Bible Studies

05-1889 Sermon on Righteousness by A.T. Jones

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   2 Corinthians5:17. We have seen how we are brought into Christ and how this says ifany man is brought into Christ he is a new creature. Gal. 6:15; 5:6, nothingavails but this and faith that works by love of God, being made a new creatureby faith. Romans 5:1,2,5; 1 John 5:3--then keeping the commandments comesin after we are new creatures, so then we must be made good, be made righteous,before we can do good or do righteousness; 1 Corinthians 7:19--that isthe aim set before us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-10. We are createdunto good works; made new creatures in him, his righteousness countingfor our unrighteousness. The good works God's creatures are created inChrist to do are the good works we could not do before. So a new creaturewill aim constantly to keep the commandments. James 2:1, 9. We do not havethe faith of Christ with the transgression of the law. Christ did not cometo set us free for that, because if we turn from a single point of thelaw our faith will not avail. But our intent is accepted and ignorant sinsare forgiven, yet willful refusal to accept points of truth presented willcause us to lose all the righteousness we ever had. This explains the fastgrowing evil in the popular churches of today. Years ago the churches werereligious--even when the third angel's message started they were acceptedof God but when they refused to comply with the requirements of the message,then they lost all the righteousness they had and have had to invent allmanner of means by which to keep the congregations together, by entertainments.This is the philosophy of the degeneration of the churches. James 2:14.No more does faith profit unless it is kept alive by these works. God hasprovided, Num. 18, let us show our faith by our works. Faith is the anchorthat holds the craft in the right place to work and the storms beat usnearer home. Verses 21, 23. Abraham was counted righteous when he believedand without works, the other righteousness came in twenty-five years after,so he was not counted righteous by works, that scripture was spoken whenhe believed and more than twenty-five years after James says the scripturewas fulfilled. If he had refused to offer Isaac, his former righteousnesswould have disappeared, so the obedience of his faith completed his righteousnessthat he had by faith. Then our keeping of the commandments is not to becomerighteous, but because we are righteous. Romans 8:26 shows that we cannot even pray aright, but the spirit does it for us, so our prayers areacceptable only through the intercession of Christ and the merits of hisblood. Rev. 8 :3, 4. Here is the intercession in the sanctuary making intercessionfor us and God looks upon Christ, his wounds and his sacrifice and acceptsthem. Christ was perfect before he came to earth, and his absence makesour prayers acceptable, God imputing his prayer for us to us. How is hisrighteousness imputed to us? Are our acts righteous as far as they go andis his righteousness applied to finish out the work? No. Christ's righteousnessstarts at the beginning and makes the action what it ought to be. Romans1:16. Is not our faith greater than when we came here? Do we not see moreof his righteousness than we did? How is it we have more faith and seemore of his righteousness? Why our faith has grown. So it is day by day.We came daily for greater supply of faith. And we finally have so muchof Christ's divine nature in us that we can draw the bow strongly enoughto hit the mark, and then we will be keeping the commandments of God. Thenis it not Christ's work from the beginning and all his divine power? Where,then, do our works come in? Nowhere. Why then do we strive so hard to keepthe commandments, if it avails not? It is only by faith in Christ thatwe can say we are Christians. It is only through being one with him thatwe can be Christians, and only through Christ within us that we keep thecommandments--it being all by faith in Christ that we do and say thesethings. When the day comes that we actually keep the commandments of God,we will never die, because keeping the commandments is righteousness, andrighteousness and life are inseparable--so, "Here are they that keep thecommandments of God and faith of Jesus," and what is the result? Thesepeople are translated. Life, then, and keeping the commandments go together.If we die now, Christ's righteousness will be imputed to us and we willbe raised, but those who live to the end are made sinless before he comes,having so much of Christ's being in them that they "hit the mark" everytime, and stand blameless without an intercessor, because Christ leavesthe sanctuary sometime before he comes to earth. Now some say, "I willlive better; I will try to build myself up into that place where God canaccept me." If a child tries to do something to build up himself that youmay think more of him, and falls, you say it was selfishness and pride,and serves him right; but if a child tries to do something simply to pleaseyou, even though bunglingly done, you commend him and praise him. So withus, if we strive to please our God, no matter how bunglingly we do it,he is so glad to put Christ's righteousness upon us and all heaven rejoicesover it. How often a child tries to help mother and she lets it go on,although mother has to do it all over again--yet she delights in the effortof the child to please her. Now like as a father pitieth his children sothe Lord pitieth them that fear him.

So then we can say withDavid: "I delight to do thy law, oh, my God." Why? Because the love ofGod was shed abroad in his heart. Now let me read a few texts about pleasingGod: Hebrews 11:6. The aim of faith is to please God, because he is sogood. Romans 8:8. Again 2 Cor. 5:14. The love of Christ draws us and weget that love through faith. But can we love God if we cannot keep thecommandments of God? No. We can do neither until we become new creatures.1 John 3:21-22. Now let us read Col. 1:9-10. We should be able to walkpleasingly before him. 1 Thess. 4:1. This then is the root and motive inkeeping the commandments--to please God, and not to make ourselves righteous.God makes and keeps us righteous and then we keep the commandment to pleaseGod who has done so much for us. As then it is the power of Christ throughwhich we keep the commandments now, and it will be his power through whichwe shall live forever in the new earth. His name to us is what? Jeremiahsays it is "the Lord our Righteousness." Jer. 23:5-6.