God’s Gospel the Foundation
Believing and Righteousness
When you look in the mirror, who do you see?
I am not talking about fixing your hair, or putting on make-up, or trimming the beard, or brushing your teeth. I am talking about a mental check-up, an evaluation of assets, a check on your goals and objectives, your progress from who you are to the person you desire to become.
When you look into that mirror, who do you see?
I know believer’s, people who have the spirit from God created within them, who are looking for their place in the Body of Christ. They wonder what they can do to help spread God’s gospel. What is their long suit, their talent that they bring to the table? How can they find what God is asking them to do? Some even seek input from what qualities others see in them. A very poor source for reliable and godly input.
We know almost nothing about the youth of Jesus. Like all parents Joseph and Mary would have taught Jesus to speak and to read in both Aramaic and Hebrew, the language of the region and the language of the scriptures. I am sure they had some device that rattled when shaken. I can see them tickling his belly to make him laugh, for he was a human baby and babies are still babies.
To be like Adam, Jesus had to learn, he did not come with a preprogramed mind. I can see Mary, as baby Jesus gripped her finger, touching the back of his hand and saying, “hand, hand,” of course in Aramaic and Hebrew. Like every baby, his diapers were a smelly mess.
At the age of three, Judean sons, as they learned to speak distinctly, were expected to begin to learn to read the scriptures with their father. For children who developed slower this reading would begin no later than five years old. It was also during these early years that they were required to memorize scriptures. By the age of ten each child was expected to learn the Mishnah, the oral traditions, also called the oral torah.
The gospel of Luke, in chapter two and beginning in verse twenty-one, provides us with the most information about Jesus as a youth, from infancy to a pre-teen. In 2:21 Jesus is circumcised. In 2:22-24 we have Mary’s purification ceremony and Jesus is dedicated to God and redeemed by his parents. These ceremonies are followed by Simeon declaring Jesus is the Messiah and Anna saying he is the redemption of Jerusalem. In 2:39 as the family returns to Nazareth Jesus is forty days old. For the next twelve years Jesus grew (auxano), growth from within, growth because it is the nature of a child’s body to grow and become stronger (krataioo) exerted power, strength. “In spirit” is not in the text. Filled to capacity with wisdom, wisdom is knowledge correctly applied and Jesus had God’s grace upon his life.
Beginning in 2:41 we have the account of Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem when his parents left for home. After five days (one day out and one day back, plus three days of searching) of not knowing where their son was, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple.
I honestly cannot imagine what stress they experienced mentally. Their son was missing, for five days! Add to this, he is God’s son also.
And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
At the age of twelve he was leaving an incredibly positive impression upon the Judean Doctors of the Mosaic Law. That would have been a conversation to hear. Over the next eighteen years did he have many of these conversations in his synagogue in Nazareth?
When Joseph and Mary find him in the Temple, Mary expresses how concerned they were when they could not find him, as any parent would. Then we have the first recorded words of our Lord and savior in God’s Word.
And he said unto them, how is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
The word “business’ is not in the text. It has been supplied by “my” and “Father” being in the genitive case. Business implies Jesus was ready to start his ministry and he would not have been doing that at the age of twelve. It is a genitive of possession and more accurately refers to his Father’s house.
Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
New International Version
At the age of twelve Jesus knew who he was and where God had placed His name. Jesus demonstrates his integrity of God’s words.
Jesus then returned to Nazareth with his parents until it was time for him to begin ministering. Reading, memorizing, studying the words of God began when he was a toddler and continued through his teen years and young adulthood. He held God’s Word in the heart of his mind. Consider these words from Jesus.
And Jesus answered him, saying, it is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
For a brief while Jesus and John were both ministering in Judea, this was the time of transition from the Law Administration to the Christ Administration. This time of transition ends when John is put in prison (Luke 3:20).
In Luke chapter four the Devil tempted Jesus. His response was, “It is written.” The words of God sustained him, gave him strength, set his direction.
In Luke chapter four Jesus officially begins his ministry at the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Who was Jesus?
What was his purpose?
How did he see himself?
Where did Jesus find his answers?
What is my point for this stepping aside to glimpse a snapshot of Jesus?
If you look in the mirror and you are not sure what you see, go to Romans through Thessalonians, they are speaking of you and to you. If you are unsure of what you bring to the table, go to Romans through Thessalonians, and learn of the inherent power of God’s gift of holy spirit. If you are not clear of where you should be standing, go to Romans through Thessalonians and see yourself alongside your Heavenly Father.
You say, “But I am not like Jesus.”
No, you are not.
For you have God, in CHRIST, in you.
You are like Christ!
2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
“Beholding as in a glass” is in the middle voice. You do the action, and you receive the result. The Greek word is katoptrizo and it means to show in a mirror, to make to reflect, to mirror. Middle voice and present tense, day by day, and moment by moment see the glory of the Lord, in you.
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Look below the surface. See beyond what the world has told you. Be “changed!” The Greek word is metamorphoo, transformed. Only used four times in the New Testament. Twice for the transfiguration of Jesus, once for renewed mind, and here in 2 Corinthians 3:18. All four are in the passive voice, meaning the action comes from outside of the individual. In the transfiguration God took the action. With the renewed mind the Word of God takes the action. With who you see in the mirror, the Christ in you is taking the action. Yes, God’s gift of holy spirit is within you, but it is outside of your mind.
The Word of God is living, it has power to change because it is a living and powerful God that backs up every word. The spirit of God within you has the power to transform because it is God that infuses that spirit with the nature of God.
Paul told the believers in Corinth not to be ignorant of the Adversary’s devices. One of his devices is self, especially self-condemnation. You see the failings in your own life. But your justification was also in the present tense.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
The Adversary is the great accuser. But each time you are accused before God, the Just judge, God renders a verdict of acquittal, not guilty! If the Adversary’s accusation falls flat before God, let it also fall flat within your own mind.
You have been justified and made righteous. You have been redeemed; Jesus Christ paid the price in full. You have been reconciled with God, your inheritance from Adam is almost completely become null and void. Now you are a joint heir with Christ, this is all part of your foundation in Christ Jesus, and all of this is by the grace of God.
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
You have been saved, rescued by your identification in Christ. Consider Romans 10:10 with the figure of speech ellipsis of repetition.
With the heart man believes unto righteousness (and salvation) and with (the heart and) the mouth confession is made unto (righteousness and) salvation.
Your identification in Christ and your believing opened the door for the power of God to save you, to give you the promised salvation.
Romans 1 :17
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
“For therein,” now supply the ellipsis of verb, (the gospel, God’s gospel).
Verse 17 also begins with the word gar. Therefore, Paul is still explaining why he is ready to speak God’s gospel.
“For therein,” in God’s gospel, is the righteousness of God, genitive of origin, meaning righteousness from God, is revealed, apokalypto.
Helps Word-studies: apokalýptō (from apó, "away from" and kalýptō, "to cover") properly, uncover, revealing what is hidden (veiled, obstructed), especially its inner make-up; (figuratively) to make plain (manifest), particularly what is immaterial (invisible).
Every man, every person seeks righteousness. You see it every day, you hear it every day. I am righteous, look at what I am doing! I am righteous, listen to my gracious and just words. I am saving the climate! I am saving the whales! I am making peace and tranquility! I am giving equity to all of mankind by my acceptance and inclusivity! My ideas will make everything right and good! But does your righteousness come from God?
2 Peter 3:12-13
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
The only thing escaping the second heaven and earth is genuine, authentic righteousness and that is the righteousness that comes from God.
Every person so desires to be righteous that they proclaim it daily. I am righteous, hear me roar, of my self-righteous words and deeds. But if you have rejected God’s gospel, you are in an ocean of sin, treading water until you run out of energy and drown. Anything you see about your new righteousness that does not include what God said in Romans 10:9-10, is a mirage.
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
You can have the righteousness of God, and eternal life or you can have death. There is no second way of life eternal. There is no second path to have the righteousness of God. The righteousness God has given is revealed, uncovered. It is believing (pistis) unto (eis) the promise of God. This new heaven and earth will only have the righteousness that comes from God, that is uncovered in the epistle to the Romans.
Our ritual, baptizma, is Romans 10:9-10. Do you hear God calling? Are you willing to leave your dead, useless works of righteousness behind you?
Romans 10:9-10 (With the ellipsis added)
That if thou shalt confess [homologeo – say the same thing as God’s Word] with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [pisteuo - verb] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved [sozo]. With the heart man believes [pisteuo – verb] unto [eis] righteousness (and salvation) and with (the heart and) the mouth confession is made unto (eis righteousness and) salvation.
We must be sharp with the word eis. Too often these verses are read and then we hear confession brings salvation or confession of sin brings salvation. But it is confession unto (eis) salvation and belief unto (eis) righteousness. You receive these things out of God’s grace, not works.
Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans chapter six and chapter seven are a parenthesis explaining that even though you now have a new spiritual and godly nature, your old nature from Adam refuses to die. Rather it is at war with your new nature.
This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
As a parenthesis you can read from the end of chapter five right to chapter eight without losing the context.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The last half of the verse was added, it is not in the text.
There is no condemnation from God to you. You and God are at peace, you have been reconciled. Righteousness means you can stand in the presence of God without any sense of sin, guilt, or condemnation.
The next words in Romans 1:17 are “from faith to faith.” In the Greek it reads “ek pisteos eis pistin.” First, you have the figure of speech polyptoton bringing emphasis to the believing (faith). Faith, or pistis, is better translated believing.
Ek means out from. Out from your believing. You confessed and believed that Jesus is Lord, and you believed and confessed that God raised Jesus from the dead. You answered the call, you confessed and believed.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Mary’s response to her call always gives me the chills, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” There is pure trust and complete confidence! That is what you did when you confessed and believed. The word believing is the figure of speech metonym of effect, where the effect is put for the cause. The cause is Romans 10:9-10, the effect is your believing.
Then eis pistin, unto believing. We have looked at eis previously, it denotes the motion unto an object with the purpose of reaching the object. Therefore, it is out of your believing Romans 10:9-10 that you reach another or more believing.
What more is there to believe?
All that God has given to you by His grace.
What is righteousness?
It is the Greek word dikaiosyne. It is defined as, “in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.” Another defines righteousness in this manner, “(dikaiosyne from dikaios = being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified being or in accordance with what God requires) is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense dikaiosyne conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm and in Biblical terms the "standard" is God and His perfect, holy character. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God.”
Righteousness is God’s provision to the one who has believed and was thereby justified by His grace (Romans 3:24).
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Righteousness is God’s approval by saying an individual has met the standard to be accepted by God. In the Old Testament Daniel was called to Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar, to interpret a writing that appeared on a wall.
And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES: Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
The part I want you to notice is with Tekel about being weighed in the balances. God has weighed us in the balance and on our own, we would come out like Belshazzar, short or lacking. But add our identification in Christ to our side of the scale and the balance is met. In God’s eyes we meet His standard, His rightness.
Why Daniel? Because of the scales. We are talking about a judgment, an eternal judgment. Scales are part of our symbol of justice in the United States. We have righteousness because a Just judge declared me not guilty, He acquitted me and by His grace gave me righteousness, by (dia = through) the believing of Jesus Christ.
Now, let’s return again to ek pisteos eis pistin, from faith to faith. Ek pisteos is your initial believing of Romans 10:9-10. “To faith” or eis pistin is your continued believing of what God has done for you and in you by His grace.
We just looked at righteousness. Now, continue to claim this, continue to believe this new quality of your life, eis, motion toward an object, your righteousness, with the expectation of reaching the object. The scales are set. You are not a tad short nor smidgin over. Your scales are perfectly balanced. God has made you righteous, now hold on to it, make it your own. In Romans 1:1 it is the gospel of God. By Romans 2:16 it is Paul’s gospel. Now, make it your gospel.
Now multiple it by everything God has done for you in Christ. But you will be under constant accusations from the Adversary that you are a spiritual lightweight or worse a spiritual failure. Ek pisteos eis pistin, out of your initial believing to believing the full package, all that you have received by God’s grace, through Christ Jesus.
“The just shall live by believing.” This is a quote from Habakkuk 2:4. It is quoted in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. There are three aspects to this quote, “just.” Shall live,” and “believe.” All three are handled separately.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
In Habakkuk chapter one we open with a prayer from Habakkuk because of the unrighteous people, the lawlessness in the land. Habakkuk is looking for the judgment of God and God tells him He is preparing to judge Judah with the Babylonians.
Habakkuk finds this hard to understand as the Babylonians are more wicked than the lawlessness already in Judah. Therefore, Habakkuk goes to God in prayer looking for understanding. In chapter two God answers Habakkuk’s prayer, beginning with verse two. However, our quote is verse four.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
The Hebrew accents put the emphasis on “shall live.” The context is about judgment therefore the life spoken of here is eternal life.
That it is quoted in Romans and Galatians, and Hebrews is the figure of speech gnome each time. A gnome is a quotation of a universal truth but used in a different sense. In Habakkuk the sense is on the emphasis “shall live” in regard to eternal life. In Romans the emphasis is on the word “just.”
… as it is written, the just shall live by faith.
“Just” is the noun dikaios and should be read as the just, the righteous ones shall live, both now and eternally by believing.
The immediate context is the righteousness of God, genitive of origin or the righteousness that comes from God. The righteous shall live today, by (ek) out of believing. Believing that comes out of you. The sense is also changed from eternal life to everyday life.
In Galatians the emphasis changes once again.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by (ek) faith. And the law is not of faith: but the man that doeth them shall live in them.
In Galatians the emphasis changes once again, this time to believing. The Galatians had lost their believing in God’s grace and began to work for the righteousness they had already received. They were caught by another of the Adversary’s devices, religion. Religious leaders got the Galatians to turn to the Mosaic Law to work for righteousness.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
“Is become of no effect” is the Greek word katargeo and it means to make idle, to make unemployed, inactive. All that Christ has done, and all that Christ continues to do will be missed because there will be no believing to receive. They still have their promise of eternal life, but the day-to-day joy and fellowship in that knowledge will be missing from their minds. To fall from grace is to lose it, you no longer see it, everything must be worked for, self-righteousness, self-doubt, self-condemnation.
The Bible is not a do-it-yourself book, nor is it a book for dummies! It is a book for those who want to believe! It is a book for those who believe and want to believe more.
All three aspects of this phrase have been handled. Habakkuk handled shall live, Romans handled the righteousness, and Galatians handled believing. The Galatians were having a hard time accepting the righteousness that God had given and began to work for their own righteousness.
If he can, the Adversary will steal who you are in Christ and what God is saying to you today. We need to redeem our time.
Finally in Hebrews the emphasis changes once again.
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
The first thing for the child of God, in the Administration of Grace, to realize is that Hebrews is not addressed to him. But we can still learn from what is written. What is the emphasis of this quotation in Hebrews 10:38?
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
The emphasis in Hebrews is that after you have done the will of God, have patience, has He said it, then He shall do it!
Back to Romans 1:17, what have we learned? We have learned that God’s gospel uncovers, reveals the righteousness that comes from God to man, through Christ Jesus. We learned there is no other righteousness that is acceptable to God. Genuine, authentic, righteousness from God and it is not based upon my works. Next, we are to build upon our initial believing by continuing to believe all that God has done for us and in us in Christ. Our identification in Christ is established with God. It will be attacked, but we can remain steadfast to our believing. Further, we are instructed that the righteous live everyday by believing, enjoying the power and the liberty we have in Christ. Finally, we have seen through the Galatians that the Adversary will endeavor to take your righteousness away mentally. He cannot touch it spiritually, but he can affect you mentally.