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Friday, November 16, 2012

The Most Righteous Person in the Room

Believe me, I get it. You have had an encounter with God. You have yielded yourself completely to Him. You have praised Him, worshipped Him and given yourself to complete obedience. You know His righteousness. It is all over you, around you and in you.

Then, if you are not careful, you start realizing that others do not experience God in the way that you do. You consider yourself privileged. You see yourself as somewhat better than others. After all, you are righteous and anything they will say or do which does not match your righteousness must not be righteous.

"Those poor souls," you think, "They don't know God like I know God. If they did, they would do as I do." Naturally, they have nothing to teach you. They don't even realize who you are. You are the most righteous person in the room!

I wish I would realize what I am thinking at that moment. Maybe my own unrighteousness would be revealed and I would listen to others in the room. Maybe I would praise God for how He is making them righteous. Maybe I would realize that they are more righteous than me.

My righteousness does not come from within. I am a fallen creature. I am totally depraved. There is no goodness that comes from me. The only goodness I have is by the grace of God. There is a remnant of His glory left over from creation. This remnant is stimulated by His presence and working in my life.

Through the remnant of His glory, He brought me to faith in Jesus. Through this faith I have been made righteous.  My own righteousness in following Him comes because He has taken the initiative to love me into obedience. He has changed me into a new creation. I have no righteousness on my own. It comes from Him.

Thus, I can never consider myself as the most righteous person in the room. Jesus must be there if I am righteous at all. I must be in the presence of the Spirit if I am exhibiting any righteousness.

Humility is not a virtue that I readily accept. It is one that I desperately need. Only through it will I realize that God is not so fortunate to have me on His side. Only through this humility will I realize that I am the chief of sinners. I believe I might have taken Paul's claim.

Philippians 3:8-9 (ESV)
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is reminder that we are to be careful NOT to be like this people of God as in Luke 18:11-14 - 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Well, in that time, Pharisees are thoroughbred Jews, Israelites, children of God; yet Jesus was pointing to the lack of humility.  Now, may we all be careful, despite we are believers, NT children of God, we too, do not fall into enmity with God with our pride.

Our imputed righteousness is NOT of our own, it was imputed to us from Christ Jesus.  As it was of our salvation, and just as of salvation, it was NOT merited, we received by grace. Yet, we are to understand that, with imputed righteousness, we are to practise righteousness or live out that righteous standing we have received.  Just keep mouthing that we are righteous is NOT sufficient. The Apostle James reminded that we should NOT be fooled, for he who does righteous, is righteous, even as he is righteous.  If all it matters, is the standing, then Scripture, in 1 John 3:10, would NOT say that the test of whether or not, one is a child of God, and not the child of the Devil, is by seeing if the person practices righteousness or not, and that, the person loves his brother or not.

It is important that we are of right living even as we are of right standing. As to the matter of how righteous one is, it must be viewed from God's eyes, NOT ours.  It is God who counts out righteousness to us; we only try our very best to do God's will for our lives. For the NT believers, God's counting out righteousness to us, is NOT about the imputed righteousness, and so, it is NOT about faith not needing action, as is taught by most overly grace preachers; God counts out righteousness to us, for us acting out our faith, in other words, for living faith, not dead faith or faith without action. 

We cannot compare righteousness of one relative to another, just like, without tying back to God's will for the respective persons. God's will for your life, and the same for my life may not be the same; in fact, it is likely to be different. Something is common, but the specifics for my life, and for your life are different, and so no one really should compare righteousness; only God Himself is able to do that, for only He knows what He would like each one of us to obey, to do, to observe, etc; and how far off the marks, each of us is.

Live right, but don't compare righteousness; rather be humble.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions