Many people believe that we need to have a righteousness independent of Christ. And that quite simply is not true. It is because of HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS that we now walk differently.
Here’s the REAL GOSPEL:
Our righteousness is from Him. And He changes us into people who do works of righteousness.
Let me show you…
First let’s go to Ephesians 4 and see how Paul explains the Gospel to uncover the question of what His righteousness looks like in our life…
Ephesians 4:17Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
Notice that Paul says here that we no longer walk as Gentiles, I think we are both sides are in agreement here that we must no longer walk in the futility of the world’s ways. By the way futility means: pointlessness or uselessness.
The point Paul is making is that the Gentiles way is useless, empty, vain. Sin is the way of destruction and death. Why would we want it when we understand a better way in Christ? We wouldn’t. The problem is RENEWING of the mind. Which Paul continues into…
18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
Notice they are darkened in their understanding, they don’t KNOW better, and because of this they are ALIENATED (or SEPARATED) from the LIFE of God. God’s ways are life, freedom, love, liberty, and joy. These are the things we truly want, but have been lead (conformed by the world) to believe we need to sin to have. This is a big point. Sin is a lie that doesn’t satisfy.
19They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Callous meaning: showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others. We see this in the life of the Pharisees it is a life devoid of love. And because of this, they feel they have to love themselves, take care of themselves through sensuality and greed. Pride is believing our way is better than His way. But once again this doesn’t truly satisfy or lead to life.
And here is what Paul is driving at… He says to the believers… look the way of the Gentiles… who DON’T know better is not the way you are to walk!!!
Paul is stressing in verse 20 if you have truly been taught about Christ as He really is… which unfortunately my friend is the biggest issue (IMO) that the Church faces… which I will get into in just a minute….
Put off your old self. This is the key if you will to RENEWING of minds. It is the understanding that you are NOT the old man, but you are the new man. A new creation (2 Co 5:17). So anything that belongs to the former manner and is corrupt is not who we are now in Christ. We are new creations. Reborn. New trees that bear good fruit (Matthew 7:17) UNLIKE the Gentiles who do not know better because they are still bad trees. They haven’t been changed by Christ yet.
But Paul explains who we are now…
24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
So we put off the old man (the lies) of who we once were, but are no longer. And we put on the new self. And what is this new self? It is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. The tree is changed, so the fruit is changed.
The problem is that people don’t have their mind’s renewed to who they NOW are in Christ. So they are still trying to DO to BECOME, but this doesn’t work. Because every thing you are told to DO to BE is simply an obstacle to receiving what Christ has done.
So while I agree that we are clothed in Christ righteousness. It is because of His righteousness that we no longer live, but Christ does in us. And we in Him. That now we naturally do the things of God. This is why it’s called fruit of the Spirit.
The main driving point of Scripture is to look at your fruit to determine your root. And I agree. But also there is a place for knowing who we are in Christ. And who Christ is in us. That’s why we see Scripture writers continually exhort believers to walk as Christ. Not because they weren’t saved, but because they didn’t understand who they now were. And that is still the problem in the church today.
I believe people will always choose God when their mind is renewed to His goodness and kindness. The problem is the lies they are believing about Christ and themselves. That’s why renewing of the mind is what causes transformation. And yes He prepares the works for us to walk in. We are simply obedient. But not because we “have to be” but because we “get to be”.
He is a heart God. He wants true obedience from a place of understanding how good He is. Not how good you’re trying to be. Once we accept we are eternally saved – we are off the treadmill of trying to earn our salvation – and we begin to walk in a place of right relationship out of love for Him and His people.
Here’s today’s main point. Don’t read Scripture for what you must do, but for who you now are. Through the lens of promise in Christ. Because of His righteousness in you. And then you will be free to be loved and be love to the world.