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God's Gift of Righteousness Makes Your Heart Right
(Rom 2:17-29)
by Heshimu Colar

The way of truth is blasphemed by the self-righteous because they're mean spirited. They make their boast in keeping God's Law, and therefore cannot help but to despise others. You cannot trust in yourself without looking down your nose upon those who haven't reached up to your standard. And though you may be outwardly circumspect, self-righteousness makes you unmerciful. Therefore, hurting sinners cannot see the beauty of His glorious person in you. You may be kind to those in your immediate circle of family and friends, but God looks into your heart and sees your general attitude to others is, ". Stand by thyself, come not near to me: for I am holier than thou." and He says, ". These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day (Is 65:5)." (I John 4:20) "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"

"Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God (Rom 2:23)?" Yet, the holy Law of God is most dishonored by your attempt to keep it. God does not accept imperfect obedience, and the Gentiles/unbelievers that follow your guidance are only being taught to blaspheme. God says,"Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible (Mal 1:7)." You insist that God will accept your 'attempts' at righteousness since you know that you can't do anything perfectly. Therefore you say, 'Although I lusted, I didn't do it. So, surely God will accept me if I confess, ask forgiveness, and try to do better next time. Besides, I'm not what I once was, and I'm so thankful that I'm not like this publican'. Yet, the Lord Jesus declared that whosoever lusts in their heart is as guilty of adultery as the woman caught by the Pharisees in the very act (Matt 5:28). Our Lord says "And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? Saith the Lord of hosts (Mal 1:8)." When your boss at work asks for the quarterly report, give him instead a bag of your vomit. Will he accept you? "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision (Rom 2:25)."

The obedience of Jesus Christ is ALL of our salvation. He said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day (John 6:38-39)." Christ was sent to be to obey the Father for everyone of God's elect. Our salvation was placed in His hands, and His righteousness earned Him resurrection from the dead, ascension to the throne, and the right to give us eternal life. "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:40)." Seeing the Son is saving faith, or the sinners knowledge of His Substitute. Believing Him, we possess Him, and we possess every strand of righteousness necessary to make us immediately and irrevocable fit for eternal glory. The filthiest of sinners that believes has the entire righteousness of the law imputed to them (Rom 3:22). "Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision (Rom 2:26)?"

Christ has always purposed to create a people that love Him because of Him and not because we're trying to impress Him. The flesh is not opposed to religion and is willing to do all sorts of things to appease the conscience. Yet, the hardest thing to do is sit down, behold His salvation, and simply love Him through a heart knowledge of His gift of grace. "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly: neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God (Rom 2:28-29)." Christ's obedience for us has purchased every aspect of the sanctification of the Spirit in us (Rom 8:10). While the Gospel is unfruitful in others, you have a new heart that loves Him. We don't do anything to be seen by God, we have all things and believe that He will condescend to use us (I Thess 2:1-5). We don't do anything to be seen by men, but believing God we love them and live as witnesses unto them (I Thess 2:8-10). Right now, we are the eternal children of the Almighty. We don't believe that any of our works moves us nearer or farther from the grace of Jesus Christ. Therefore, not as mercenaries, but in love, we willingly serve Him (II Cor 9:7).(I Tim 1:5) "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."

Here are three reasons why we love Him:

  1. We see the Wisdom of God in making us desire righteousness. He brought us down very low by the Law. He revealed our sin and total depravity. He exposed our noblest works as filled with sin and only worthy of hell. Then when He delivered us from the bondage of the Law, we couldn't help but love Him (Rom 7:1-6). The first response of most newly saved people in the New Testament is joy. There is great peace and liberty when the conscience, made aware of the majesty and fury of the Almighty, can cry out, "I've got peace with God!" Even now, if need be, He gives us trials to purify our faith until we see Him even more clearly as God our Savior (I Pet 1:6-7). We also see the wisdom of God's doctrine of imputed righteousness. We would never have conceived of absolute justification by the obedience of Someone outside of us.

  2. We see the Grace of God. He didn't have to make us partakers of His Son (Rom 9:11-23). It is chilling to the spiritual man whenever God gives us insight into the blasphemy of legal religion. Believers know that we are blessed, heard, accepted, redeemed, and loved because of Jesus Christ alone. However, we do not know why God has chosen us and not someone else. There are many that are more sinful than we are and many less sinful. Many are wiser and many are more foolish. Yet, we are possessors of Jesus Christ, and through Him we have all things. We went from hell's dominion to acceptance before the Face of God without doing a single thing! The Son of God took our place under the wrath of the Almighty, and we'll never be brought into condemnation for a single sin.

  3. We see the Faithfulness of God. My brethren, if it were possible, we would have already sinned away our day of grace, yet He is the Righteous Branch that cannot break. We've tried Him; we've failed Him; and we've even been ashamed for our wretched unthankfulness. Yet, He's faithful to the end and shall never love us any less because of our sins. Instead, all things work together to bring us into the image of our beloved Christ. "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not (Lam 3:22)." John Warburton called it, "The Mercies of a Covenant God."

Lastly, some of you intellectually understand the doctrine of Christ, yet you don't know what it means to worship God in spirit. You would fall away from the fellowship of the saints if you weren't compelled to continue by fear. You're offended that your works are never the cause of God's favor, and therefore you imagine it is vain to serve Him. Most simply put, looking to Christ doesn't constrain you to love. Dear reader, I hope that you do not find refuge in your doctrinal knowledge. Until you trust Him alone, you're just like the most ignorant and vile of unbelievers. without Christ. Right now, poor rebellious sinner, I hope that you are weary of trying to love Christ by what you do for Him, and will for the first time in your life LOOK to Him. "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else (read Is 45:20-25)."

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