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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Doing Good, and the Resurrection, continued
Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?" (Matthew 25:37—NIV)
The "righteous" will answer Him.
On what basis are the sheep nations termed righteous?
On the basis of their works.
The issue of the sheep nations is not that of imputed righteousness or the righteousness of Christ. The righteousness is that of an honest and good heart, of someone who out of love for God and the fear of God (as did Rahab of Jericho) gave aid and comfort to those whom he or she believed to be from God.
It is my point of view that current Evangelical teaching does not take into consideration the numerous occasions on which the Bible refers to unregenerate man as either righteous or wicked, without reference to the salvation that is in Jesus Christ.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. (Psalms 1:5—NIV)
The Book of Psalms contains numerous references to "the righteous." If the student were to search in the Bible for the expression "the righteous" he or she would soon be convinced that the Evangelical teaching that there is no righteous person is not properly balanced, not reflective of the whole counsel of God.
Let us proceed to a discussion of the second kind of righteousness, imputed righteousness, the righteousness most familiar to Evangelical people.
Imputed righteousness. The teaching of imputed righteousness comes mostly from the early chapters of Romans. From Chapter Six forward there is more of an emphasis on actual righteousness of behavior that results as we obey the Law of the Spirit of Life.
The purpose of imputed, or ascribed righteousness is to free us from the heavy bondage and guilt of the Law of Moses so we can have a clean, unencumbered start with Jesus Christ.
This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him [Abraham] alone, But also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (Romans 4:22-24—NIV)
If we turn away from the Law of Moses and trust in God who has given us Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins, God will credit righteousness to us just as He did Abraham. God counts those as righteous who believe and obey Him.
At this point an enormous error has entered. Instead of viewing credited, or imputed righteousness as a device to free us from the burden of the Law of Moses, a means of forgiving our past sins and giving us access to God apart from the Law, we are treating Divine grace as a new way in which God has decided to relate to man. A more destructive interpretation of imputed righteousness cannot be imagined.
We have invented a "dispensation of grace." There is no such thing as a dispensation of grace. The grace of God is God in Christ making available to man the virtue, wisdom and power of the Godhead that man might become a new creation of righteous, holy behavior. This is what grace is intended to accomplish. Imputed righteousness is part of this package.
To be continued.