The Righteousness God Desires.

#ThinkingTuesday – Change your thinking; Change your life.

The Righteousness God Desires: The 10 Commandments As A Compass To Righteousness 

During #MeditationMonday we discussed Psalm 103:17-18, which revealed that although God loves everybody, total obedience attracts God’s everlasting mercy and His righteousness is with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts. 

We also know that God wants us to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness!

Mat 6:33

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

What many of us don’t realise is that this means there is a kind of righteousness God desires from us, and we must discover and understand this righteousness in order to apply it to our lives on a practical level. Today, we begin this series on The Righteousness God Desires to help us examine our hearts as christians and understand what God is really seeking from us in our heart and actions!

#ThinkingTuesdays are all about quotes, and the first comes from Philip Del Re“The fact is, you cannot understand any of the theological terms related to the doctrine of salvation in the New Testament (e.g. Redemption, The Cross, The Gospel, Salvation, Justification and Righteousness) separately from the doctrine of sin.”

As we are particularly concerned with understanding the righteousness that God desires, it means we must understand the doctrine of sin.

Rom 3:23

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Ray Comfort says:  “To tell a man he is a sinner without telling him what sin is, is like telling him he is under arrest without telling him what he’s charged with.”

1 John 3:4:

“Sin is the transgression of the law.”

As christians, we know that “Without God, there is no moral law.” – Ravi Zacharias. To understand the doctrine of sin, we begin not with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 but with Exodus 20: 1-17 where God gives Moses the 10 commandments. The reason for this is simple: “You cannot commit a sin outside of the Ten Commandments.” – D. James Kennedy.

20in_niv_3foldThe ten commandments are the basis for understanding not only the doctrine of sin, but the righteousness that God desires of His children.

What good is it to have godly principles yet not know them? Why should God reveal His mind to us if we don’t care enough to know what it is? Yet the only way we can know whether we are sinning is by knowing His moral law: By the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20)” – Jonathan Edwards.

Therefore, the inevitable result of the knowledge of sin, is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for God’s past, present, and future grace. This in turn produces a passion for obedience and a hatred for sin and this is where a fire for righteousness springs from. An understanding and hatred of sin will produce a fire for righteousness that God desires to see in His children. 

God is not liberal, when He spoke at Sinai, He gave the 10 commandments not the ten suggestions – Malcolm Bradbury. Man has made 32 million laws since the Commandments were handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai but he has never improved on God’s law. – Cecil B. DeMille. Therefore, once you depart from the Ten Commandments as being the foundation of right and wrong, you are in a free fall. – Randall Terry.

As christians, we often overlook the 10 commandments without realising that even The Lord’s Prayer is the spiritual image of the Ten Commandments.”Felix Wantang.

When Jesus taught us to pray The Lord’s prayer, He gave us a direct mirror of the 10 commandments – which is a perfect a prayer of righteousness!

A closer look at the ten commandments reveals that the first four commandments instruct us about our relationship with God, while the last six commandments instruct us about our relationship with one another. This is the same with The Lord’s Prayer! In the first part of the Lord’s prayer Jesus teaches us how we pray to God and in the latter part of the prayer Jesus instructs us on how we pray for one another.

2Jesus Himself used The 10 commandments in His ministry to instruct on righteousness. 

In Mark 10:17-22 where the rich man came to ask Jesus what He could do to get eternal life, Jesus’ response was to quote 5 of the 10 commandments!

“Why do you call Me good? Jesus answered, “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: `Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’“

The rich man said: “Teacher,” I declared, “all these I have kept since I was a youth.”

Delivering the final blow; Jesus said,

“One thing you lack; go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

Rather than quoting the tenth commandment (which is “thou shalt not covet”), Jesus applied the text directly to his heart by asking a covetous person to do something a covetous person would not do! In order to reveal the true condition of his heart, Jesus Christ used the Ten Commandments as His standard to measure the righteousness of the man’s heart!

In John 4: 7 – 29 where Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well and told her of living water, Her response was: “Sir,” I  said, “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds”?

Jesus answered: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

When she said, “Give me a drink,” He said, “Go call your husband!”

On the surface, His answer seems irrelevant. What did calling her husband have to do with getting a drink? Everything! 

She said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus replied, “You are correct, Madam. You have had five husbands, and the man you are living with now is not your husband!”

She responded with, “Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet!”

What was Jesus doing? Just like the rich young ruler, Jesus was asking this woman to do something a fornicator and an adulterer could not do. Jesus was pointing her to the seventh commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Why? because from Genesis to Revelation, God’s word assures us that those who do not repent from the practice of sexual immorality will not enter the kingdom of heaven!

Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor {the} covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6: 9–10)

Therefore, Jesus did not give her the “water,” because she did not understand that ultimately her real need was not water, but the “washing with the water through the word” (Eph. 5:26). Specifically, her real need was the conviction, confession, repentance, and forgiveness of sin! And so because the sin problem had not yet been dealt with, Jesus had to go straight to the heart of the matter and He used the 10 commandments to do so!

In John 3:1–22 we see the wonderful encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus the pharisee.

3Arthur W. Pink in his commentary on this passage writes: “What the sinner needs is to be ‘born again,’ and in order to do this he must have a Savior. And it is of these very things our Lord speaks to Nicodemus. Of what value is teaching to one who is dead in trespasses and sins,’ and who is even now, under the condemnation of a holy God!” 

Here again we see the same pattern. Jesus asked Nicodemus to do something he could not physically do – to be born again.

Where do we see the 10 commandments in this instance? Let me explain, the typical Pharisee thought his salvation was based on the fact that he was a descendent of Abraham. He believed he was on a one-way trip to heaven, based solely on his national and religious heritage. His theology was totally backwards, Nicodemus thought he was an in-law, when in fact he was an outlaw. According to Romans 3:20, the law that this Pharisee thought would save him was the very law that would condemn him! With that one statement, “You must be born again,” Jesus was referring Nicodemus to his misunderstanding of the law. No one was ever saved by keeping it, because perfect law demands perfect obedience.

Here’s the contrast between the three stories:

The rich young man thought he had what it took to be righteous but he was really just cherry picking the law rather than giving total obedience.

The woman at the well was blinded by her sin, unaware of her true spiritual condition and so needed the law to point her towards true righteousness – Jesus Christ!

Nicodemus on the other hand believed his righteousness was fulfilled by virtue of His birthright and position as a religious leader so Jesus had redefine his thinking and theology because the law on its own cannot bring salvation! It is merely a compass to true righteousness gotten by faith in Jesus Christ.

Believer or unbeliever, we surely can relate to one of those three categories and understanding how Jesus dealt with each of these people is essential to knowing what we really need to do to be righteous in God’s sight!

Matthew 5:20

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Next week, we’ll continue our study of the 10 commandments as a compass to righteousness, looking particularly at how the law alone cannot save, which is why Jesus came to bring salvation!

Selah!

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5 thoughts on “The Righteousness God Desires.

  1. Pingback: The Righteousness God Desires (2) | The Gossip 4 Jesus Initiative

  2. Pingback: The Righteousness God Desires (3) | The Gossip 4 Jesus Initiative

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  4. Pingback: 7 Things God Can’t Stand. | The Gossip 4 Jesus Initiative

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