The Daily Word of Righteousness

Two Kinds of Belief, continued

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

All intelligent people will be able to see the difference between the two interpretations of Romans 4:5. One approach is the idea we can continue in ungodly behavior and be viewed as righteous on the basis of our belief in the atonement. The other approach is interpreting Romans 4:5 as an integral part of Paul's entire argument in the first part of Romans concerning the replacing of Moses with Christ.

God's will for man is that he live righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. This goal never, never, never changes one whit. Romans 4:5 is not stating that righteous behavior no longer is required if we are to please God. Romans 4:5 is maintaining that belief in Christ takes the place of attempting to earn righteousness by observing the statutes of Moses.

Now, I said all intelligent people can understand that the goal of God's dealing with man remains unchanged and Romans 4:5 is speaking of a change in approach to the one unchanging goal. Viewing the verse as a change from Moses to Christ, while maintaining the same goal, is certainly not the same as understanding the verse to mean we are to do nothing but believe, and it doesn't matter how we behave!

Now that you understand the two interpretations of the verse, the choice you make as to which viewpoint you choose to believe reveals clearly what is in your heart, the kind of person you are. If you choose to believe God justifies the ungodly, on the basis of their belief in Christ's atonement, so they may continue in ungodliness without angering God, you have a wicked heart. Let's face it. You have a wicked heart. It is your heart you must deal with, because this verse is worded in such a manner you can fasten on it and from it deduce that the remainder of the New Testament is somewhat irrelevant.

To those who love God in their heart, knowing He has not given us a covenant that overlooks much less endorses ungodly behavior, let us point you to the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans. There you will find the Apostle Paul shaking off his back those who would use his teaching of Divine grace to mean we should sin so grace may abound.

In the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans Paul states several times that if the Christian, having been baptized in water, then permits himself to be the slave of sinful behavior, he will die spiritually. If the Christian, having been baptized in water, then becomes the slave of righteous behavior, he will live spiritually.

Check it out!

What is the resolution? The resolution between freedom from the Law of Moses and the all-important growth in righteous behavior is stated as follows: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I am living. But it is not I who am living but Christ who is living in me. The life I now am living in my body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."

When this is true of you, when you have submitted your natural man to crucifixion, when it is Christ who is living in you and revealing in your personality the moral purity of God, as was true of the Apostle Paul, and the life you now are living you are doing so by faith in Jesus, then you can come and tell us how marvelous it is you don't have to earn the approval of God because He has declared you righteous apart from the observance of any religious ritual.

The Bible is known as the "good Book." When it doesn't make people good it is being misunderstood.