaneous result of what had taken place in their life. And so when we look at this title of our meeting, our need of righteousness, I want to ask you these two questions. Have you experienced the results of forgiveness? The results that we’ve looked at, that experession of love and gratitude, of joy and peace and contentment? And does love spring spontaneously from the heart? If the answer is yes, then praise the Lord, and let your life continue to be a blessing and a glory to him. But if not, I want you to consider carefully, you may be needing the righteousness that only Jesus Christ can offer. That righteousness which brings pardon, which brings freedom from slavery of death, it can only be received on condition. Remember our key text, Romans 6:7 He that is dead is considered righteous. He that has died. So our need of rightousness can only be fulfilled, we can only receive the righteousness of Christ if first there has been a death. And this may be what you need. I know I definitely need this experience, a continual, daily experience of dying to self, that the imputed rightousness of Christ may bring about a change in my heart not only in forgiveness, but it may bring about that implanting of the principle of the law, which is love, and the spontaneous outflow of that. And that is what righteousness is all about. I pray that God will bless you as you consider the rest of these topics, and keep these questions in mind: Have you experienced forgiveness as Jesus wants you to experience, and does love spontaneously spring from your heart? May God bless us. Keep safe, and I pray that you will be blessed as you continue through, following these meetings.