THE HOPE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
WEDNESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2021
Today we are discussing an important topic- the hope of righteousness. As a new creation, we are called to offer and present our whole selves to God daily, and desire the things of the Spirit, and in the process of serving and pleasing God, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Reference: Galatians 5:5 New King James Version (NKJV)
"For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith."
There is such a thing as the hope of righteousness and as Christians, we eagerly wait for it at the end of age or rather, at the end of our Christian journey on earth. Our righteousness becomes fully established and actual only at the end of the Christian walk on earth, when it is finally conferred on us as perfection, having attained to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. So it's the final stage of righteousness. And I'll come to the reward of this later.
The first stage of righteousness is at the point of salvation. When anyone receives the gospel of truth and accepts the gift of salvation, he or she is said to be justified - made acceptable before (or made right with) God. Now the process of being declared or made righteous before God is called justification and that's receiving the gift of righteousness, which is an imputed righteousness. To receive this gift is to be made righteous and also to become it through faith in Christ. The Bible says, "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe" (Romans 3:22). You are now righteous because you've been made right with God. In fact, God made you His righteousness. According to 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV): "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
Now that you are in Christ Jesus, the second stage of righteousness is practical righteousness. To practise righteousness is to live according to what you've been made by God. The Bible says, "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness also has been born of Him" (1 John 2:29 NKJV). One of the ways to practise righteousness is by observing self-discipline and refusing to let the flesh dictate your direction or hinder your faith walk. It takes self-discipline to pray on a daily basis. It takes self-discipline to speak in tongues on a daily basis. It takes self-discipline to stay focused on Jesus and to act on the Word, regardless of how you feel, physically or emotionally, and in spite of distractions and unfavourable odds.
Practising righteousness also means yielding to the Holy Spirit fully. In your Christian race, you are called to walk by the Spirit so that you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The Bible says, "For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want" (Galatians 5:17 NIV). When you express the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you, it is a sign that you are practising righteousness in all its varied expressions. For instance, you have joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23 ESV).
Coming back to today's topic, "the hope of righteousness" comes with the reward of being made righteous. Although we have received eternal life now, we are not going to live eternally on earth. So it is not a reward we spend in this world. The reward of eternal life is spent with Christ Jesus and God the Father in the new heavens and earth that are yet to come after His return. For instance, In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." Here Paul mentioned about the crown of righteousness, which is the crown that will be awarded to the saints for being righteous and for living right on earth. Shalom!
Scripture Reading - Matthew 5:6; 2 Timothy 2:22; Romans 6:13; Acts 10:34-35; Romans 6:18; 1 John 3:10.
The Word clearly teaches that when I meet Jesus in Heaven after His return, I have a reward for the hope of righteousness which is a recognition of how I've lived for God. Therefore, I thank God for the gift of righteousness and the ability to practise it and walk in the newness of life. I'm alive to God and as my daily habit, I present my body, soul and spirit to the governing intelligence of the Holy Spirit, thereby offering them as instruments of righteousness in service to God. Unto God be all the glory as the Spirit accomplishes His purpose through me in Jesus' Name, Amen!