Worship call 0687 The standard
Worship call 0687
Tuesday July 12, 2022
After the Adam chose to sin against God and the Lord showed up, the Lord did not ask what did you do but where are you.
ON the Lord’s Day Becca, her brother and I were discussing conversations in leading an unbeliever to Christ. we agreed that one of the biggest hurdles that we have to get over and even as believers in learning God’s word and sharing gospel is the issue of vocabulary. We have to define our terms. And we cannot accept that how we are using a word is how our hearers are receiving the word.
When words are redefined, they lose their meaning and when that happens the ability to reach another becomes difficult. Satan’s ploy has over the course of time bastardized the language, redefining sacred words that are necessary in understanding the gospel.
So, we have to define our terms and righteousness is one of those that one might be call a churchy word, but none the less it is an important word in the light of understanding and working out one’s own salvation.
Righteousness – ethical standard and moral conduct. It is the correctness. Uprightness. It is a level of norms and standards that one aspires one’s life to be.
In reference to Righteousness, we will present two Categories
1. Relative Righteousness which is of man and changes in time and cultures.
2. Absolute Righteousness which is of God which makes up his divine holiness. Never changes and is the standard by which one must meet to be approved by God.
After the fall, man stepped out and away from God and God’s standard of right. Man, who was created in perfection, was previously in perfect harmony and was compatible with the place where righteousness dwelt.
But after the fall, man was no longer compatible and was exiled out and away from the presence of God.
Philosophically speaking I don’t know if man is seeking to find the right standard that was lost at the point of the fall to reenter into a relationship with God or if man is seeking his own righteousness to prove to God, he can do it without God. Maybe it was both.
But either way, man seeks to overcome his handicap of being flesh by producing a right and moral standard to live by and to find comfort in being and living.
After the fall, Adam and Isha immediately sought to reobtain that which they had lost. They were outside the bounds of God’s righteousness, and they sought to get back in. they sought to obtain that which man could not possibly obtain on his own.
The fig leaves were as good of a standard as they could achieve to deal with the guilt and the shame that they carried and for however long it was prior to the Lord showing up in the garden they may have felt a bit relieved and maybe comfortable in their fig leaves.
But when standing before the infinitely pure and righteousness of God in the presence of the Lord, the two knew full well that they did not meet God’s standard and being not of God’s standard they were subject to judgment according to God’s standard.
When it came to Cain and Abel the brothers. Abel understood what was required to receive the approval of God. It was Abel who obtained a good witness before the Lord with his sacrifice bringing the very best he could to the Lord with an understanding that God sets the standard.
Hebrews 11:4 (NASB95) — 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
Where does the faith fit in?
Faith is knowing full well that there is no possibility in my own efforts to ever bridge the gap in acquiring a right relationship with God. The Faith comes in where there is obedience to God’s will in that as Abel approach God he would have to trust that God would pick up the slack
James 4:8 (NASB95) — 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Our drawing near can only be so close but unless God draws near to us there will always exist the chasm.
Cain had no heart for God, but none the less he set for himself his own ethical standard of righteousness and when he brought some crops from his field, it met Cains standard, but not God’s. He brought dead works. Works that no matter what it looked like externally. No matter how hard he worked at it by the sweat of his brow. No matter how big and plentiful, when there is no heart for God to complete the journey then man’s efforts are rejected.
Cain Killed his brother to rid himself of that standard that his own may be elevated.
In a sense to rid the world of the light in such a way to make room of his own relative righteousness.
And then there was the brother of Jacob, Esau. Oh, He wanted so much for his Father to bless him. He must have worked really hard to make that meal for his Father in anticipation that he would be blessed by his father. But coming into the chamber he finds that his blessings was stolen, and it was that Esau wept. And you almost felt sorry for Esau as he pleaded with Father.
Genesis 27:38 (NASB95) — 38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” So Esau lifted his voice and wept.
Esau wanted acceptance on his own terms. But what did Esau do prior to this. He sold his birthright for a bowl of soup.
Hebrews 12:14–17 (NASB95) — 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
Clean and unclean throughout the scriptures are not related to the bodily cleanliness but rather the acceptability of God of a person or thing. It is whether or not the person or thing meets the divine standard of God’s righteousness.
Being that God’s standard is infinitely high, man cannot produce or ever reach that standard by his own efforts.
Isaiah 64:6 (NASB95) — 6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteousness’s are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Man is limited with his whole being. Man is limited with giving his all as a human sacrifice. But all of man is not enough if God does not take up the distance in between, it is not our righteousness that will ever be acceptable to God. the level of Righteousness that we look for can only be accredited to us by God.
God not only sets the standard of righteousness, but God is the Standard of Righteousness,
Psalm 11:7 (NASB95) — 7 For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face.
Psalm 7:9 (NASB95) — 9 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.
1 John 1:5–8 (NASB95) — 5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
Man Continues to substitute his own righteousness for God’s righteousness and in effect to get right with God.
Such is called legalism.
The greatest insult to God might be that man by his own means seeks to establish his own level of righteousness and holds it up next to God’s standard.
Oh the legalist can discern right from wrong especially the right and wrong of others but Charles H. Spurgeon says this
These people are some of the hardest to reach with the Gospel. Because like Cain they think that by their efforts that they have been accepted. They may have deemed themselves as pure as the wind driven snow, but they are as lost as lost can be.
What does Jesus say?
Matthew 5:20 (NASB95) — 20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
To live with God forever we must be accepted by God on God’s terms not our own. having been brought up to the standard by God.
We often look at Righteousness as a behavioral or a moral issue. And if we could just fix our behavior and walk uprightly, we would ourselves be acceptable by God.
There is a dangerous ground when one in his own mind have reached a standard level of relative righteousness and think that he is ok.
It is that point that the Legalist by his own efforts have reached the place of perfection but yet does not realize that God has not built the rest of the bridge.