What is the Righteousness of God?

Romans 10:1-4 ESV

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Now, in the context of Romans 10, this is speaking of Paul’s concern for his fellow Jews who did not trust in the Lord Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. They were religious people who had a misguided zeal for God but they were ignorant of the righteousness of God. Therefore, they sought to establish their own righteousness, and they did not submit to God’s righteousness. But this isn’t just about the Jews. This can be applied to anyone who seeks to establish their own righteousness, or their own gospel, or their own salvation based on their own way of thinking and reasoning, and not God’s.

So, what is the righteousness of God? If we go back to Romans 6 we can read about it. For if we are of genuine faith in Jesus Christ, we were crucified and buried with Christ in baptism into death to sin (and death to self), and we were raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, no longer living as slaves to sin, but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. And God’s righteousness is whatever is deemed right in the eyes of the Lord, which is such things as holiness, godliness, moral purity, uprightness, honesty, faithfulness, and obedience to our Lord and to his commands.

Therefore, we who believe in Jesus with God-given faith, and who have died with him to sin and who have been raised with him to walk (in conduct, in practice) in newness of life in him, are to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For if sin is what we obey, it leads to death, not to life everlasting. But if obedience to our Lord is what we obey, it leads to righteousness and sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For when we were slaves to sin, we were free in regard to righteousness, and the end of those things is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

And then let’s look at Romans 8. It says that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For if we live according to the flesh, which means our minds are set on the flesh, the result is death, not life eternal with God. But to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. So, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if we live according to the flesh, we will die. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live with Christ for eternity.

Now let’s go back to Romans 10 with that understanding. Speaking of the righteousness based on faith, we read in verses 9-10:

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

Now, we have to read these two verses in the context of the whole of Romans and not take these two verses out of context to establish our own righteousness which does not submit to Christ’s righteousness. For many people are pulling these two verses out of context and they are building their own doctrine of faith and salvation around them. And so they are leading many people to believe if they just make a verbal confession of Christ as Lord and if they profess faith in Jesus’ resurrection, that they are now saved for eternity, done deal. But that isn’t what this is teaching.

For one, what would this mean to a Jew of that day who was still living by the Old Covenant? For a Jew of that day to profess that Jesus Christ is Lord (God, Messiah), and to confess that they believe in his bodily resurrection, was the kiss of death for them. Surely they would now be hated and rejected and persecuted and even put to death for their profession of faith in Jesus Christ. So this was not a light matter. And this was not saying to them that this profession was all that was required. For if Christ is Lord of our lives, we are now walking in obedience to his commands, or he isn’t Lord.

But many people are being convinced that all they have to do is make a profession of Christ as Lord and say they believe in his bodily resurrection and that now they are saved for eternity and heaven is guaranteed them when they die, and that nothing else is required of them. But we have to read the whole of Romans, and the whole of the New Testament, to get an accurate picture of what it means to be saved from our sins. And what many people are saying, that isn’t it. For we must die with Christ to sin daily and walk in obedience to his commands or we don’t have eternal life with God.

But there are many people in the gatherings of the church claiming Romans 10:9-10 as their gospel of salvation. They are believing that they are now saved for eternity, and that all their sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and that heaven is now secured them, regardless of how they live or of how many times they sin. And so they end up living self-indulgent and selfish lives, continuing in deliberate and habitual sin, while claiming Jesus as Lord and as Savior, and while claiming heaven as their eternal home. But that is a lie from hell that they are believing, and it will end in death.

For we read in the Scriptures that if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness (living righteously) and obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant) are not what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God, and we will not enter the kingdom of heaven, regardless of what our lips profess. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the ones DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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