Sunday, March 26, 2017

Righteousness 101 (cont)

Quick Review:
Sin: = a violation of divine law(s)/doing right - violation = wrongness

Opposite of Sin?
Righteousness:  the state or condition of being right, doing right

Word often used of God because He is Right!!  Psm. 4:1, 145:17, Ezra 9:15

Word sometimes used of man/men... when he is right
Individual - Gen. 6:9   group - Psm. 1:6, 34:17

Last week - distinguished between 2 kinds of Righteousness:

#1.  Positional Righteousness = in right standing, position, relationship with God
Illustration:  The Bridge.
IF haven't crossed, then = state of wrongness!!

#2.  Practical Righteousness = proper action, behavior, practice of doing what's right.
Illustration:  Path, way
If not in the path... then in a state of wrongness!
The two should not be separated, should be one and the same.

Question:  can you have 1 without the other?
Answer = yes, at least - to some degree

Can a person be saved and act lost?  example:  David  (with Bathsheba)
Can a person be lost and act saved?  Matt. 7:21-23

Illustration:  fatherhood - ie:  can man be biological father and not act it?
                                           can man not be biological father and yet act it?

Note:  (1)  We are called to both kinds of righteousness.
          (2)  One should lead to the other
So:  Matt. 5:6  (which? = both)   Matt. 6:33  (which? = both)

Is a 3rd. Category of Righteousness:  Self-Righteousness  Luke 18:9-14

Pharisee's view = "my behavior is (1) pleasing to God   (2)  sufficient for entry into His presence, Heaven
Paul =Pharisee =>  Phil. 3:4-6, Acts 26:5
Paul's discovery = Rom. 3:20-24 - law showed how short he came - only way can ever come into God's presence is if God makes the way.
Publican view = "my behavior is (1) far short of what it should be   (2)  insufficient for entry into His presence, Heaven

Result???  Luke 18:14 - everyone who humbles himself will be saved.  We don't get there because we're good, but because God is good.
ie:  proper recognition of self and of God.

So, what does it take to go from Self righteousness to Positional righteousness?

#1.  Three Elements:
       C - Content - Rom. 10:14 - have to know gospel, need specific revelation
       A - Assent - Agreement
       T - Trust - James 2:19 - surrender - my Savior and my Lord

#2.  Three Agents:
     (1)  You - (the Christian) - Christians have the Content - Rom. 10:14
     (2)  Holy Spirit - must bring the conviction, the persuasion, the agreement
     (3)  The Pharisee - who's willing to recognize, admit, decide, trust, and CROSS!!!

Self-Righteous is where the majority of American people are today.  Believe in God, even the Trinity, but think reason will be in Heaven is because of their good works.  "I'm as good as those others, and maybe better than most.  Therefore I'm good enough to get into heaven."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Righteousness 101

Righteousness (Biblical word) = opposite of sin

Definition:  the state, quality, or condition of being right.

- often used of God - Psm. 145:17, 89:14
- sometimes used of man - WHEN he is in tune, right where should be
             - aligned with what's right
             - in God's will
             - living in accordance with God's Law(s)

Then man is considered Right - in a state of Right-ness or Righteousness

Contrast:  Sin = violation of God's Law(s) - rejection, refusal, disobedience
                     = a state of WRONG-NESS - UN - Right - ness 

Question:  Can a man be Right/Righteous before God??
Example:  Job.   Bildad - Job. 8:20 - "'fess up, Job"
                         Job - Job 9:1-2 - not arguing with Bildad, just asking How???

So, regarding the question - Can I be Right (Righteous) before God?
(ie:  according to His standard, by His definition)

Answer = "Yes.... BUT..."  - there are some qualifications - requires some definition and explanation.

"Righteousness" is found in two forms in Scripture

Positional Righteousness = proper standing, position, relationship with God
illustration - Adam and Eve - before they sinned, were in right standing with God.  After sin, no longer standing in a position of righteousness.

Practical Righteousness = proper actions, behavior - illustration - path of God's will, path of right-ness.
Psm. 23:3, 32:8 - the way
Early Christians were know as Followers of the Way before actually called Christian.

On one hand, these should overlap, stand together, not be separated
However, we need to distinguish to understand

So?  How do I obtain Practical Righteousness?
Answer:  DO RIGHT!!!  (stay in the path)  Deut.6:25, 1 John 3:7
              (by God's eternal definition)

How do I obtain Positional Righteousness?
Answer:  place yourself in the proper relationship with God  (cross the gulf)

PROBLEM!!!   1)  I don't always walk in the Path
                           2)  I can't get across the Gulf

BAD NEWS = for me to be Right with God is beyond my ability!!
GOOD NEWS = for me to be Right with God is NOT beyond His Ability nor beyond His Desire!!!

Rom. 3:19-24

So:  Right Standing is available - (1) from God   (2)  by faith
We can become righteous by choosing
Example:  Abraham - not always practically Righteous.
However, Rom. 4:1-3 - Abraham believed God - was on good terms even if not always acting properly.

Application to us?  Rom. 4:23-24, 5:1-2

To what are we called?  Practical?  or Positional?
Answer = BOTH - while they can be distinguished, they shouldn't be separated!!
Result should be a change in lifestyle, actions, etc.

Where should I begin?
Answer:  Let the Spirit lead you, because,
1)  the path of righteousness leads go God
2)  God will direct you to the path of righteousness.

If have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, are right before God.  May not always act it, but are!  Right standing is not based first and foremost on what we do.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sin's Produce: (Part 2) Final Products

Quick Review from previous weeks:

The Definition of Sin:  A VIOLATION OF DIVINE LAW
Therefore:  A)  Morally Wrong
                 B)  Destructive
Question:  Why is it not taken more seriously today?
Some reasons:  a) ignorance to consequences, destructiveness
                        b)  skepticism
                        c)  unbelief - in DIVINE LAW (or Natural Law)!!! not simply in sin.   Natural Law = these laws exist from beginning.   It is our job to discover and enact them.

Contrast:  arguing against A divine law vs. against DIVINE LAW!!! - it is one thing to say don't agree with a particular Divine Law.    The other questions whether Divine Laws (Natural Laws) even exist - which then leads to questioning the existence of a Divine Law Giver.

The Nature of Sin = more than a mistake!  It = conscious error, willful unbelief, intentional deviation.  So, Scripture is full of words like:  disobedience, refusal, rejection, rebellion, lawlessness.

The Personification of Sin - "almost alive" - when working in conjunction with human behavior.
So, sin pictured as:  Active, aggressive, militant - 1 Pet. 2:11, scheming, opportunistic, ever present!!

So, Rom. 7:15 - 25

The Produce (product) of Sin  = temptation, deception, seduction, blindness (dulling of the eyes), hardness (callousness), insensitivity (to conscience, to the Holy Spirit)

Question:  Can sin produce all this in a believer?
Answer:  example:  David and Bathsheba - more than a mistake?  = intentional deviation?
David = deceived?  insensitive?  hardened?   Sin doesn't deceive the believer against the believer's will.

Point = the Seriousness of sin!

Sin's Final Produce/Final Products
ie:  Alienation            Slavery           Death                                                        
#1.  Sin Alienates (Separates)                                                                        
Matt. 22:36-40  - "greatest and most important commandment?"                                                      
Man's relationship to God, man's relationship to man.

Yet, Sin separates:  1)  from God   ie:  Bridge Illustration
                               2)  from one another - example:  Adam and Eve, clothing selves after sinning
                               3)  from (harmony with) self.  Rom. 7:24

Distinction for Christian:  ie:  once reconciled - never will be separated - but could be at odds with God over many things.  Contrast:  disrupted fellowship with broken union
Rom. 8:1, 35, 37-39

#2.  Sin Enslaves - John 8:34
begins with "I'll use this sin ... it will serve me!!"
ends with Sin as the Master - example:  alcohol, drugs

So Paul in Rom. 6, 7, and 8 labors:  1)  man's bondage to sin
AND 2) the Christian's freedom from bondage to sin - Rom. 6:16-22
BUT must contrast the 1) legal status with the 2) daily practice
Current remedy is NOT easy!!!  Rom. 6:11-14 - In this life will probably not get a miracle deliverance are looking for  - easy fix when God delivers from the addiction.  Most likely will have to work hard and struggle to overcome.

#3.  Sin Brings Death - Rom. 6:23
a)  this is more than physical death - Rev. 20:14-15
b) this = easily avoided - Rom. 6:23  (all)  (must cross over)

On one hand, Paul stresses the seriousness and the consequences of SIN!!
However, Paul is not without hope!  Rom. 7:24-25

This is reflected in the hymn:  "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah"

'Lord, I trust Thy mighty power, Wondrous are thy works of old;
Thou deliver'st thing from thralldom (slavery) who for naught themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer, Sin, and Satan and the grave.
Sin and Satan and the grave!'

Rev. 1:17-19

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sin's Produce

SIN - a transgression of God's Law(s)

Christian View =  A)divine moral laws exist - we just need to discover them.  This = not the prevalent view in today's culture, courts, etc.  Today it is accepted that man makes the laws to suit the times, people, culture we live in.
                           B)  God has revealed (some of) them to us.
                           C)  to violate these laws is SIN
                           D)  Sin is detrimental - is its own punishment.  If God stepped out of the picture for a million or so years, the results of sin would continue the downward path on its own.

The Nature of Sin  (makeup, composition, ingredients, stuff)
On one hand = 1) missing the mark.
However, this is not simply 'making a mistake'.
It = 2) conscious (knowing) error, intentional deviation  (step out, aside, away)
3)   Willful unbelief - choose not to believe
4)  lawlessness - more than breaking the law - standing against, defiance of that law
so ... 5)  disobedience, rejection, refusal, rebellion

ADD:  The Personification of Sin  
Sin is:  Active  "almost alive" - Rom. 10:7
           Aggressive, militant!!!  - 1 Pet. 2:11
           Opportunistic - takes opportunity, advantage of every situation
           Internal - Rom. 7:17
therefore:  Ever-Present - Rom. 7:21

Question:  Why the extensive, ugly picture?
Romans 7:13 (Amplified Version) - "in order that ... sin might be shown clearly to e sin; that the extreme malignity and immeasurable sinfulness of sin might plainly appear."

Obviously, God wants us to see the seriousness of sin!!!

If that = Nature of sin, what = it's PRODUCT!?
(because nature of a thing determines produce, behavior)

#1.  Sin Tempts - calls, beckons, lures, entices
Temptation:  a solicitation (invitation) to filo a God-given desire in an ungodly manner.  Example: Adam and Eve
Gen. 1:28 ---> Gen. 3:4-6

#2.  Sin Deceives - gives false impressions, makes promises can't deliver.
So:  Gen. 3:13  (warning  2 Cor. 11:3)  Gal. 6:7

#3.  Sin Pursues
Picture presented in Rom. 7 is not that of Paul attacking Sin, but rather = Sin relentlessly pursuing Paul!!!

#4.  Sin Seduces - 1 Tim. 4:1 - leads to unhealthy relationships

#5.  Sin blinds - the root word used = to burn, smoke
Point:  doesn't mean No sight.  Instead = dulled sight, impaired vision.  
Compare Hebrew word meaning "intoxicates" - dulls senses, inability to see, discern, reason.
Example:  Can't reason with a drunk.

#6.  Sin hardens ( de-sensitizes) - Mark 3:5   Matt. 13:14-15

(to be continued next week)

So, Paul - Rom. 7:24-25

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Sin = a transgression of divine law(s)

Bible teaches:
1)  divine law(s) exist.
2)  God has revealed (some of) them to us.
3)  to violate (one of_) these laws is SIN.
4)  Sin is detrimental - - harmful, damaging to individuals, to society.   God CAN take bad things and work them for good.  Perfect example:  the Cross

Last week = "the Nature of Sin" - ie:  it's makeup, composition.  the stuff it's made of, what makes sin sin, its components, elements, etc.

Review:  Some of the things sin is:
  #1.  Missing the mark  - Rom. 3:23
 but more   #2.  error/deviation - stepping out, aside, away knowingly
#3.  willful unbelief - not the unbelief that comes from ignorance
#4.  lawlessness - contrary to the law, against, in defiance of the Divine law
#5.  Disobedience, rejection, refusal, rebellion
These found in both Old and New Testaments

!!Strong words!!  Paint an ugly picture of sin!!!  BUT.......... it gets worse!  In order to describe sin more fully, clearly, accurately, the Biblical writers often use Personification of sin.

Personification:  giving human attributes to something non-human.
A literary device used to:
1)  Amplify, enhance, add weight to a description
2)  to engage the imagination to more properly describe the situation.
the wind blew through the pine tops
the wind whispered in the pines (wind can't whisper - that's a human attribute)

the sun shone hot and bright
The sun glared down.

The moonlight reflected off the waves
The moonlight danced on the waves

The storm came on suddenly.
The storm attacked with a great rage.

My old pickup is developing mechanical problems.
My pickup suffers from old age.

In the spring I hear the motorcycles and I want to travel the roads.
In the spring "     "   "         "            and the road calls to me.

So, likewise, the personification of sin in Scripture to show how deceptive and dangerous it is:

Gen. 4:6-7  (unmastered => vs. 8)
John 8:34 - (Jesus) - slave to sin
James 1:13-15 - dragged away, gives birth, conceived

Rom. 7:7-25 - Paul - something powerful and dangerous
"Sin" sprang to life
It deceived me
It seized the opportunity
and produced in me every kind of covetous desire.
and put me to death 

Sin ... is living within me  when I would do good ... sin is right there with me waging war against the law of my mind.... and making me a prisoner, a slave to sin!"

Personification???  Yes!!!
Exaggeration??  NO!! = accurate description of the Nature of Sin!!  ie:  Almost Alive!!

And When it's in partnership with sinful nature, in league with demonic influences, sin becomes powerful, intelligent, intentional, destructive.  A living thing waging war against you and me.

So, what's clear here???
#1.  Sin is a powerful enemy
Also A)  a personal enemy AND
        B)  bigger than you!!
You cannot master this yourself.  It is more than just a benign concept.

#2.  You need a Savior  (a redeemer, deliverer, Messiah)
A)  Someone Bigger than Sin!!  that is, of course, IF you want to be saved!!

#3.  That Savior is to be your new Master - Rom. 6:8-14 - do not let sin permit sin, reign, rule, tell you how to respond.  Sin NEVER has any good intent.

This is Not the end of the battle in this life.  BUT it #1.  is where we Begin, and #2.  where we must Return  (time and again) - "You are my Master"!

Claiming to be a Christian and making Him your Lord is a lot different from REALLY doing and living that!

Closing:  Psm. 67:1-2