Friday, 1 October 2010

More than Religious Clichés

More than Religious Clichés

"For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:19 NIV).

For those of us who genuinely know Christ as our Lord and Saviour today, we can thank God that we have been made righteous! We can actually declare with confidence each morning in the bathroom mirror, "I am righteous!" To say otherwise would be to deny God's Word that tells us in the above scripture that "...many shall be made righteous." We can of course include ourselves in that. But what does righteousness literally mean for the individual? Religious words can often stay shrouded in mystery and present tiresome clichés that never really gain any meaning in our hearts because their context is always hidden in religiosity. At one point or another many of us have found ourselves in a place where difficult words like, 'righteousness, justification and grace,' have been hard to master until revelation came!

In its most basic form, righteousness means "right standing with God." It means we are "right with God" or in other words we have a "right to stand before Him" - talking to Him as some of us would talk to our earthly fathers. I say, " some of us would" because not all of us have experienced a loving "relationship" with our natural fathers, if at all.

However the meaning of being made righteous, is the reality that God Himself has declared us "RIGHT with Himself," He is willing to receive us anytime and give us unlimited "access" and "proximity" to His throne of grace; a place where we are able to "enter in with all boldness" according to Hebrews 10:19. Without any fear of rejection, judgement or eternal punishment - because His perfect love casts out all fear. Our relationship with Him involves coming freely for "relationship and for prayer," expecting Him to grant every request that lines up with and is "according" to His Word. We are reconciled and prodigal children who have been justified, JUST AS IF WE HAD NEVER SINNED!

Some people think that being right with God means that everything we do now is RIGHT and that we are no longer capable of sin or making any mistakes at all! This of course is nonsense! On the other hand there are others who polarize by going to the opposite end of the extreme; whenever they make mistakes they convince themselves that they are no longer, "right with God" and are going to go to hell. Let me add here, that if we can become so uncertain of our eternal future so swiftly, this is precisely why we must "know" scripture. Not informatively but by revelation. I will also suggest that "being-free" and "staying-free" are two separate phenomena. Why? Only the truth we "know" (have revelation of) can make us free - bring constancy or security into our lives. Only then can we stop living a yo-yo existence of - one day going to heaven - the next going to hell! "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32 KJV).

The truth of the matter of course is that no matter what the mistake - we are just as right with God after our mistake as we were before - why? Simply because our "right-standing-with-God" will never be "governed" by what we have done but solely upon what Christ has done. Walking away from Christ by rejecting His saving grace is something else entirely but we are talking here about "mistakes!" Wilful sin still causes disqualification - of course - but then every one of us has fallen short! "THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.] (Roman 8:1; AMP)

Besides our "born again" experience meant that we were "born into right standing" through Christ - as new creatures all of the old things have passed away. It is our job to remain in this "rightness" with God and enjoy it! But we must recognise that we "enjoy" such a position through Christ alone. Whereas those who are currently not "in" Christ cannot yet be considered "right-with-God" and cannot reap the benefits of such a position until they too accept Christ and what He did for them. Even though many "good and law-abiding citizens" will fail to "entre-in" because they base their eternal future on what "they" have done and not upon what Christ has done - on their behalf. That's like still paying the bill after someone has already picked up the tab for you! Ignorance is never "bliss!" As many will sadly find out...

Therefore anyone who is not in "right-standing" with God in this way can be considered "un-righteous." Whereas all "born-again and Spirit-filled believers;" have no place doubting their salvation at all. Having said this, if we are truly "born-again" then we are obligated to ACT like so! Not by way of a self-righteous attitude or pious "holier than thou" mentality - but a lifestyle that reflects WHO we are living through and who we are walking with! (Gal 5:16)

It must be added at this particular point that if the devil can get us to feel "crummy-enough" about ourselves, then he can take our effectiveness away from us. He does this by using "condemnation." People who are so easily convinced by this - must learn the difference between the "conviction" that the Holy Spirit brings and the "condemnation" that the devil brings. One demoralizes us and the other progresses us. We must remember too, that our adversary is the "master of accusation" and is meant (by all intents and purposes) to accuse the brethren. So why do we act so shocked when it happens!

His role is to "entice us into sin" and then readily "accuse us" once we yield! Nice plan... but it works every time. People the world over are living between the pendulum of temptation and condemnation. Always feeling bad about themselves - guilt ridden and demoralized. That's just the Christians!! Sad to say, but many believers have not dedicated themselves to "renewing-their minds" enough and such a lack of stability gives Satan all the opportunity he requires.

By the time he's done what he is meant to do - entice, tempt and accuse - we don't feel very righteous at all! And it's when we don't feel very righteous that we allow oppression to come upon us. We get to the point where our backs are so against the wall that we can no longer motivate ourselves; by the time it looks so bad we cry out "Help! I can't go on like this..."

What we really need to do is help ourselves! No amount of prayer or help from anyone else is going to stop this vicious cycle. We need to be convinced of our right standing with God for ourselves - this no one else can do for us! Either Jesus did what He did for us or He didn't. It's that precise and simple. Otherwise we will spend our whole lives analyzing what we "feel" about everything - that we never really "do" anything. Exactly the devil's ploy altogether; "I must make them "feel" so crummy about themselves so that they become so "incapacitated, self-absorbed, insecure and ineffective" that they will pose no threat to me at all!"

It's not rocket-science! And to avoid sounding overly cynical here let me point out the critical fact that when we allow the devil to "condemn" us so much - over our individual weaknesses - to the point that we don't believe we are righteous anymore; this is when we also become convinced that God no longer hears us anymore! Then we don't even bother praying. Because we don't believe that it will work - for us! For everyone else perhaps, but not for us! (Consequently that's another ploy of the devil - the "comparison-gap" - but oh how we don't want to get into that one!)

All said and done - even though we like to think that we believe the Bible from Genesis to Revelation; we will still be quicker to believe the devil when he starts accusing us than believe God. When we listen to his accusations, rather than taking God at His Word; what a travesty this is; especially considering all that Christ has done! Plus considering just how effective our lives "could" be if we would just remain convinced for long enough - of truth rather than the lies. "The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available..." (James 5:16 AMP)

For this reason it is paramount that we each "reach" for spiritual maturity and stop being so spiritually "insecure." The God kind of faith is never based upon feelings! Instead the Bible tells us that righteousness is a gift from God. Therefore we are righteous based upon FACT not upon FEELINGS and we must live according to FACT and not FEELING! When we live in this perspective, placing facts over feelings; the feelings eventually catch up!

Nevertheless the Christian who swings from pillar to post, between feeling and fact are usually insecure. Only the secure Christian is dedicated to living according to FACT before FEELING. They develop the kind of life style that is conducive with "obedience and willingness" as mentioned in Isaiah 1:19 - their feelings following but never lead!

In closing let me emphasise the balance. God created feelings and emotions. Therefore without a doubt they have their place. For example we are not austere robots, but creatures able to express love, happiness and joy. This was God's design. However, it was never God's design for us to BASE our faith upon them. When we put so much stock in our "feelings" we always end up misled, into a place of disobedience. Our feelings were never designed to lead but to follow. This is how we "enjoy" an experience. We first have the experience and then the feelings are supposed to follow. That's how we know whether we enjoyed it or not! First thing first; the chicken or the egg! We must always remember that faith follows fact never feeling. But feelings don't become obsolete. They just follow - and help "complete" the experience rather than create it!

Personally I live my life this way. I base my faith on the facts of God's Word; that I AM righteous and nothing can change that as long as I remain in Christ. My emotions cannot manipulate any of the facts. I just accept the fact and put my faith in it and rejoice that even though I am not worthy - the choice was His and not mine. He chose me anyway! I accept His "divine" decision every day and live with the fact that God counts me righteous. Hallelujah!

Heavenly Father I thank You that You counted me righteous because of Your son Jesus Christ. Today I too can count myself righteous because of Him. Nothing can change this fact, least of all my feelings - as long as I remain in Christ. Help me today to live an effective life - so that Your righteousness will never be wasted on me! Help me reveal Christ today - amen.

My position in Christ is secure. I am the righteousness of God in Him. I have all that I need for this life; to grow, to be effective, to learn, to thrive and to succeed. I have all that I need to be the person that God called me to be and do what He has called me to do. My purpose is in His hands. His blue print is in my life. His plumb-line is in my heart. I have the mind of Christ. I will not be convinced of anything "outside" of His mind-set. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries


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