Hello Audiences! Welcome to Return to God Forum. I am Dr. Danson Ubebe – Teacher and Author. This is Episode 14. It is the fourth of the series; “Called to the kingdom of God.” It is written God hates lying tongue (Ps. 120:2). An example is to interpret scripture by substitution of opinion of man – for instance, unmerited favor for grace, Peter for rock, etc. In Return to God Form, we interpret scripture with scripture to unlock the mystery in the word. Then equip those who have ears to hear with sound knowledge of God’s word (Eph. 4:12-14). “And you will know the truth, the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Our topic today is What is the Righteousness of God and who is predestined?
Aim is to show the righteousness of God is the final rank in the hierarchy of righteousness and to be predestined is a choice offered to all men.
In Episode 13, we clarified “grace and truth which came through Jesus (John 1:17), and the rock on which Jesus build His church, and the church Jesus established.” Today’s lecture is on righteousness and predestination.
Misconception about righteousness of God. To be the righteousness of God is to have same trait of Him. But the common opinion of many believers suggests that the man who has right standing with God, or believes, or does what is right is the righteousness of God. But man lacks knowledge of absolute truth in all things to liken his behaviors to the traits of God. So, man cannot rightly equate his actions to God’s judgment. Moreover, a man can do or believe right in his eyes, different from the truth, which is the perception of God. Without knowing what the righteousness of God truly is, the correct answers to the following questions and more will elude us: (1). Will a man who once received righteousness lose it or not?
(2). With risen Jesus as example of born again, is earthly man currently like Him?
(3). What makes the spirit, and soul, and body the righteousness of God? Etc.
Under the law the Scribes and Pharisees exalted themselves above measure. It was due to lack of knowledge. They saw themselves as the authority of the law and as above board. Today by survey, the posture of many who claim to believe in Jesus; preachers and lay men alike, suggests similar attitude of the Pharisees. This is borne out of pride. The sin committed by Adam infused the pride of life in man, for he was then in his loins. Earlier the sin of Satan infested the earth when he fell on it from heaven (Rev. 12:9). So, the earth and all that are in it are perishing (1John 2:17). But God is holy. Likewise, is the righteousness of God. So, mortality cannot be righteousness of immortality. But presently a believer is one third the righteousness of God (i.e., the spirit), sealed with the Spirit of truth (John 14:17), and is two third righteousness by faith. The two third is yet the substance of things hoped for (Heb. 11:1). What is the difference between righteousness and the righteousness of God?
Comparing righteousness of God and righteousness. Righteousness portrays the characteristics of the Kingdom of God (Rom. 14:17). God gives it as a gift to the man who believes in Christ (Rom. 5:17). But man cannot be righteousness of God by right doing or by believe right in his own eyes. The righteousness of God is an individuality of His kingdom. So, he is a spirit being of God. For man to be the righteousness of God he must possess the personality of divine nature (2Pet. 1:4). An individuality of God is like Jesus Christ who is the righteousness of God. To be this righteousness, a man must be wholly born again in spirit, soul, and body. This, Jesus has obtained for us by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). It remains to be made real in earthly man. So, it is still in the realm of faith, the substance of things hoped for (Heb. 11:1). However, God do give gift of righteousness to anyone dead in the spirit and body because of sin, to believe or do right according to His will (1Sam. 10:10). But the righteousness of God is personification of right believe or doing. Hence if Christ is in man the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Rom. 8:10).
Christ is the first born-again from the dead (Col. 1:18). But the man who believes is only one third fully born again. And he is two third born again by grace through faith. So, two third of members of man still harbor the law of sin (Rom. 7:23). This remains to be cleansed and is ongoing. Only born-again aspect of man can be the righteousness of God. E.g., the Spirit. Note that the man God created and now saved is the soul and not the born-again Spirit – proven in previous Episode.
Christ is the Lord our righteousness (Jer. 23:6). Christ Jesus is the High Priest of God (Zech. 6:12-13). He is upright in every way of life. Likewise, God created man upright (Eccl. 7:29). Everyone who regards himself according to the Spirit is to walk in like manner. This also applies to the man of faith of Abraham (Rom. 4:16). It is by doing so a man can live according to the fruit of the Spirit. This is to exhibit a lifestyle of; love, joy, peace, faithfulness, self-control, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and meekness (Gal. 5:22-23). Therefore, the gift of righteousness is a privilege to live in accordance with the will of God (John 7:17). This was the way of life of the apostles of Christ in the First Century. It made them conspicuous in the society and were in Antioch first labeled Christ- like, from which men derived Christianity (Antioch 11:26).
The man who believes moves gradually up the ladder of righteousness until he is completely born-again as co-heir with Christ. The final gift is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2Cor. 5:21). It is then he is perfect. Even when man lives for God according to the Spirit, at the same time he lives life in the flesh for which he will give account to God (1Pet, 4:4-6).
Righteousness of God and faith. Until man stands in the divine grace by faith through Christ, he cannot see things the same way God sees them. For the thoughts and ways of God are higher than those of man (Is.55:8-9). So, unless God gives to man the gifts to do His will, he cannot please Him. God created man upright in the beginning (Eccl. 7:29). But sin stripped him of the image. So, he must first be regenerated fully before he would receive wholly the righteousness of God in Christ. Meanwhile, his exposure to the righteousness of God in Christ from faith to faith is gradual (Rom. 1:16-17). This is indicative of concurrent upward surrender of man to God’s increasing splendor and closeness to him. It will go on till man receives the end of faith and the soul receives salvation (1Pet. 1:9). It is not what is received in an earthly body. Why? Jesus finished the work of salvation and cut it short of righteousness on earth (Rom. 9:28). It gives credence to why Paul declared that he had not achieved, though he fought the good fight of faith (Phil. 3:12-13). To be the righteousness of God goes with perfection, which means to be counted amongst the assembly of God. Even the Patriarchs still wait for it till now (Heb. 11:40). So, let our focus be on the good fight of faith like Paul, for now.
Self-effort cannot bring man close to doing things to please God. It is only Him that draws man close to Himself. Although the body of sin (made up of the old nature entangled by sin) was destroyed (Rom. 6:6), the law of sin remains in members of man opposing the law of God according to the inward man (Rom. 7:22-24). Until the sinful nature is flushed out of man, spiritual warfare between light and darkness will range on (Eph. 6: 10-11). Meanwhile let the object of our faith be in the cross of Jesus and Him crucified (1Cor. 2:2).
Gift of righteousness is in ranks. God gives righteousness as He pleases to man for a purpose. Abel, Noah, Abraham, and other fathers of faith received different ranks of righteousness by their blood (Mt. 23:35). But none has received the gift of the righteousness of God. It is the crown for the faithful who endures to the end (2Tim. 4:8). But God gives the general gift of righteousness as He likes. For example, God anointed Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, a Gentile as a righteous servant. It was for a purpose; to carry the stiff-necked nobles and kith and kin and the sacred vessels in Judah and Jerusalem to captivity for seventy years (Jer. 27:6, 20-22). So, the gift of righteousness is to make one have right standing with or believe in God for a time. It is different from the gift of the righteousness of God in Christ which is eternal in kingdom of God (2Cor. 5:21).
The fathers of faith received the gift of righteousness as per rank due them. It helped them have faith in God and to be adjudged righteous (Rom. 4:9). It is the similar the gift Jesus exchanged for the sins man committed before Calvary. So, make no mistake to regard it as the righteousness of God. This He has reserved for those who abide in Jesus and endure to the end (1John 4:13-15). However, it is received from faith to faith as shown previously (Rom. 1:17). End of emphasis.
The spirit, soul and body are born-again at different times. The union of all three make up man. Meanwhile, only the spirit is born again (Gal. 2:20). It is a gift received when man first believed in Christ. The believe saved man from the shackles of Satan by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Now, the soul is being renewed by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 4:16). It is after completion the body will be changed to glorious body at the second coming of Christ (Phil. 3:21). The man will then be wholly born again and be given the righteousness of God as a prize. It is the born-again spirit who helps a believer to be spiritually minded (Rom. 8:6b). When the soul aligns with the spirit, the man will walk like Jesus walked (1John 2:6). It is the process of walk in the Spirit. This is the answer to the call to regard oneself according to the Spirit. It is by the walk man will be a faithful partaker of the heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1). It is climaxed by change of spirit, soul, and body to a heavenly nature like Christ, in Christ. Once a man becomes the righteousness of God, he does not and cannot sin again (1John 3:9). It is by this understanding; no man is righteous on Earth (Rom. 3:10) or is continuously upright (Eccl. 7:29). But to believe right or do right or be in right standing with God according to the opinion of man will not make man not to commit sin on earth (Eccl. 7:20). Whereas, whoever is the righteousness of God displays divine calling continuously. It is not possible by mortal man because Jesus finished the work of born again and cut it short in righteousness upon the Earth (Rom. 9:28).
When Jesus was born-again, man too was born-again. The man was raised with and in Him (Eph. 2:5-6). The man represents humanity. Now that everyman is a member of humanity, a believer hereafter is to regard himself according to the Spirit, in the manner of Christ (2Cor. 5:16) and no longer known according to the flesh. But he still carries about mortal body and the corrupted soul. So, that a man wholly born again like Christ is meanwhile by faith and not in concrete terms.
Is it possible to lose righteousness once received? Scripture provides the answer in different books. As explained earlier what God gives in full to the man who lives outside His kingdom is simply righteousness and not the righteousness of God. Scripture declared; thus, “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered, because of unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die (Ezek. 18:24)” In similar manner, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and … if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance…” (Heb. 6:4-6).
Emphasis. The righteousness of God is a basic part of divine being. Only Satan and his angels once enjoyed it before they rebelled and were cast out of heaven. Then the like of apostle Paul were enlightened to great degree. Far from it that grace covers lawlessness and allow misbehave. Light and darkness do not co-exist (2Cor. 6:14). So, the gift of righteousness once received can be lost. How gift of righteousness of God is received is not comparable to how sinful nature was received. As for sinful nature man was in the loins of Adam when he committed sin. So, every of his intake affected man in his loins.
What it means to be predestined. It is written Christ is the vine. A man who believes and abides in Him is a fruitful being (John 15:4). If a believer who once abided in Him backslides and would not repent his attachment will change to dead link which merely hangs from Him. So, he will be cast out into darkness like withered vine branch (John 15:6). There is no safe fence between light and darkness for lukewarm attitudes as declared by scripture (Rev. 3:16). The analogy suggests Jesus, and man as the son of God, are of the same origin, like vine and the branch (Lk. 3:38). So, God knew everyone (Jer. 1:5). All being are alive with free will and opportunities to do His will (John 17:3). To do His will determines His set standard of predestination. So, everyone who does His will is predestined. It is the predestined that is afterward justified, and glorified (Rom. 8:30). So, God did not single out certain people to meet the standard He had set, for all face temptation (James 1:13-15). Rather everyone makes own choice to, or not to, live holy and blameless life of God (Eph. 1:4-5). God is ever impartial (Acts 10:34-43). Jesus Christ set an example for everyone by sacrificing Himself for all to imitate and to attain predestined mark (Rom. 3:25). After the forgiveness of past sins, He warned man, like He did to Adam, not to do evil else, he would not enter the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21). The consequence of disobeying God in this case is the second death in eternity (Rev. 20:14). Reference Episode 4 for visual aid of consequence via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UGhWP-f15k
To be predestined is a choice open to all men. Everybody risks failure by his free will. Whoever denies Jesus on end will be rejected like it happened to Adam. So, he would also die (1Cor. 6:9- 10). This is the second death (Rev. 21:8). You cannot wish away the similarity between the warning to Adam and to man under grace.
(All references are from New King James Version (NKJV) of the Holy Bible. All rights Reserved).
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