I’ve been teaching verse by verse through the book of Romans on my Gospel Truth TV show since July. Romans is powerful, and I’m excited to continue teaching on it this month. In last month’s newsletter, I talked about how Romans is Paul’s masterpiece on grace. Understanding grace and all that Jesus provided for you is one of the most important aspects of receiving from God. This month, I’m focusing on righteousness as explained in Romans. When you discern the righteousness you have in Jesus, it will change your life; but sad to say, most believers just don’t get it.
Many people cannot grasp the righteousness we have through Jesus because they are holding onto religious doctrines. Jesus told us in Mark 7:13 that the traditions of men make the Word of God of no effect. And this is exactly what has happened.
That’s why we need to understand Romans 5:12–21, which counters the religious mindset. Romans 5:15 in particular says:
The Lord spoke to me about these verses and said, “It’s like a coin, and if you accept that one side of the coin is real, well then the other side has to be genuine as well.” We are righteous through what Jesus did for us and not what we do for Him. Whether you feel it or not, this is what the Word of God says. If you’re going to accept that you became a sinner through Adam, then you have to accept that you became righteous through Jesus - not through what you do. Praise God; this is huge! Yet, many Christians do not approach God with an understanding of their righteousness.
A story comes to my mind that exemplifies many people’s wrong mindset on righteousness. Back before I was married, I had a dog named Honey. She was a big dog, and I got her to be a watchdog for my mother while I was in Vietnam. When I returned home from the war, I found out that someone had beaten the dog with a chain before I got her. So, although Honey was really friendly to me, when she would come running across the yard to me, she would always stop several feet away, fall down, slowly scoot up to me, and whimper like I was going to beat her. I’d never beaten this dog, but because of the abuse she received from the previous owner, that was how she related to me.
So, one day, I got frustrated with this dog. I got mad (and it’s hard to get mad at a dog named Honey) and said, “Honey, just one time, I would like you to run up to me like a normal dog and like I’m not going to beat you.” And as I was saying this, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Andrew, that’s exactly the way I feel about you. Just one time, I would like you to come into My presence and instead of talking about how sorry you are, what a terrible person you are, and how you’re a sinner confessing all your faults, why don’t you come in praising Me for loving you and act like you’re forgiven?” That was a great illustration for me.
Some of you, without realising it, have developed sin consciousness. Every time you approach the Lord, you focus on all your failures and how you’re unworthy and you start condemning yourself. Yet, Hebrews 10:2 says that we “should have no more conscience of sin.”
If all you do is focus on your unworthiness, you are never going to be able to receive the love that God wants you to have. If you’ve made Jesus your Lord, you’re born again and are a brand-new person. God now relates to you not on the basis of what you have
done, but on the basis of what Jesus did. All you have to do is receive it by faith.
Because we were born sinners, we do sin. However, those individual sins are not what make us sinners; it’s our sin nature that makes us sinners. Sin is a byproduct of being born with the sin nature we inherited from Adam. In the same way, I have now been made righteous through Jesus. Yes, I do good things, but these good things are a byproduct of being made righteous. They do not make me righteous in the sight of God.
Romans 5:16 goes on to say,
“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”
Again, this is saying that we all became sinners through what Adam and Eve did, but we’re justified, not because we do everything right, but because we put our faith in Jesus. Jesus’ holiness makes me holy, not my holiness. My holiness is a fruit, not the root of my relationship with God.
A logical question that arises is, “So because of grace, being righteous, and God not giving me what I deserve, can I just go live in sin?” I wish I had the space to get into Romans 6, which answers this question. So, I encourage you to get my full teaching on Romans, which I’m offering as part of a special package that includes your choice of either my CD or DVD teaching on Romans, my new hardcover book on Romans, our two Grace Encounters DVDs, and my Living Commentary electronic study Bible with my
notes on over 25,000 scriptures.
To order, go to www.awme.net/promo-offer/romans
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