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The Daily Word of Righteousness
An Examination of Current Teaching, #7
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)
The principal righteousness of the new covenant is imputed righteousness.
The Apostle Paul taught imputed righteousness when he was seeking to convince the Jews that God could count them righteous, even though they did not keep the statutes of the Law of Moses. Paul had no idea that Gentiles would seize on the concept of imputed righteousness as being a new way in which God intends to relate to people.
The principal passages dealing with imputed, or ascribed righteousness, are found in Romans, Chapters Three through Five. The remainder of the New Testament passages dealing with righteousness (and there are many!) have to do with righteousness of behavior.
It is not at all true that the only righteousness of the new covenant is imputed righteousness. The principal emphasis of the New Testament is on righteousness of behavior.
The righteousness of behavior that is taught in the New Testament proceeds from the believer who is growing in Christ. The Holy Spirit is enabling him or her to keep the commandments of Christ. When we find it very difficult to do what the Lord said, we are to go to the Mercy Seat for help in our hour of need.
To claim the principal or only righteousness of the Christian covenant is that which is ascribed to us, is to reveal a profound ignorance of the writings of the New Testament. The hastiest review of the texts will show that our tradition is not scriptural.
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:32)
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Ephesians 4:25)
He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28)
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:4,5)
With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed an accursed brood! (II Peter 2:14)
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20)
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
To be continued.