He guides me in path’s of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23: 3
No you did not miss a post. No I am not confused about the order of Psalm 23. I know that the next post should be about greener pastures. But we have to start at the beginning and I can honestly say that with Christianity “greener patures” are not the beginning. Before we ever get to the green space we have to be led in righteousness.
Now righteousness is a sticking place for most of us, because it’s not something we produce naturally as humans. Goodness is not a part of who we are. It goes against our fallen grain. Still, righteousness is a prerequisite for entrance into Heaven. God understands that if we are to get to the good place it is up to Him. The truth is He has staked His reputation on saving us and bringing us to righteousness. That’s comforting to me because I know He will not let His name be brought down. While there are areas of goodness I still struggle with this struggle is not forever because for the sake of His name He is going to lead me into righteousness!
So tell me what’s the best way to become more righteous?
For me, I think sanctification is the best way to become more righteous. It is only with God’s grace that we can strive to be slaves to righteousness which then can lead to holiness. As creatures of the flesh it is hard to stay focused on one thing for very long and that’s why sanctification has to be a constant reminder that our goal is to be more Christ like in everything we think and do. I must admit it is really hard sometimes to stay focused on my Heavenly goal. Thank you, God, for all the grace you give me.
Staying focused. That’s a good way to put it! The one job we can do is to stay focused on God so that He can perfect us! Thanks! 🙂
If I tried with all my might 24/7 I could not become righteous.
Praise God that when Christ TOOK MY sin, He GAVE me HIS righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21.
I, myself, am very far from righteous, but I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and God sees me through HIS righteousness. Of course, this does not absolve me from my obligations to reckon myself dead to sin and alive to Him. Of course, my life is still a continual growth in Christ as He works in me, bringing me to His goal for me: that of Christlikeness. Ephesians 4:13. I know I have a long way to go, but I know He will achieve His goal and one day He will present me faultless before the throne.
What an amazing God!
A-men! His blood not only forgives sin but takes away my sin. As I “reckon” myself dead to sin, He makes it so!
I would say that daily dying to myself and asking Him to fill me up and change me. 🙂
God bless you as you lead us through Psalm 23!
That is true. As we lay ourselves as living sacrifices upon the altar He changes us!
“While there are areas of goodness I still struggle with this struggle is not forever because for the sake of His name He is going to lead me into righteousness!”
and all God’s people say ‘Amen!’ 🙂
I gather ” I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus”, but I think it’s not enough to bear the name. I have to walk the talk.
And how much I need to rely on Him to help me walk the walk! He is so faithful!
By Becoming more righteous.
Indeed Pastor Brad! Thanks for the revelatory word 🙂
“Goodness is not a part of who we are. It goes against our fallen grain.” J, are you fallen or are you redeemed? Are you the old creation, or a new creation? Your old man has died! Goodness is now a part of who you are. You are one with Christ now, and He has given you a new heart. You are not fallen, and you don’t have a sin nature…you are a partaker of the divine nature. You just have habitual sin patterns of behavior that the Spirit is breaking you free from (me too…shhh…don’t tell anyone).
“Still, righteousness is a prerequisite for entrance into Heaven.” Unless I misunderstand, isn’t the context of this blog to do with righteous living? Is that really the righteousness that serves as a prerequisite for entrance into Heaven? That would be self-righteousness…even if we were relying on the Holy Spirit to “empower” us for this righteous living…it’s still not enough…Because the focus would still be on our actions (with a shot of Holy Spirit juice for a little more kick). Let’s take our eyes off of ourselves and set our gaze onto Jesus. Our righteousness needs to surpass that of the scribes and pharisees, who held the law much better than you or I. They were as “righteous” by “holy living” standards as you can get. Whether you are talking Old Testament law or New Testament principles of living, we’re still talking about performance based on a system of rules…ultimately we musn’t focus on these laws or principles…we must focus on Christ.
“So tell me what’s the best way to become more righteous?” My short answer is this…Righteous living is obtained the same way righteous standing is – by faith alone.
Our post-conversion response toward sin is to be the same as the pre-conversion response. There is nothing we could do before being saved to become righteous as there is nothing we can do now to become more righteous. As believers, we are the righteousness of Christ already by faith! We live righteously by this same faith, not by righteous works. We are not perfected/completed by our good works, for we are already perfect/complete in Him. We are to simply believe it.
I cannot get any more righteous or holy than I am right now. That’s not just pretty language Paul uses. It’s not just a “positional” truth. It is a truth in reality of who I am. I may not always act like it, but that doesn’t change my identity. I’d argue the more I believe my identity, the more I will live out the reality of it. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Why don’t we let go of our sin focused christian mantra that we have gotten ourselves into and just rest in His arms and trust in His love for us…in His acceptance for us. Let’s focus on that…imagine…we could be Christ focused instead of sin focused! Imagine how nice that would feel? Can’t we let go of our efforts and our preoccupation with our actions and just rest. Stop focusing on how good we’ve been or how bad we’ve been. We will either come away with shame when we mess up or pride when we succeed. Let’s set our gaze on Perfect Beauty!
If we seek to live righteously by our dutiful obedience to the OT law, customs, NT commandments, principles, or by any other means, we “frustrate the grace of God.” God’s grace is frustrated when we seek after a ‘works-based righteousness’ instead of the ‘faith-based righteousness’ we were given. Such performance even includes: studying our bibles, praying, giving, evangelizing, abstaining from sin, regularly confessing known sins, taking up our cross, worshipping, serving others, attending church, tithing, fasting, etc. Nothing is wrong with these activities, they are very good. Yet, they can develop into “works based righteousness” and we can easily lose sight of “faith based righteousness”, especially when we start to emphasize these activities over the Person of Jesus.
Religion — emphasizes the importance of sacrifice, devotion, ritual, and how much people should do for God. The gospel — emphasizes the importance of the sacrifice and work of Jesus Christ.
Old covenant mentality – You and what you must do for God vs. New covenant mentality – Christ and what He has done.
When our eyes are off of ourselves and onto Him, it’s amazing how much more “righteous” we can live…
And that brother is the glory of a meditation when 275 words of a devotional create 450 words of a “yeah but”… Now onto your points: “J, are you fallen or are you redeemed? Are you the old creation, or a new creation? Your old man has died! Goodness is now a part of who you are. You are one with Christ now, and He has given you a new heart. You are not fallen, and you don’t have a sin nature…you are a partaker of the divine nature. ”
Paul writes “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. ” Rom. 7:18 He also writes “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) ” Rom. 8:9
The whole heart of the matter in Romans 7 and 8 is that God has raised our spirit’s to life and now we can live out of the spirit, not by our own strength but by His strength living in us.
I still have a sinful nature for I still have a flesh even while I am redeemed and made into a new creation. My redemption is completed and in process. So yes I can say ” Now righteousness is a sticking place for most of us, because it’s not something we produce naturally as humans. Goodness is not a part of who we are. It goes against our fallen grain.” My natural man will never be good. That is why the corruptible is going to have to put on incorruption and the mortal put on immortality. That is why I still have to reckon myself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. I guess if you want to define that as not having a “sin nature” just having “sinful patterns” it sort of works out the same. Either way if we don’t let Him lead us we end up sinful and messed up through our journey in this world and probably short a few rewards in the next.
Any goodness I have is supernaturally produced in me by Christ (we agree on that) as I focus on Him so He can do His work. That was sort of where I was going with the post. My message is stop trying to lead yourself and let God bring the goodness He plants in you to harvest. My goodness Matt we have now written four times more in the comments than I did in the actual post. 🙂
It’s just like the commentaries on the Bibles nowadays. 250 pages of Scripture and 1000 pages of commentary:) I have put together something I would like to send to you via email. It would be a few pages on our flesh, Romans 7 and on sinful nature. You may not agree with it, but I do think you will find it interesting and perhaps even valuable. Anyway, here is a “quick” response.
I used to agree with everything that you said. That being said, I’d challenge you to look into the possibility that what you are believing about the sinful nature isn’t scriptural…and even damaging…I’d add that it leads to confusion for the people hearing that teaching. What you are teaching actually has it’s origins in eastern gnosticism and philosophy. The current church has filtered it’s interpretation of the Bible through that lens, and done great harm…in my opinion.
This is dualism and it causes scizophrenic Christianity…”I’m holy but I am sinful.” “I have Christ in me, but I have sin in me.” There is a BIG difference between stating you wrestle with sinful patterns in your flesh vs. stating that you are at war with your sinful nature. No wonder we can’t walk in confidence in our identity as children of God…We have two opposing natures at war within us. That’s a very “ying and yang” philosophy for us to have as a Christian.
You “reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to Christ” because it’s true. It’s what you are. Reckoning it doesn’t make it so. You are declaring and believing a fact about yourself.
Romans 7 is one of the most controversial chapters in the Bible and using that as a proof text to make your point isn’t helpful:) Romans 7:18 doesn’t say “sinful nature” in the Greek…it is sarx, which as you know is “flesh.” Sinful nature and flesh are two completely different ideas. Just because you have flesh does not equate with having a sinful nature. We once had a sinful nature that empowered our flesh. Now the sinful nature has been removed and our flesh is no longer in bondage to Sin as it’s master.
Paul states that “in his flesh” dwells no good thing. Romans 8:9 states that we are not “in the flesh”…interesting. A few verses later he cautions to not “live after” the flesh. Interesting choice of words that Paul uses here.
Some view this portion of Scripture as Paul remembering his pre-conversion state and identifying with those who are in that place. Some others interpret this as Paul stating what his identity and life would be like if he was under the law again vs. under grace. My point being that there are some ways to interpret Romans 5-8.
Thank you Matt and you are right I do not agree. I would love to read the information via e-mail and share my thoughts with you.
🙂 certainly my friend