HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND ALL THESE THINGS

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HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND ALL THESE THINGS – JESUS SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT

I came across an article the other day which spoke about how difficult it was to get our heads around the ‘Christian’ idea of being right with God without effort on our part. It likened the concept to walking into the exam hall and being given an ‘A’ even before you sat for the exam, or given the day’s wages even before you started work. In this world, it certainly is difficult to understand how we can get something for nothing, since it operates on the mantra of ‘no free lunch’.

But you see that’s just it. Heaven is not a corporation, God is not the CEO. Jesus is not the Head Taskmaster and the Holy Spirit is not the corporate spy. If we look at them through these eyes, we will never be able to understand just how wonderful our Father’s love for us is; and consequently, we will miss out on all the blessings that have been purposed for us to have. So how should we approach God?

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

In our earlier message titled With God it’s about Father to Son not God to Man, we saw that our Father does not want to relate to us as ‘God to man’ simply because we don’t know what ‘god’ means. We have never seen God so we will never know what our role is when we relate to God as ‘god’. At best, we end up thinking of God as ‘boss’; like in the article I mentioned earlier. But if we relate to God as Father, then our role, His desire to love us and the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross can be more clearly understood.

I understand why as parents, we would want to teach our children the value of hard work, and so we make them earn little treats. We incentivize chores like cleaning their rooms and taking out the garbage with treats like extra time for computer games, staying up late to watch television or even extra pocket money. But stop for a moment and think about why we do that. Is it really because we want their labor? Is it really because, as parents, we give only when they deserve it? Hand on heart, you will agree, won’t you, that the answer is ‘no’. We are merely preparing them for the world out there. If we could have it our way, we would lavish every blessing on our children regardless of their behavior, true? Why? Because we love them.

So “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11

Now we can’t have it our own way, but our Father can. And it has been His way from the beginning. Furthermore, there is no cruel world that He needs to prepare us for because unlike us, who need to leave our children eventually to fend for themselves,

“…the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 3:16

Now, imagine if you could be omniscient, omnipresent, invisible and immortal, and you did not have to work for a living. Would you still feel the need to prepare them for the world out there? I wager you’d lavish every excess on them, even spoil them, within reason of course, because you know that you will be watching over them like a hawk all the time. True? So that is how it is with our Father.

So does that mean there is nothing for us to do? Of course, not. Read the verse again.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Seek first the kingdom of God, and that means come home to our Father. Just like the prodigal son, if you have been wandering around, away from our Father’s love, you need to come home to Him.

Now, while our Father is omnipresent and He is with you even when you are in your darkest valley and worst storm, you are still in your darkest valley and worst storm. And while He can turn all that around into good for you, why bother, when there’s Heaven already waiting for you? Plus, the storm has its function, not only for you but for others as well. Just like there is a hell for those who would not repent to spend an eternity in, troubles and challenges await those who would not turn. So while our Father wants to save you, just like He wanted to save Rahab during Israel’s conquer of Jericho, He was not about to stop Jericho from getting conquered because it served another purpose.

So the first thing we need to do is come home to Him and stop wandering around in our wildernesses and valleys.

The next thing we are to do is to seek His righteousness. Now this is not so easy to understand, until we remember this,

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

When Jesus went to the cross, it was not to make a martyr of Him. He went to die for us, for “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), there needs to be atonement for our sins. So Jesus went to be our atonement, so that bleeding, He gave us remission from all our sins, as He said,

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28

Being nailed to the cross, He could be for us healing and wholeness, as He said,

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:14-15

For when He was lifted up on the cross,

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]

And by dying and rising again, He broke free the chains of sin to give us a new life in Him, for

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:3-11 [ESV]

So, to sum it all up,

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

How are we righteous? Through faith in Jesus. Who is it that justifies us? Jesus. How are we justified? Freely by His grace. So what or who is ‘His righteousness’ that we are to seek? Yes, Jesus.

Now, since Jesus has justified us freely,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

Instead, “He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him, also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

So now that we have been made right with our Father, now that we are pleasing to Him at all times and in all things, here comes ‘all these things’. And because

“…the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 3:16

Wherever He goes this happens,

“Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;” Isaiah 40:4

When you move with our Father, all the obstacles standing in the way of you enjoying the abundant life that He came to bring will be overcome; and if you do encounter obstacles, they are probably stopping you from things which are not good for you and will eventually harm you.

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.” Isaiah 40:11

When you move with our Father, all your needs will be provided for, you will be cared for, you will be carried over obstacles and you will never need to worry just where you are to be headed, because He will lead you.

And if you don’t think you can keep up with our Father, if you don’t think that you can keep up with His demands, then the prophet Isaiah has this to say to you.

“Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

He will “…make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].” 2 Corinthians 9:8 [AMPC]

Because He “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. Ephesians 3:20

For you who believe, you are the beloved child of God. So stop thinking that God needs you and wants you to merit your salvation, and His blessings. He is indeed standing ready to give you everything in return for nothing on your part, simply because you are His beloved child and He loves you.

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