|Romans 3:21-22 |
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, which is witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all and upon all those who believe,2 for there is no difference. [From the Word of the Lord within: "Only the faith-that-frees imparts righteousness." There is an imputed righteousness received when the sinful nature has been crucified; imputation ends and the possession of the righteousness of Christ occurs when you are born again and enter union with Him. Both are obtained by operational faith, the obedient faith within the heart, the evidence of belief.]
2 the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ to all, and upon all, those who believe. Jesus said our highest priority in life should be to seek God's righteousness: But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Mat 6:33. This righteousness of God comes by faith, as you seek God with all our heart and soul. This faith is a gift of God, received after we have crucified our selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial; we receive the gift of faith with the fruit of the Spirit, and results in receiving the Spirit of Christ in sufficient measure to be our true Lord, Master, and King, supplying thoughts, our words to speak, and ordering our works to be done — to His and the Father's glory. Believing in Jesus is not the faith that imputes righteousness.
Jesus told us to make seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness the highest priority of our life, with more attention than seeking provision for our food and clothing, Mat 6:33; and the function of true grace is to teach us how to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Tit 2:11-12. To seek His righteousness and access true grace that teaches you how to live righteously and changes you to be able to live righteously, there is only one thing needed: to persistently and patiently sit at the feet of Jesus in humble silence as you listen for, and then obey, His words of life that He speaks to you from within your heart. Luke 10:39-42, Rom 10:8,17,Deu 30:10-14.
Righteousness occurs at the end of your journey to union with God in His kingdom, not in the beginning.
From the Word of the Lord within:
There is no righteousness apart from God. Righteousness need be created. Aim at and pursue righteousness, without which no one will see the Lord. There is a righteousness imputed only after death. We, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness. The Spirit makes alive unto righteousness. Awake to righteousness and sin not. He who does righteousness is through with sin. Pursue righteousness and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. You who believe the Son shall be made righteous. Make yourselves slaves to righteousness, whose reward is holiness. Only the faith-that-frees imparts righteousness.
Righteousness is imputed when you receive faith with the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law, to then walk in love, obeying the continuous commands of Christ; this occurs at the death of your selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial. When you possess the fullness of Christ, that ends imputation, and you are righteous as He is righteous. Until then we, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, Gal. 5:5. We wait by hearing the Lord speak to us from within our heart and believing what he says. We exercise our faith to carry the inward cross of self-denial, which is to obey the commands we hear God speak to us as we wait, watch, and listen in silence for his directions, teachings, commands, encouragements, convictions, and destruction of sin in our hearts.
George Fox writes of the imputed righteousness and righteousness in The Great Mystery of the Great Whore Unfolded:
For they who witness Christ within them, witness justification there, and sanctification; for ‘Abraham believed, and it was imputed to him for righteousness;’ and his belief was within, and he saw Christ's glory. Those who believe come to witness the imputation; but those who come again to witness righteousness, are nearer than when they did first believe; and to witness that they have received Christ within, is the end of their belief. There they witness the righteousness itself without imputation, which is the substance, what the promise ends in, and all the fathers hoped for, who stood in the imputation, and all the believers in him. Christ being come [within a man], the end of man's belief, the righteousness itself, here is a justification alone, without the imputation, Christ the righteousness of God: blessing and glory forever! And a believer that is justified is a new creature, is past from the death which came by sin, and comes to enter into his rest, where there is no sin. He who is the sanctification, is the justification, and so by their sanctification are they justified; it is one and the same, what sanctifies, justifies....Men are justified by the believing, and in the faith and by the faith, and in believing they overcome, and have victory; and there are mortification, and sanctification, and redemption, and justification, all possessed together in the one, which is Christ, and this to the particular satisfaction. "
The blind guides of Christianity say to rely on the "imputed righteousness of Christ" to us, based on our faith; as it was with Abraham, Rom 4:3-11.
Abraham's faith was not simply belief in God; Abraham obeyed God's voice, Gen 22:18,26:5.
Abraham's faith was to listen for God's words, hear them, and then obey them.
His faith produced works of obedient faith that proved his love for God.
To hear God's spoken words and obey them is the true faith, which faith the Apostles also preached.
God also ordered Abraham to "walk before me and be perfect." Gen 17:1.
As Abraham exercised his faith to be circumcised, (as ordered) — so we must receive the spiritual circumcision, our heart circumcised from sin.
As Abraham exercised his faith to leave his home for a new land, (as ordered), — so we must forsake all the world to enter God's Kingdom.
As Abraham exercised his faith, willing to sacrifice Isaac, (as ordered) — so too we must crucify our selfish life to save the life of our soul.
If Abraham had not obeyed God's voice in all the above, you would be reading about another person instead of Abraham.
Abraham exposed himself to hear God's commands. Like Abraham, we too must expose ourselves to hear God's commands — hear Him, obey Him, and keep doing so with patient endurance to the end; otherwise we will not become free from sin, not attain righteousness, and be banned from heaven when we die.
Righteousness comes through faith in Jesus, but the faith that imputes righteousness is only the faith that frees from the law; this measure of faith that frees is received with the fruit of the Spirit, and that only occurs after you have crucified your lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial; and this is not instant or easily accomplished.
Paul clarifies: for we through the Spirit, by faith, we patiently wait for the hope of righteousness. Gal. 5:5
Paul further: You are slaves of whom you obey; whether of sin that leads to death, or of obedience that leads to righteousness. Rom 6:16,19
(Obedience to what? To the commands and teachings we hear from the Lord as we wait on Him.)
Jesus said: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousnes, for they shall be filled. Mat 5:6
(How could anyone hunger and thirst for righteousness if they are instantly righteous
by simply believing in Jesus?)
Jesus further said: But seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. Mat 6:33
(We are to seek the righteousness of God as the highest priority in our life, more than food and clothing.)
Paul again: Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Cor 15:34
(Anyone who thinks they can continue to sin and be righteous has no knowledge of God
and is to be shamed.)
We are clearly not instantly righteous because we believe or have faith, otherwise, we would not be told:
We must go to Him to receive his cleansing grace to become righteous — the fruit of which is peace;
and the effect of righteousness is quietness and confident trust forever. Isaiah 32:17
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Rom 3:24
But this access to God does not make us instantly justified, for we seek to be justified in Christ. Gal. 2:17
While observing what was said by the Word of Lord within: "there is a righteousness only imputed at death," apparently imputed righteousness and righteousness, the end of imputation, occur in parallel with the two stages of perfection, which Fox and Crisp both described.
"For there is a state of discipleship, by which a man hardly knows a settlement, so much as how to watch with Christ rightly and constantly [the first stage]; but it is a great matter to be able to dwell and abide with Him [Christ]. None can do this, but he that can dwell with devouring fire and everlasting burnings for the pure word of life is a fire, and he that sits down in the heavenly place in him, must sit down in that fire [the second stage]."
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppression, who keeps his hands from taking bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil;
He will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him; his waters will be sure.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty; they will behold the land that is very far off. Isa 33:14-17
Christianity's pervasive belief that you are righteous because you believe Jesus is the Son of God is not true, as John takes care to debunk:
Little children, let no man deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. 1 John 7. Jesus only spoke, judged, and did as He was prompted and ordered by God; to practice righteousness we also must be able to only speak what we hear Him order us to say and only do what we are ordered to do by God. This ability only comes after we have crucified our selfish spirit and sin has been destroyed by the Spirit through bearing the inward cross of self-denial; then we are walking the same way He walked and in the world as He was with perfection, purity, and holiness. We must be restored to the image of God that Adam lost in the Garden; to put on the newly created nature [of Christ], which is created in God's image of true righteousness and holiness. When we are righteous, everything we say and do is just, fair, morally correct, perfect, true, holy, virtuous, good, and pure. When we are righteous, everything we say and everything we do is right — righteousness.
He who commits sin is of the devil, for the devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God is revealed [in us], that he might destroy [in us] the works [sin] of the devil. 1 John 3:8.
Whoever is born of God does not commit sin, for his seed [Christ] remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John 3:9
By this the children of God and the children of the devil are revealed [distinguished]: whoever does not live righteously is not of God, neither is he who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:10
Clearly, you must be freed from all sin before you are righteous. Clearly, as John says above, you must be righteous in your conduct and words as Jesus was righteous. Clearly you must have died to sin, you must have had your selfish spirit crucified, you must have had your heart circumcised by the Spirit, you must have put off the body of the sins of the flesh, you must have stripped yourself of your former nature that controlled your conduct, you must have mortified [put to death] the deeds of the body that are of the earthly life — before you can have any righteousness from God, even the imputed righteousness.
So too, as Paul said, Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Cor 15:34. It is impossible to be righteous and still be sinning. Until you have been freed from the bondage of sin, you cannot be righteous; both John and Paul have emphasized it. John warns us to not be deceived that we can be righteous and still sin. Paul shames those who think they can sin and be righteous, saying they do not have knowledge of God. And if your knowledge of God comes from hearing others talk, or reading the Bible, you do not have knowledge of God because what may be known of God is revealed in them; for God has shown it to them; Rom 1:19; God is only known by revelation.
You say you believe in Jesus, but what faith do you lay claim to? Do you believe what you hear Jesus from within your heart tell you what to do, as a result of waiting on him in silence, while listening for him to speak to you; or do you believe that Jesus was resurrected, was the Son of God, etc. What hope do you have? To be able to sin without penalty and go to heaven when you die; or to become free from sin, enter the Kingdom of Heaven while still on earth, and then be there forever? Two different hopes, two different faiths. One hope is true, one hope is a lie. One faith is true, one faith is a lie. One hope purifies, the other leaves you in the sorrow of sin. One faith purifies, the other leaves you defiled. One faith accompanied by obedience leads to salvation, the other to Hell. One faith leads to the righteousness of Christ being possessed, the other faith leaves you without. The true gospel unleashes the power of God to an experienced, purified salvation, the other is a form of godliness without the power with only a presumed salvation. If any man preaches any other gospel to you than that you have received, [from Paul] let him be accursed, Gal 1:8-9. Paul said he was sent by Jesus to preach this gospel: I am sending you to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may thus receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and purified by faith in Me. Acts 26:17-18. The evidence of faith is obedience, the result of obedience is the fruit of the Spirit, which proves you are a true follower of Christ. Obedience leads to righteousness. Rom 6:16, as we through the Spirit, by faith, patiently wait for the hope of righteousness, Gal. 5:5.