Tag Archives: Righteousness

The Gospel (by Ross Penniall)

The Gospel is more than just scandalous. It’s an offense to almost every culture, and will continue to be so for many centuries to come. But say what you must, it is incredibly good news to the people who have come to the end of themselves.

John wrote what is arguably the most famous verse in the Bible: John 3:16. It is so because it captures the heart of the Author, and His love letter, in one easy-to-understand sentence. It doesn’t need a professor to interpret it or a scholar to to unpack its truth. It’s simple: God loved. Jesus came. Men believe. Eternal life is given. John expresses the ease with which one is rescued from eternal condemnation: Believe in God’s one and only Son.

But that should cause one to stop and ask: What does it mean to believe in Jesus? What exactly are we to believe about Jesus that will grant the gift of eternal life to the one who believes?

Allow me to answer these all-important questions for you …

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GOD

Many don’t like the idea, But God is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-present. He gives and sustains life,  and without Him nothing would exist. He is righteous and holy, perfect in every way. He exists outside of time. He sees all, and knows everything about everyone. Like it or not, He is Lord of all, including us.

MAN

We are unholy. We are unable to save ourselves, even though many don’t even believe there is an actual afterlife. We are rebels to the core. We are lost in our sins. We are worshipers of ourselves and live to please ourselves. We are unable to please Him or know Him. We don’t desire Him on any level. We are lost. Our destination is damnation. And truth is, that’s a just sentence, and we are in desperate need of a savior.

Side note: A good doctor doesn’t just give a sick man medicine. A good doctor whips out the x-rays. He displays pictures of the disease. He doesn’t hold back. He calls a spade a spade and gives the sick man a blunt, open and honest diagnosis of how bad it really is, to the point that the sick man is virtually begging for the remedy. One of the reasons why men don’t desire God’s remedy (Jesus) is because they aren’t aware of how sick they really are.

REMEDY

Jesus is God’s remedy for a sick and dying world. He came to seek and save the lost. Jesus paid the penalty for every lost man’s sin, and this for all time. He died for me and He died for you! He took the full brunt of God’s wrath at sin upon Himself. He reconciled God to the world. On the cross, He who knew no sin became sin, so that through Him many would become righteousness. He is the only way to God. He is the only remedy for a lost and dying world.

RESPONSE

God is holy. I am unholy. I need saving. Jesus made it possible for me to be saved. That’s the message. The invitation is simple: BELIEVE! Church attendance is not a prerequisite. Neither is obeying the commandments or praying every day. “Quit smoking!” “Stop using foul language!” “Stop watching Internet porn!” “All good advice, but not the Good News. Jesus is the Good News. He lived the life we couldn’t live. He died the death we all deserved to die. He then gives us a salvation we could never earn. Grace is given to those who don’t deserve it. That’s you and me, my friend! And so, man’s response is so simple: just believe. Unwrap the gift and say thanks.

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That’s why the Gospel is an affront to just about every culture. Lost men don’t like to be told they are sustained by a loving Creator even if they don’t know or acknowledge it. Lost men don’t like the idea of being told that they are not good enough, no matter how hard they try. Lost men don’t like the idea of being told that they need help. Even those who believe in a God up there somewhere don’t always like the idea that Jesus is the only way to Him. And having crossed that bridge, the thought that we owe no debt or payment in return is scandal all the more. It sounds too good to be true. But it is so good because it is true!

I will never stop enjoying these truths. In fact, we’ve only scratched the surface in understanding how glorious the Gospel really is.


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A guest post for SMGN by Ross Penniall – lover of Jesus, lover of life, and lover of SoMuchGoodNews.

 

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Sure Foundation

foundationEvery building requires a solid foundation. Paul used this common-sense metaphor when writing to the Corinthians. His application was unequivocal: There is only one foundation, and it is the one already laid. That foundation is Jesus.

Notice what he didn’t say. He didn’t say that Jesus is a preferred foundation, the best available. He was emphatic. Jesus is the only foundation. In other words, nothing else is a foundation in any ultimate sense at all. Other passages of Scripture attest to this. All things were created by and for Jesus, and all things find their place in Him. In the broadest sense, when all is said and done, everything that can be shaken will have been shaken. Only that built on the unshakable foundation of Christ’s perfect work will remain. Christ and His redemptive work alone will stand.

“In righteousness you shall be established”, promised Isaiah as he expounded on the benefits of the New Covenant. The righteousness in question is not our own, but Christ’s. It is His right standing with God in which we are established. That is the unshakable foundation into which the Holy Spirit embedded us when we believed. This truth lies at the heart of the Gospel, for in it a righteousness is revealed that is by grace alone, through faith alone, and because of Christ alone.

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This is Christianity’s bottom line, no ifs or buts. In the instant that we placed our trust in Jesus, a cluster of extraordinary things happened. His story became our story as Holy Spirit united us with Him in His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. From that moment onward we were no longer dead, entombed in our trespasses and sins. From then on we’ve been alive to God and in Christ, and seated in heavenly places in Him. In that same instant we were also born again of the Spirit of God, and Holy Spirit literally took up residence in us. This was possible because our unrighteousness had been removed from us, and Christ’s own righteousness imputed to us. Right then and there our lives were immovably and irrevocably secured into that one unshakable foundation. This is true of every single Christian. There are no exceptions.

Let’s say it again. Each and every believer is in irrevocable right standing with God. We are all righteous with the perfect right standing of Jesus Himself. That is the Gospel, and deserves belabouring at every opportunity. Enlist your imagination and look down using the eyes of your spirit. What do you see beneath your feet? More solid than rock, the right standing of Jesus, unshakable beneath your feet.


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Extract from “Living in the Will of God”. Coming soon to a computer near you!

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Living life well

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The Gospel ushers us into condemnation-free living. In right-standing with God, and the rich promises of Scripture ours, there is every reason for living life well. These few modern-day parables will help establish you in the good of the New Covenant. It is God’s will for you to live there with confidence and ease.

Life is walking the high-wire, with Christ our safety net. We might slip and fall in the day-to-day, but we remain safely suspended in the lofty context of His victory. When we lose our footing, there is no inevitable devastating plunge to destruction. All there is to do is regain our equilibrium and get walking again. Consequently, we walk the tightrope confidently, without anxiety or fear, no matter how tetchy things might get on a wind-buffeted high-wire from time to time.

Life is an innings at the crease with an umpire who will never give us out. The bales scatter; we’re not out. Caught playing the shot; not out. Plumb LBW; a shake of the head from the umpire. We can’t even be run out. That’s because every ball that life or the devil bowls at us in the cricket game of life has been rendered a no-ball by the cross. Every one remains a scoring opportunity, but none can take our wicket.

Life is a ride on an up-escalator. The inexorable upward momentum of the life of Christ makes it well-nigh impossible for us to lose ground. Serious regression takes concerted, sustained effort, for He wills and works for our salvation at all times. We all stumble from time to time, but as we do, the escalator of His loving-kindness continues to carry us into our preferable future. In all things, He works for our good, even if the things themselves are not of Him, and not good. We can rest in Christ and enjoy the blessings and privileges that are ours by unmerited favour.

Ours is the privileged life of the adopted child. The fact is that we are His four times over – He created us; He redeemed (purchased) us; We are born again of Him; and He adopted us. The adoption aspect of it all was transacted by grace in the moment of faith, and it means that we and all of our stuff are His! We have a new name, and it’s His. And so, on the giant school playground of life on earth, who’s your Daddy? No need to submit to the bullies of anxiety, fear, guilt, condemnation and shame, and no need to inflict them on others. Rather, we live secure in the family to which we’ve been added – the community of Father, Son, Holy Spirit and saints.

I want to live for Jesus. I want to live life well. You do too, or else you wouldn’t bother reading this kind of post. Only those who have received the gift of His perfect righteousness can do that, because everything else falls short. But in Christ, that which we do in response to His love, is done in partnership with His perfection and under its banner. The result is ordinary men and women living lives to the glory of God, and doing so in the mundane of the daily, and at times doing extraordinary exploits.

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All things are possible

A Christian can never be powerless. That very thought is a contradiction in terms. Christians are righteous. They are in Christ and Christ is in them. Anyone in right-standing with God, and in right-standing with the right-standing of Jesus at that, qualifies for and has access to all of the resources of heaven. Powerless? Never!

Christians might acknowledge their utter weakness apart from Christ. They might point to their absolute dependence on Christ, in all things, and for all things. They may even subject themselves under God’s hand to injustices of all kinds. Paul encouraged being wronged above seeking vindication (I Cor 6:1-8) and elsewhere are described those who suffered mocking, flogging, chains and imprisonment, who were stoned, sawn in two or killed by the sword, and who were destitute, mistreated and afflicted (Hebrews 11:36-40). Such things may well have the appearance of weakness, but they are in fact examples of strength harnessed for the unity of the bretheren, or for perseverance in times of persecution.

Jesus harnessed His strength and in humility laid down His life. He chose when to die, where to die, and how to die. His life was not taken from Him. His was a life given. In the same way, His followers may well lay down their lives in any number of ways, submitting themselves to the unenviable for He bids them so do. This is not weakness. This is extraordinary strength.

Let us be clear. A Christian can never be powerless. Apart from Christ we are hopeless and helpless, but in Him we can do all things, because these things are accomplished by His strength at work in and through us (Phil 4:13).

Nothing is impossible with Him!

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Condemnation-free living

      Some days are better than others. Today is one of those others.

Nothing cataclysmic mind you. But there are some relationships that would have been a little less tender right now had I been a little less reactive. And so much more could have been accomplished had I been a little better organised and a little more focussed. Time for some recalibration!

This is not the first day that I’ve had like this, and it will sadly not be the last. Nothing extraordinary there. But what is extraordinary is our consolation in Christ at times like these. My performance is variable. Jesus never changes. And the Good News is that my right standing with God is based on His performance and not my own. My righteousness is a constant because it’s an untarnishable gift. I’m not even sure if untarnishable is a word, but reminding myself (on the good authority of Scripture) that I’m in fellowship with God and fully acceptable to Him is the game-changer on days like these.

Believing quickly makes it experientially true. Thinking on these things is always breathtaking in its effect. The downers of guilt and shame are dispelled by the influx of peace and joy. Darkness yields to light, death yields to life, despair yields to hope, and muttering is replaced by gratitude and praise. A mood swing in the right direction is a lovely thing!

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). There is no better way to live! Thank you Jesus!!

 

 

 

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