Tag Archive for God´s righteousness

Put God first (part 3 cont.)

From the inception of humanity beginning with Abel, offering the Lord His offering, His sweet smelling aroma is the source of man’s righteousness. Immediately following the scripture which teaches that practicing righteousness differentiates the children of God from the children of the devil, we read the following instructions; “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brothers righteous”(1 John 3:11-12).

So the question is, why did God regard Abel’s offering, and disregard the offering made by Cain? And, not only did He highly regard Abel’s Offering, but He also commended Abel as being a righteous man.
So how did Abel attain righteousness? This is what we learn from the scriptures; “In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the first fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord has regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard” (Genesis 4: 3-5).

We are further told that, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, by faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings” (Hebrews 11:4).

Therefore, the reason why Abel’s offering was accepted, and Cain’s not accepted it was because, Abel offered to the Lord the sacrifice, the sweet aroma which satisfies His will, one which depicted the best he could offer for his redemption. For the word of the Lord says clearly, “The life of all flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for ones life” (Leviticus 17:11).
The priests were instructed by the Lord saying, “You must not redeem the first born of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” Again the Lord said to them; “The priests shall burn them (the fat) on the altar as food, and offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma. All the fat is the Lord’s. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. You must not eat any fat or any blood” (Numbers 18:17; Leviticus 3:16-17).

The sprinkling of blood and the burning of the fat of clean animals which were offered by Abel, and also the Levitical priesthood, were a type which foreshadowed the real sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is the best, the sweet aroma, and only sacrifice that fulfills the Father’s will in presenting the worshiper holy and blameless before Him.
It is this secret mystery that was hidden for ages in God who created all things; and that through the church, His manifold wisdom might now be made known to the principalities and powers (Satan and his demons) in the heavenly places.
This secret mystery is in accordance to the eternal purpose which God has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we now have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in Him. Therefore, the practical righteous which one should seek first and which distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil is faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which is proclaimed and demonstrated by partaking of the bread and wine. As it is written; “For as often as you eats this bread, and drinks this cup you proclaim (demonstrate) the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11: 26).

When God’s people the church, assemble together, they come to Mount Zion which is figurative to the Church and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in joyful assembly, and to the assembly of the first born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a Judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant which He instituted on the night before His crucifixion when He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ And took the cup gave thanks and offered it to them saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant which is poured for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).

This covenant became in force only after the death of Jesus Christ, and became the means by which we can become ceremonially clean. For so says the scriptures; “He (Christ) entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.’

Therefore He is the Mediator of a New Covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when someone has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living” (Hebrews 9: 12-18).

Therefore the New Covenant which Jesus Christ instituted on the night before His death, became effective after His death, and it is now the means by which one becomes ceremonially clean and can now draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with their hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, and their bodies washed with pure water, and Jesus Christ as their Mediator interceding on their behalf.

Therefore to put God first by seeking first His righteousness necessitates offering the Lord His offering at His appointed times. For thus says the Lord; “Give this command to the children of Israel and say to them: ‘My offering, My food for My offerings by fire (zeal), My pleasing aroma, you shall take heed to offer to Me at its season” (Numbers 28:2).

We were not left in ignorance as to when is the due season, or the appointed times are, for they are clearly stated in the book of Numbers chapter 28 and 29, and Leviticus chapter 23. As a matter of fact a holy or sacred assembly is a time God has sanctified and set apart for His people to appear before Him, and the specific purpose for this sacred assembly is to offer to Him His offering, which is besides or in addition to anything else one offers to Him.
For thus says the Lord “These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord offerings by fire, burnt offerings (which in our new dispensation is the Lamb – Jesus Christ), and grain offerings (flour mixed with oil – unleavened bread), sacrifices and drink offerings (wine), each on its proper day; besides the Sabbaths of the Lord, and besides your gifts, and besides whatever you have vowed, and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:37-38).

It is this act of righteousness that the children of God have become enslaved to: For having been set free from sin, we have become slaves of righteousness. God requires that this offering, the food for His offerings, His sweet smelling aroma be offered to Him at its appointed time, and has set aside specific times for His children to come together before Him, specifically to offer to Him His offering, this is why the practice of this act of righteousness differentiates the children of God from the children of the devil.

This is the act of righteousness, that when practice produces holiness, and ultimately everlasting life. It is this same act of righteousness that when practice, one becomes righteous even as Jesus Christ is righteous. Therefore we have been warned saying; “Dear children, do not let anyone deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7).

The same way Abel was commended as being a righteous man because he offered the Lord the offering which was pleasing to Him, in like manner, we attain righteousness by faith when we offer the Lord His offering, His food for His offerings, His pleasing aroma at their appointed time.
The children of God are distinguished as, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, in order that they may declare the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. They are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Now the main duty and responsibility of the church as a royal priesthood, is clearly as the scripture states; “They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy” (Leviticus 21:6).

So let us learn to put God first, and do not worry saying, “What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and our heavenly Father knows that we need them. But let us seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to us as well.” We are admonished to; “Labor not for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to Everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval” (Matthew 6:31-33; John 6:27).
God has overlooked these times of ignorance and now has commanded all men everywhere to repent.
Copyright © 2014 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

Put God first (part 3)

The third important aspect of putting God first is to seek first God’s righteousness.

But how do we seek first God`s righteousness and not confusing it with man`s own righteousness and the righteousness which is in accordance to the law? It is stated quite distinctly that; “Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28).
Our worship and appearance before God is to express our gratitude and thanksgiving to Him for His manifold graces, and it must be done in a way that is acceptable to Him with reverence and godly fear, which is made possible only because of His righteousness.

It is without any doubt that, God will under no circumstances coexist with sin, He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Therefore, if we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. Sin alienates man from God, for according to the prophet Isaiah “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear, but your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

Now in the same token, if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.

So then, how can sinful man have fellowship with the Father? For anyone to have any kind of fellowship with the Father he/she must first be reconciled with Him; and what reconciles us with the Father and grants us the boldness and confidence to present ourselves before God and worship Him acceptably with reverence is the offering of the crucified body of Christ. For it is written; “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior; but now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:21-22).

The apostle Paul further endorsed this concept by saying; “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22).

It is therefore imperative that we seek first the righteousness of God even before we can present ourselves before Him, and furthermore, practicing His righteousness is what distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil; for thus it is written: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10).

Because of the importance and seriousness of this calling to seek first the righteousness of God, it is imperative that we establish and prove without a shadow of doubt, what is this act of righteousness we should first seek, and when practice, differentiates the children of God from the children of the devil.

We can say with Certainty that, it can not be our own righteousness; because it is clearly stated that, “We are all like an unclean thing and all our righteousness are like filthy rags. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” We are all under the power of sin as it is written; “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God, all have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one” (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-12).

Neither can it be the righteousness from keeping the law, because it is again stated quite clearly that; “Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith, but as it were based on works. They stumble over the stumbling stone.” It is well understood that, “No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law; rather, through the law one becomes conscious of sin” (Romans 9:31-32; Romans 3:20).

What therefore is the act of righteousness one should seek first, and when practice differentiates God’s children from the children of the devil?
The righteousness which one has to seek first, and when practice differentiates the children of God from the children of the devil, is having faith in the act of righteousness by which man was imputed with righteousness. And since faith without works is dead, it means demonstrating this faith by whatever symbol that proclaims, represents, and demonstrates this act of righteousness.

It is stated that, “As the result of one man’s act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One Man (Jesus Christ) the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19).
This act of righteousness which imputed righteousness and brought life to all men, is the offering of the body of Jesus Christ which He offered to the Father as a sweet smelling aroma, and which satisfies His will, it is the bread of life that is our righteousness, the bread which both came and comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. It is the sign which identified Jesus Christ after his resurrection.

It is stated that after Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead, He met two of His followers walking going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that happened concerning Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ joined them and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him. They explained to Him all what transpired during the three days since Jesus Christ was crucified and how some women amazed them, when they went to the tomb early in the morning but did not find His body.
Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He explained to them what was said in the scriptures concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

With all that being said they still did not recognize Him. It is only when He sat at table with them, took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight. “Then the two got up and returned at once to Jerusalem, there they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when He broke bread” (Luke 24: 35).
To be continued.
Copyright © 2014 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

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