THE DESTRUCTION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Words of Righteousness)

THE DESTRUCTION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

From: It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ produces honor and integrity in the human personality. The maturing saint learns to act righteously, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.

The deceptions prevalent in current Christian thinking work against the producing of actual righteousness, of righteous works, of honor and integrity in the believer in Christ. These teachings are not pardonable misunderstandings of theological details, they are of the spirit of deception. They come from the enemy. They are destroying the work of God.

THE DESTRUCTION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

It is the intention of the Lord God of Heaven that righteousness and praise come to maturity in His Church so the nations of the earth may behold, in the saints, the Person, will, and ways of the God of Heaven. When the nations see the true testimony they will glorify God and walk in His ways. 

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 6:11)

In order to bring into view the righteous behavior He desires, God has given us His only begotten Son so that through His blood we may be forgiven our sins, and through His triumphant life we may be delivered from our sins and commence practicing righteousness in the earth.

This is the new covenant of God with Israel and with all who are grafted on Israel, on Christ—the one true Olive Tree.

But the deceiver has entered the garden of God. He has distorted the purpose and plan of the Divine redemption.

Satan has convinced us that the purpose of Divine grace is to provide us with a pass into Heaven and that righteous works on the earth have little to do with redemption.

He has convinced us that no believer in Christ will be punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

He has convinced us that God loves us so much He stands ready to forgive us even when there has been no genuine repentance. The goodness of God is stressed but the severity and wrath of God are not emphasized.

Satan has convinced us we are not to fear God or His Christ but merely are to reverence Them much as we would reverence the monument to a great statesman. We are quick to accept the change from fear to reverence because our pride and haughtiness will not allow us to fear God as we should.

Satan has convinced us that salvation is unconditional such that after we make a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter how deeply we return to sin we never can be removed from Christ’s Presence and blessing. This is a clear departure from the Scripture. 

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (II Peter 2:20)

He has convinced us there will be a secret translation of the believers so they will not be exposed to the hardships of the great tribulation, using a passage intended by the Apostle Paul to comfort living saints concerning their deceased loved ones (I Thessalonians 4:13).

He has convinced us that the believers in Christ, especially the Gentile believers, are a "special dispensation" of God. They are not required to practice righteousness, to love mercy, or to walk humbly with God. They are to say the name of Jesus and wave the wand of "grace." Now they are exempt from the laws of righteousness that govern all other men. No matter how they behave they will proceed straight to Paradise when they die.

According to current Christian teaching, if a righteous individual in a heathen land dies without hearing the name of Jesus, he or she will be banished from God’s Presence and tormented in the Lake of Fire for eternity.

But if a person says the name of Jesus, stating that he accepts the facts of the atonement and the resurrection of Christ, and then leads a self-centered, immoral, covetous, spiritually lazy life, he will be crowned with glory and honor when he dies. Thus our traditions and ignorance of the Scriptures have made a mockery of God’s righteous, equitable Nature.

We of today are presenting "grace" as a legal maneuver by which God is able to set aside the Kingdom laws of righteousness and receive into fellowship people who have no heart for God and no desire to serve Him.

Who is more acceptable to God, an honest and upright person who never has heard the name of Jesus, or a sinning, self-seeking, rebellious individual who makes a profession of faith in Jesus but never has served Him (Romans 2:25,26)? If your answer is that the professing Christian is more acceptable to God, you do not understand God or the new covenant. You have been seduced by the spirit of error in Christian teaching.

We Christians say there is no person who is righteous unless he has "accepted Christ." This is not what the Scripture teaches.

There are numerous people found in the Scriptures, beginning with Noah, whom God declared to be righteous. This does not mean their righteousness fully met God’s standard, for that standard is found only in Christ and in those who are part of Him. Nevertheless the righteous people, such as Ezra and Cornelius, found in the Scriptures, were righteous in their generation. 

But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:35)

The individual who fears God and practices righteousness is pleasing to God whether or not he is a Christian (unless he has heard and refused the Gospel). The individual who does not practice righteousness is not accepted of God, whether or not he is a Christian.

When a non-Christian hears the Gospel he must receive Jesus. If he does not, none of his righteous behavior will save him.

If a Christian does not behave righteously, his profession of faith will not save him.

The current teaching is that the unrighteous Christian will be received of God because of his profession of belief in Jesus, and the righteous individual who never has heard the Gospel will be tormented forever in the flames whether or not he has heard the Gospel. The current teaching is an affront to God’s righteous nature. It is an example of how religious man always twists the covenant of God to evade the Divine command that people practice justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Lately, the False Prophet, the spirit of religious delusion, has convinced Christians that Christ desires they be wealthy in this world, that through faith in Him they can acquire much money and material success.

None of the above doctrines resembles the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as preached by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, or the Apostle Paul.

Each of these deceptions has as its purpose the preventing of the doing of God’s will in the earth, the hindering of the entrance of the Kingdom of God into the earth. It is the doing of God’s will in the earth that signifies the overthrow of Satan’s Kingdom.

Satan’s goal is to prevent Christ and His righteousness from entering the earth. No doubt, imputed (ascribed) righteousness is of little concern to Satan. Satan’s concern is actual righteousness, through Christ, of thought, word, and deed.

The deceptions prevalent in current Christian thinking work against the producing of actual righteousness, of righteous works, in the peoples of the earth. Rather, Christian theology points toward Heaven, the spirit Paradise, as being the place where righteousness will be practiced.

Satan is not troubled concerning what we intend to do in Heaven; his worry is what Christ intends to do in and with the inhabitants of the earth.

Let us take a closer look at eight doctrines we believe Satan has influenced. It appears they represent the bulk of today’s Christian teaching and preaching:

The purpose of Divine grace is to provide us with a ticket to Heaven.

No believer in Christ will be punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

God’s love is to be emphasized but His wrath is not to be emphasized. The positive is to be stressed but the negative, the unpleasant, is not to be stressed. God’s goodness is to be pressed but His severity is not to be pressed. The sinner is to be invited warmly but not warned and rebuked with vigor.

We are to reverence God but not fear Him.

The validity of our salvation cannot be affected by our behavior.

The believers will be translated secretly for the purpose of avoiding suffering.

The Gentile believers are a special dispensation of God and are not required to obey the laws of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

It is God’s will that Christians use their faith for material gain.

Is it your opinion that these doctrines will produce righteousness in the churches?

Do you hear the voice of Christ in them, or the sly persuasions of the enemy as he plays on the self-love of the Christians? Do you smell the holy incense coming from God in Heaven, or is the odor more like burning sulfur?

Will these humanistic doctrines bring forth righteousness and praise in the sight of the nations of the earth? Have they not, in fact, created such immorality, covetousness, and dishonesty in the Christians that the world, which knows that anyone who truly belongs to God will behave righteously, has little confidence in the Christian Gospel?

Take another look at the eight doctrines listed above. They are proceeding from the spirit of error in the churches. The Christian churches are preaching error and the error has produced a valley of dry bones instead of a rich harvest of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Lord.

The doctrines are not pardonable misunderstandings of theological details. They are of the spirit of deception. They come from the enemy. They are destroying the work of God in the earth.

True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ produces honor and integrity in the human personality. The maturing Christian learns to act righteously, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.

We are not teaching that men can save themselves by good works. We indeed are teaching that Christianity apart from godly behavior is dead, worthless, fit only for the garbage dump. True salvation results in godliness of character but faith without works is dead.

The eight teachings we are discussing have destroyed the righteousness of the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result of the nations of the earth. The nations are affected directly by the testimony of the churches.

Our lampstand has been removed from its place.

Humanism, a religion based on the supposed welfare of the individual, has entered Christian thinking and colored it so it has become man-centered. God is seen as existing for our needs and purposes. Christ suffered in the flesh so we do not have to suffer. Christ became poor in material goods so we can become wealthy in material goods. Christ is our bondservant, waiting to attend to our every desire.

The Gospel of the Kingdom has become a plan for self-improvement instead of deliverance from the wrath to come.

"God loves you," we gush to the sinners of the world and of the churches. This is not what the Apostles preached, as recorded in the Book of Acts.

The Scriptures are not man-centered, they are God-centered. The emphasis of the Scriptures is not on what we need or want, it is on what God needs and wants. It does not matter whether or not we get what we want when we want it but it is of supreme importance that the Lord God get what He wants when He wants it.

In current teaching, the Christian faith holds out only pleasure to him who assents verbally and mentally to the facts of the atonement and the resurrection. We are not hearing deny yourself, hate your own life, be faithful to death, endure to the end, carry your cross in obedience to the Lord Jesus.

What we are hearing is, no matter how you behave you will not be punished, or even rebuked, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is supposed to be the Word of God to us.

The bulk of today’s Christian teaching and preaching is manmade. It cannot be found in the Scriptures.

The Word of God has been made of no effect by our traditions.

The Kingdom of God is first, "righteousness." After that, the Kingdom is "peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Our doctrines have destroyed actual righteousness, setting in its place an imputed righteousness, a righteousness ascribed to us because of Christ’s personal righteousness.

It never was God’s intention that the Christian salvation produce only an assigned (de jure) righteousness. The end of the work of redemption is an actual (de facto ) righteousness of behavior—a new creation.

To prolong the state of assigned righteousness past its appointed hour in our life is to pervert its intent. Assigned righteousness is intended by the Lord to serve until His grace has had time and opportunity to transform us into righteous, obedient sons. The new covenant is not primarily a covenant of forgiveness but a covenant of transformation (II Corinthians 3:18).

We cannot enter the complete image of Christ, and union with Christ, in one leap. We must fight our way in "city by city." Meanwhile, the blood of Jesus keeps us in a righteous state before the God of Heaven. 

I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. (Exodus 23:29,30)

De jure (assigned legally) righteousness is in force while the program of de facto (actual) righteousness is being carried forward. As soon as no progress is being made in de facto (actual) righteousness, the danger increases that the de jure righteousness will be lifted and God will begin to send severe chastening on the believer. If the believer still will not repent he may be removed from the Vine, from Christ.

The world cannot behold imputed (ascribed) righteousness. Therefore the world has no light to guide it until progress is made in actual righteousness of deed, word, and thought. It is the good works of the Christians that are the light of the world (Matthew 5:16), not the righteousness of Christ that has been assigned to them.

By "good works" we are not referring primarily to economic and medical assistance to the underprivileged, as necessary and praiseworthy as these efforts indeed are. Rather, we are speaking of an even higher priority in the purpose of God—the personal moral transformation of the individual, including the overcoming of worldliness, lust, and willful behavior, and the bringing of the believer into untroubled, complete union with God through Christ.

Paul’s few statements concerning imputed righteousness have been emphasized far out of proportion while the greater part of his writings suffer neglect. Most of what Paul wrote has to do with serving the Lord in holiness and obedience to God, not with imputed righteousness.

Many Christian believers are ignorant of much of what God has said in His Word, knowing only of the blood atonement, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and the born-again experience.

In fact, many believers do not understand even that the saints will be raised bodily, after the example of Christ. They cannot grasp the resurrection from the dead because the "rapture," the catching up to meet the Lord in the air that follows the first resurrection, is being stressed today (sometimes it is just about all that is preached!) as though it were the main point of emphasis of the new covenant.

How many times does the Scripture emphasize, or even mention, the ascension into Heaven of the believers in Christ? Count the passages for yourself. The truth is, there is no passage that refers to the lifting of the believers into Heaven, only into the air, into the "heaven" that is immediately above the earth.

The emphasis of all the Scriptures is the righteousness, or lack of it, of those with whom God is dealing. This especially is true of the New Testament. Apart from righteous living there is no Kingdom of God, no Presence and blessing of God.

God is interested in bringing into being sons who practice righteousness, who love mercy, and who walk humbly with God. This is the meaning of the expression found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament: "The righteous shall live by faith." Every covenant of God with man has had the life of righteous faith as its aim. The new covenant is the most demanding of all, in terms of righteous conduct, and it furnishes by far the most grace.

We have made the grace of God an excuse for wicked, immoral conduct. We have wrenched and twisted the writings of Paul until the gaining of entrance into the spiritual Heaven is the goal of redemption, and righteous behavior is not required for fellowship with God and Christ.

Is it possible the majority of the Christian preachers and teachers are destroying, with their traditions, man’s normal association of righteous behavior with God’s favor? Are we, with our teachings, working against the helpful warnings of conscience?

Is it a fact that the unsaved have a clearer idea of what it means to be approved of God than is true of the Christian people?

It is incredible (but not without precedent in Judaic-Christian history) that sincere believers in God could be so deceived, could be basing their soul’s salvation and life’s work on error.

Look at the fruit of our teaching! Immorality, covetousness, greed, competition, self-aggrandizement abound in the Christian churches. There is covetousness in the ministry to the point that such sins appear to be nearly at the point of acceptance. Christians steal from Christians.

The antics of the Christian television preacher with his vaudeville performances, his sophisticated "sell," his psychologically-expert "pull" for money, are an abomination to God.

Do we believe the world does not recognize its own? Today the media are mocking the "big" evangelists—and well they may.

Examine once again if you will the eight concepts we claim are destroying righteousness in the churches.

The purpose of Divine grace is to provide us with a ticket to Heaven.

No believer in Christ will be punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

God’s love is to be emphasized but His wrath is not to be emphasized. The positive is to be stressed but the negative, the unpleasant, is not to be stressed. God’s goodness is to be pressed but His severity is not to be pressed. The sinner is to be invited warmly but not warned and rebuked with vigor.

We are to reverence God but not fear Him.

The validity of our salvation cannot be affected by our behavior.

The believers will be translated secretly for the purpose of avoiding suffering.

The Gentile believers are a special dispensation of God and are not required to obey the laws of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

It is God’s will that Christians use their faith for material gain.

Such beliefs can only weaken the determination of the Christians to perform God’s will in the earth. Experience demonstrates that they indeed do have a weakening effect. These errors are increasingly destructive because we are in an age when demonic pressure is mounting to unprecedented proportions!

Christians believe that the purpose of salvation is to bring us to the spirit Paradise where we will be made strong in the Lord. They believe that God forgives what we do in the present world because we are weak. Can we be surprised, therefore, when there is little strength of righteousness in the Christian churches? Practice follows doctrine. The people are being destroyed because a wrong vision is held.

The rapturists will protest, "we are able to frighten the believers into holiness by threatening them with the imminent appearing of Christ."

Frighten them with what, we may ask, if no believer will hear anything negative at the Judgment Seat of Christ (as they claim)?

Can’t the rapturists see that the technique of frightening people with an immediate rapture is not working? While the believers may assent temporarily to the Lord’s imminent return, and be moved at times of emotional appeal, the effect is not lasting. People are not able to base their conduct on the threat of Christ’s imminent return—especially after they have been Christians for a number of years.

The idea that people will not serve God unless they are afraid the Lord may return suddenly and catch them in their lukewarmness has little appeal for the true saint. It was the Lord Jesus who warned us to watch lest we be caught in sin when He appears. This warning is to the ungodly, not to the godly.

The godly serve Christ because they love Him. If they knew Christ would not return for a hundred years it would make no difference as to the intensity of their service. They are not as naughty children who run about the classroom until they think the teacher is returning.

The godly walk in the Light of God, and the Day of Christ will not overtake them as a thief in the night (I Thessalonians 5:4,5).

We cannot deceive God’s people forever with our manmade traditions, leaving them with the impression that "grace" is the Divine excuse for the sins of God’s followers, and then attempt to frighten them with the prospect of an imminent rapture. These two concepts are inconsistent. On what basis can we frighten people if God will not judge our behavior? If salvation is unconditional?

The device of frightening the believers is not working. The Lord’s people are living in the flesh while giving mental assent to an imminent rapture. Also, the doctrine of the imminent bodily return is not scriptural (II Thessalonians 2:2,3).

The true vision of God has been removed from the Christian churches and the people are being destroyed. Righteous conduct, that which God always emphasizes to man, is not being emphasized in today’s Gospel preaching.

Unless God turns His face toward us and gives us the ability to repent, to cast out these false doctrines from the house of God, to begin living for Jesus as though our eternal life depended on it, the present generation of believers will face an angry Christ when they pass from the earth.

No doubt God soon will visit the wealthy nations of the earth with severe judgments. They are wasting the resources of the earth on their sins and comforts while hundreds of millions are starving spiritually and physically.

Where are the Christian churches in this picture? They will receive the greater judgment because they have the Word of truth and eternal life and yet are not setting an example of godliness to the world. They are not bearing a true witness of the Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose of the God of Heaven. 

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation [manner of life] honest among the Gentiles [nations]: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:11,12)

By stressing the grace of forgiveness at the expense of the grace of godly living (Titus 2:11,12) we have extinguished the light of the testimony, the light of the lampstand of God.

Instead of the light of "good works" we are guiding the nations with our self-love, covetousness, immorality, and our willingness to seek the assistance and approval of men rather than the assistance and approval of God. The nations understand this type of behavior and so they are not moved to "glorify God in the day of visitation."

Where are God’s prophets, His witnesses who cannot be bought with money, who care little for the assistance and approval of men but very much for the assistance and approval of God?

Where are the people who walk in prayer, who live in godly fear and brokenness of spirit before God? Where are those who know the joyful sound of the God of Israel? Where are God’s holy people? Where are the saints?

It is time for God to turn to His own people by race—the Jews. But what are we giving to the Jews? We are giving them Gentile fables in place of God’s plan of redemption, in place of the Kingdom of God. We are informing them that God will take the Gentiles to Paradise while the Jews without the Spirit of God face an enraged Antichrist.

The deductive reasoning being applied by most (apparently) of our leaders causes them to make statements having no foundation in the Scriptures. Their defenses are conjecture. Yet, these leaders say they believe in the Divine inspiration and authority of the Scriptures.

How have the mighty fallen! How has truth perished in our land!

Is our generation lost to Christ or is it possible to dig out the Scriptures from the rubble of tradition and teach them once again?

Adhering to the truth of God’s Word in a day when our institutions are teaching error will cause turmoil. There always have been consequences when people have chosen truth over popular error. It is our conviction that men and women of integrity do not waste time thinking about the consequences once they have been persuaded of truth.

Let each of us cast from himself as a filthy cloth the unscriptural traditions that have accumulated. Let us first assure ourselves that the traditions indeed are not scriptural, and then let us hurl them from us with boldness and the authority of the Word of God.

Any teaching that does not promote, as its first priority, righteous behavior, holiness of personality, and stern obedience to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is not of God. Recent teaching does not place righteous behavior, holiness of personality, and stern obedience to God through Christ as its first priority. Therefore recent teaching is not of God.

Modern preaching often does not even resemble God’s Person, His will, or His ways among men. It is not the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It is a collection of fables, and these fables have resulted in the extinguishing of the light of the righteous conduct that should be proceeding from the believers in Christ.

Let us turn again to the Lord. Let us cease teaching and preaching lies. God is to be feared as well as loved. Christ is to be feared as well as loved. The righteous shall walk with God; they can stand in the Fire of His Presence. The unrighteous cannot stand in the Presence of God, in the Presence of Christ, in the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 33:14; Luke 13:27; 21:36; Galatians 5:19-21).

It is useless to call Christ "Lord" and then not do what He says. It is unprofitable.

True salvation exists in people who were sinners but who now, by God’s grace, are serving God. They are not yet perfect but they are becoming perfect as the Holy Spirit guides and empowers them. Their goal is not to flee from this world, although they rejoice at the thought of going home to be with the Lord. Rather, their goal is to do God’s will in the earth as it is done in Heaven.

The nations of the earth, beholding the true Christian, are guided, uplifted, enlarged—pointed toward the Day when they will be released into the liberty that accompanies the glory of the children of God. The true saint is the light of the world because Christ can be seen in him, and God in Christ.

All men want to behold God. Only the Christian people are the manifestation of God in the earth. If the righteous Person of Christ cannot be seen in the saints, the Person and blessing of God are not available to the nations (II Corinthians 4:6).

The Christian saint is called out of the world in order to be the light of the world, not to flee to Heaven while the wicked inherit the earth.

It is our conviction that God is displeased because we have perverted His truth until it no longer is recognizable. We are not warning the sinner of the consequences of his behavior. We have substituted our traditions for God’s unchanging Word.

The Christians no longer fear the Judgment Seat of Christ, and yet each of us will appear there and give a precise account to Christ for our behavior in the earth.

Let us who handle the Word of God now turn to God. Let us ask Him to purge from our minds the spirit and the letter of the structure of error men have constructed on the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Christ.

Let us remove from ourselves the deceiving darkness, such as the doctrines that the Christian Gentiles constitute one church and the Jews constitute another church, another bride of Christ; that the "Gentile Church" is a special parenthesis in God’s dealing with mankind and God does not require righteous behavior on the part of the Gentile Christians as He does of every other class of people on the earth.

We have been deceived. We now must ask God to give to His churches the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the fear and knowledge of God.

We shall know that the churches have returned to the preaching of God’s Word when we behold righteousness and praise springing up in the sight of the nations of the earth.