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Tag Archives: Righteousness

Why We are Loved

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:3-6)

The poor in Spirit, the mourners, the meek, the hungry and thirsty for righteousness. These are the people, in this section at least, that we are told will be blessed. But, why, and how? This may sound heart-less, but why would God even care about such people?

Perhaps a better question would be, why does God even care about us (because, we are “those people”)? Really think about it a second. Does God love us because we’re so incredible He can’t help Himself? Does He love us because we can help Him in some way in which He couldn’t use other people or things? Anyone who has an actual understanding of how bad we were before Christ saved us, should know the answer to those questions is no. God loves us because His son died for us, and no other reason. However much it may hurt our pride to admit it.

The poor in the Spirit, those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, and all the rest, are loved because of grace – we are loved because of grace. We are to love Jesus, because He first loved us. We are to love Him because His Spirit goes before our “poor” one, so that we can receive “the kingdom of Heaven”. We should love Him because those who mourn will be comforted by Jesus Himself, and because those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled by Christ, who is bread of the life.

The point being this: Jesus took our sin onto Himself, (and in fact, the Bible tells us [2 Corinthians 5:21] that He became our sin), and then died for us. That is why God loves us; because we are now sinless in His sight. So,  because of that, our “poor Spirit” should be praising God!

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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The Need of Conviction

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:7-11)

Jesus shows us three convictions that the Holy Spirit would give people: the conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: the conviction of sin, because they don’t believe in Jesus, and thus are still living in their sin. The conviction of righteousness, because Jesus, the righteousness of the World, without whom no one can be righteous, would be leaving. And finally, the conviction of judgment, because the Devil (who is the ruler of the Earth) would be judged. – Alright, pretty simple. Not too hard to understand. So here’s the question: why is it we seem to have forgotten about conviction?

To clarify: why is it the sermons we hear lack any conviction? Why is it we live nice, little, un-convicted lives? Why have our pastors become false prophets, who tell us only what we want to here? Why is our conscience being soothed with lies? Alright, this doesn’t happen everywhere, its true. But there can be no denying that the majority tends to lean towards the soothing, and the comforting, rather than the convicting.  Comfort or conviction, that is the question. The Holy Spirit or lies. Happy un-believers or convicted believers.

The Holy Spirit is in conviction, there’s no doubt about that. In fact, it’s His (the Holy Spirit’s) main goal to cause conviction in people (yes, He also had other goals, such as empowering people to do miraculous works, etc.). Unless the parent steps in, a tells the kid that something their doing is wrong (convicts them of their ‘sin’), the kid will likely continue to do whatever it is their not supposed to do. It’s not much different when it comes to Spiritual children and Spiritual adults. – Think of a child sticking its hand into fire. If it doesn’t feel the pain from being burned, it will continue sticking it’s hand in the flame. Conviction is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to prevent further damage.

So then, are we going to a comfort Church? Are we going to the Church of Comfort, or are we going to an actual Church; conviction and all?

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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The Breastplate of Righteousness

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (Ephesians 6:14)

As previously mentioned, we’re going to talk on (or, more accurately, I’m going to write about) the breastplate of righteousness.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

So what is a breastplate useful for? What does it do? Well we know that the breastplate is one of the most useful pieces of armor, because it protects the vital organs; the heart, the lungs, and the stomach. As probably most mid-evil soldiers could tell you, it can be the difference between life and death. It’s the thing that protects your heart from being ruptured and allows you to keep breathing after a battle. And it’s the thing that after the same battle, allows you to eat (because your stomach’s intact). Needless to say, it’s important.

So then, in order to put on this oh so vital piece of armor, we must be righteous. That’s a natural assumption, isn’t it? After all, it is called the breastplate of righteousness. And how are we righteous, one may ask? To answer that, let’s look quickly at what per se righteousness is: it’s being right in the sight of God. And how are we right in the sight of God? By helping old ladies across the street? By cleaning up the church and giving 10% of our check? … Here’s a tip, when we do that in an effort to be right in the sight of God, it’s the Spiritual equivalent of trying to shower off mud by rubbing dirty rags across ourselves. So no, that isn’t now we’re righteous. Rather, it’s by Jesus’ blood. He is our righteousness.

So, if Jesus (the) Christ is our righteousness, it could even be said that He himself is our breastplate. Which, of course, means he is the one who protects our heart, lungs, and stomach. Which also means we’re saved by Jesus’ righteousness, which covers (and changes) our heart. He’s what keeps us alive.

Christ is our righteousness. We can try, but we’ll always fail in any attempt to make ourselves righteous. Likewise we can try to keep our hearts pure and safe, but it will always be corrupted and ruptured. We can try to keep our Spiritual selves breathing, but our lungs will always get stabbed when Satan attacks and we don’t have our breastplate on. We can try to keep Spiritually living without being able to eat, but we’ll always start to die of lack of Jesus who is our food and protector. — All that to say this: Jesus is our breastplate of righteousness. 

How though, the question comes, can anyone put on Jesus? We don’t! That’s the very thing; Jesus gives us His righteousness. All we need do is ask. Unlike the regular soldier, we can’t “fasten Jesus on to ourselves,” rather, he fastens himself on to us. And believe me, that’s better, as after He fastens Himself on He won’t let go.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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TRG; The Righteousness of God

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:19-21)

for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and… Well seeing as it’s not (perhaps somewhat obviously), “the anger of man” that produces God’s righteousness, what does? Well, as my dad has told me, when you see the word, “therefore” you need to find out what it’s, “there for”.

What does produce the righteousness of God? … From now on we’ll refer to, “the righteousness of God” as ‘TRG’ because the latter ‘righteousness of God’ is a bit of a mouthful.

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

In this case, the “therefore” is there for the purpose of, after telling us what doesn’t work, to tell us what does.

Does the anger of man produce righteousness? No, we already know it doesn’t, so then whatever produces anger (filthiness and rampant wickedness) we need to get rid of. – Alright, we’ve found the thing that doesn’t produce righteousness and gotten rid of it. Now James tells us the thing that does produce righteousness: receiving with meekness the implanted word. And what is the, “implanted word”? (I promise I’ll stop asking so many questions soon)? We know from James it’s able to save our souls; There’s exactly one thing that can save our souls and that’s the Gospel of Jesus.

Now we’ve established several things. First, that, “the anger of man,” doesn’t produce TRG. Second, that we need to get rid of that which produces anger. The reasoning behind this is simply that if it doesn’t produce something good, it must produce something bad. In the case of anger, this can be a lot of different things (physically or verbally abusing someone is probably the most common of which). Third, that the, “implanted word” is the Gospel of Jesus. – The reasoning behind that is both that the Gospel is the only thing that actually has the power to save us and that, to my knowledge the only word implanted inside of us is the afore-mentioned. – But now before I continue babbling, so what? What does it matter if we know that, “the implanted word is the Gospel? Big whoop. Why do we even need TRG?!

I’ll put it simply: Jame’s is saying two different things here. First, he’s saying the anger of man doesn’t produce TRG. Second, he’s telling us that without TRG (the righteousness of God), we only have our anger left. Big underline there. – The husband yells at the wife, the wife yells at the husband and the kids. The kids go to school, get yelled at, yell back. The husband comes home to chaos, yells some more, then goes to bed (on the couch). Repeat, repeat again and continue repeating for the rest of your life. That’s a family without TRG, that has for the most part only their own anger. – Why is it important to have God’s righteousness? Because without it we’re left with ourselves. You want to know part of the reason why solitary confinement is such a torture? Because you’re left with yourself, just yourself, and no one else (“me, mine, and I” don’t count as other people there with you).

In conclusion. The anger of man is bad and ultimately leads to no good, therefore it must be done away with (by doing away with the roots of it). We need God and his righteousness, and in general make an effort to be quick to hear, slow to speak.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Slaves to Christ

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

Just one main question here this time; how can someone be a slave to obedience? I understand how someone can be a slave to sin but a slave to obedience? How does someone even become a slave to obedience?

First and foremost, we have to find out what exactly, “being a slave to obedience” means… What’s Paul talking about here? What does he mean by, “slave to obedience,”?

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Romans 6:17-19)

According to the above verses, being a slave to obedience means first, being set free from slavery to sin. On the other hand, it does  mean presenting the members of our bodies as slaves to righteousness which leads to sanctification. – I’ll put it this way, being a slave to righteousness/obedience, mean’s being a slave to Christ, who is the perfect manifestation of both righteousness and obedience, and through whom we are set free from slavery to sin. But why, comes the question, would we want to be “set free” from sin? It’s certainly seems better than being a slave to obedience!

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:20-21)

Why would we want to be set free from sin? Because the end of that is death.

Second, how does being a slave to Christ effect us? … How does it affect our actual lives, aside from the obvious bit about eternal life?

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22-23)

Being a slave to God means we “bear fruit”. But, since Paul isn’t referring to us turning into trees, what does that mean? What fruit do we bear?

 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)

The fruit we bare, is love, joy, peace and the rest. All of which leads to one thing, sanctification. Which simply means that we’ve been “set apart” from the world… And in turn, that leads to eternal life.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Faith or Rubbish

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7)

What? What does he (Paul) mean by he had counted “as loss for the sake of Christ.“; So the monks actually had it right? – So does this mean we too have to count “everything as rubbish” in order to “gain” Christ? Well, as is always important to do, let’s look at the next verse:

and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith– (Philippians 3:9)

Paul isn’t talking about physical things here, he’s talking about how he had counted everything that he did to try to earn his salvation as rubbish. He explains that we have no righteousness of our own that comes from the law, but only that which comes through faith in Jesus. Likewise with us, we should count every work we try to do in order to earn our salvation, as rubbish, to be thrown away and replaced.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Do or Die – He Did So We Could Live

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation. (Jeremiah 22:3-5)

We’re all going to die unless we shape up and do right. We’re all going to die if we all don’t become righteous in about zero seconds from now. We’re all going to do any wrong. We’re all going to die if we are violent in general.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

We’re all going to live because he was beaten out of shape. We’re all going to live because he did right for us. We’re all going to live because he was righteous from the start. We’re all going to live because he took all of our wrong-doings onto himself. He was treated violently, so that we could be treated with mercy and forgiveness.

Video URL: www.youtube.com/watch?v=onxhvivQYf

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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