THE EMPHASIS ON RIGHTEOUS BEHAVIOR
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
It appears to me that one area of confusion today in Christian thinking is the difference between imputed righteousness and righteous behavior. Imputed righteousness is right standing in God’s sight when we place our faith in Christ’s salvation.
Righteous behavior is behavior which ordinarily is judged to be so by most people of the world. This would include honesty, truthfulness, kindliness, fairness, compassion, generosity, faithfulness, peaceableness, and gentleness with the weak and helpless.
Because it seems to be a tendency for Christians today to stress that no one is righteous, and that all are wicked and must “accept Christ” in order to be viewed as righteous by the Lord, the idea of righteous behavior seldom is mentioned by Christian people. The only time the Christians become excited about righteous behavior is when the people of the world are doing something that irritates the Christians, such as homosexual behavior or abortion. Even at that, there are people who have “accepted Christ” and also abort inconvenient babies and practice homosexual behavior.
So whenever I use the term “righteous” in any of my writings, I usually add the word “behavior,” because Christian people will think I am speaking of “accepting Christ” and imputed righteousness.
When the Old and New Testaments use the term “righteous,” or “righteousness,” they almost never are referring to imputed righteousness. When Abraham believed God, righteousness was imputed to him because he believed the impossible. He did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief. His belief in the spoken Word of God was an act of righteous behavior. This is a far cry from saying “I have accepted Christ. Therefore, God regards me as a righteous person even though I continue being dishonest and immoral.”
Later in His life, God spoke to Abraham about righteous behavior:
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1)
How many believers and their leaders have ever read this verse? God did not say to Abraham, “Now you have been made righteous by faith so it does not matter how you live because you already have purchased your mansion.”
“Walk before Me and be blameless”! How many Christians have been taught that because they have “accepted Christ” there is no need to walk before God and be blameless? What a doctrinal mess we are in today!
How can there be nation-wide repentance when the believers have been taught they already are perfect in Christ? What are they to repent of? Repent of what the worldly people are doing? Dogs bark because they are dogs. Unsaved people sin because they are unsaved. God did not say if the unsaved people would repent, He would heal our land. He said if My people repent, I will heal their land.
God wants His people to confess and turn away from their sins. Judgment begins in the household of God, not in the world!
For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)
I understand it is taught erroneously that our judgment was completed on the cross and we cannot be judged for our sins. Why did the Apostle Peter not understand this? Why didn’t the Apostle Paul understand this?
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
People, we have been lied to. That is all there is to that.
In their desperation to prove that no Christian has anything to fear from Divine judgment, numerous Christian teachers of our day will gainsay any passages of the New Testament I quote. I have covered this territory thoroughly in previous writings, so I will not repeat myself now.
Chaos is coming to America because of the practice of unrighteous behavior. Being elderly, I may not see the final degradation of our country. But you who read my words at that time, please note that you were not “raptured out of trouble.” And when you die, and your behavior is brought before you, remember my teachings.
Do not harden your heart. God may take into consideration that you have been lied to by your teachers. If you repent with a sincere heart, a place may be made for you in His Kingdom. But do not say you have not been warned that you will experience the results of all your sinning that you have not confessed and turned away from.
I am telling you this plainly: what we Christians sow, we will reap, whether eternal life, or corruption and destruction. Paul did not write the following to the unsaved people of Galatia, but to the saints.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)
I am upset this morning, July 16, 2012. So would you be if so many ordinarily intelligent people were shouting that two plus two equals seven.
God’s people are not going to confess and turn away from their sins when their leaders are telling them they are perfect in Christ. When the people of the world see that the Christians are not serious about righteous behavior, they are going to become increasingly immoral and rebellious.
If we live a victorious Christian life, overcoming the temptations and traps that are set before us, we will, with Christ, govern the nations of the earth when the Lord returns.
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations — “He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery” — just as I have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)
Notice that if we are to govern with Christ, we must do His will to the end. I think this condition is not stressed enough in our day.
An iron scepter. The scepter is the power of righteous behavior. It is formed in our personality as we bear our cross of deferred desire after Christ.
No one will govern with Christ who does not have the iron scepter of righteous behavior formed in him or her. This means that there have been many years of patient cross-carrying obedience to Christ, many years of deferred hopes and desires. It is these which form the iron scepter of righteous behavior.
This means also that if the iron scepter has not been formed in the personality, the believer will not be resurrected when the Lord Jesus next appears and will not be caught up to meet Him in the air. There would be no purpose in his being caught up at that time, for it is the beginning of the onslaught of Armageddon. The person who does not have iron righteousness of behavior formed in his or her personality would be helpless in the swirl of conflicting spirits in that hour.
You can see how far off we are today in our teaching of lawless grace, and of a “rapture” that will catch up all who call themselves “Christians” and mount them on the white war-stallions.
They do not obey Christ today. The only righteousness they understand is what is given to them when they “accept Christ.” Even then they are misled, because they did not accept the Man, Jesus Christ, but the Christian religion. They never were taught to walk with God, as did Abraham and the other patriarchs and prophets. What would such spiritual babies do when confronted with the armies of Christ, with Satan, with the False Prophet? They would be a huge liability. God will not permit this.
What I am saying is that those who know only imputed righteousness will not be resurrected and caught up to meet the Commander in Chief in the air when He appears.
If you have a concordance or Bible software or Internet access, search the word “righteous” in the Bible; you may be amazed. It is one of the most important topics in the entire Bible. You immediately will notice two things:
- It almost exclusively refers to righteous behavior, not imputed righteousness.
- A number of people, beginning with Noah, were termed “righteous.” There always have been righteous people in the world; and there always have been wicked people in the world.
God has regard for people, saved or unsaved, who behave righteously.
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34,35)
God accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. What do you think of that? I guess Peter had never heard a preacher say that there is no one in the world who is righteous in behavior.
I am not implying that we can reject Christ when He is presented to us and try to please God by behaving righteously. To reject Christ when He knocks at our door is the most serious of all unrighteous deeds. The iron law of the Kingdom of God is strict obedience to Christ.
What I am discussing is the confusion in the minds of Christians about the need for righteous behavior. The confusion is so great that if we speak to a Christian about the need for Christians to behave righteously, he or she very well may answer that we are trying to add works to the perfect salvation.
Anyone can see that if (1) righteous behavior is a main topic of the whole Bible, (2) we Christians have been taught that it is impossible for anyone to please God by his behavior, and (3) there is no need for us to behave righteously because we have “accepted Christ,” then the believers will remain spiritual infants and God will be displeased.
The Bible index of growth in Christ is the ability to understand the difference between righteous behavior and wicked behavior, and the determination to embrace righteous behavior and to forcefully reject wicked behavior.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13,14)
“The teaching about righteousness.” This obviously is not speaking primarily about imputed righteousness, because it mentions being trained to distinguish good from evil. This is the mark of maturity and the ability of the believer to understand what the writer of Hebrews has to say to us, for he or she is profound indeed!
“By constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Does that sound like imputed righteousness to you? “Constant use.” Are our leaders determined that we remain infants that they do not teach us to distinguish good from evil?
God leads us in paths of righteousness, according to King David. Does that sound like imputed righteousness? Does God lead people today in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake? Or is He content that they make a profession of belief in Christ, no matter whether they embrace righteous behavior or wicked behavior?
Is there a “way of righteousness,” a term used by the Apostle Peter?
Jesus told us to let the light of our righteous behavior shine. Can we do that if we are behaving wickedly?
The very heart of today’s Christian teaching is that if say we believe in Christ, we will go to Heaven when we die. Thus the goal of God, which is not Heaven but a Kingdom in which righteous behavior prevails, is thwarted by today’s teaching.
What can we do about it? Not much, as far as I know. I am doing my part by writing what the Scripture seems to say, and a few people read what I write.
It is my sad opinion that there will be no significant change in the attitude of Christian leaders and their followers until many thousands of gallons of blood have been spilled in America, and America has been downgraded to a minor role in world politics.
How will America be destroyed? By the destruction of its financial strength. Possibly by civil war, given the intensity of feelings on both sides of American opinion. By unprecedented upheavals of nature. By internal or external attacks by more disciplined cultures. I do not know, and I am not going to guess.
God showed His attitude toward sin in the flood of Noah and the destruction of Sodom. God has not changed. He will not tolerate rampant sin in any nation. And that is true of America at this time,
It is the responsibility of the Christian people to be the light of the world, to demonstrate in themselves the righteous behavior that God loves. But they are being led astray by ministers who are currying favor with the people by telling them that God loves them so much He would “rapture” them to Heaven before He would permit them to suffer.
I have followed Christ long enough to know that every action people take is stored in His gigantic memory. Christ has absolutely perfect recall. Our behavior while living on the earth is recorded carefully, and on this basis we are assigned our position in the Kingdom of God or the Land of Darkness.
Terrible times are ahead for us in America. The present hour is a period of preparation during which the internal kingdom is to be built in us so we will be prepared for the external kingdom when Christ appears with His saints and holy angels.
We can save ourselves and our loved ones by seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. I do not believe this is referring to imputed righteousness but the righteous behavior that we demonstrate as we patiently obey Christ each day, following along after Him, bearing the cross He has assigned to us.
The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is not imputed righteousness, peace, or joy. It is actual righteousness of behavior, peace of heart and mind in the day of calamity, and joy that we experience in His Presence.
There is no time left to speculate on points of theology. Righteousness is righteousness and wickedness is wickedness. America, sad to say, at the present time, is being filled with wickedness of every sort. The iron scepter of righteous behavior is not always seen.
Well, God says to let the righteous be righteous and the vile be vile. At the end of the age, many who are now in the Kingdom, even some in Christ at the right hand of God, will be torn down to the earth by the tail of the dragon. I realize many will not believe my last statement, but it shall happen regardless.
The only protection we have for the evil that is increasing is to draw closer to Christ and to practice His Presence each moment that we are alive on the earth. The final war between good and evil has begun. The Lamb no longer is seated but is standing on Mount Zion with those who are called, chosen, and faithful.
Antichrist, Satan, and the False Prophet shall be utterly destroyed in the days ahead. Those who obey Christ will be purged of all sin and self-seeking and shall shine as the sun in their Father’s Kingdom.
It is the age-old war that began when Satan, the guardian cherub, decided to take the place of the Father. The spirit of rebellion has continued from that day until the present. It is time now to put it to an end. Prepare the way of the Lord!
Decide right now. Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and those who will join with me, we shall serve the Lord. Why don’t you come along with us!
(“The Emphasis On Righteous Behavior”, 3337-1, proofed 20211016)