Righteous

2 Corinthians 5:19–21 (NLT)

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them… For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Good morning Zebras, 

Today’s attribute is “righteous.”

When I pulled it out of the box my immediate thought was “Yup, God is holy and righteous.” And although it is true God is both the attributes are not quite the same.

Holiness is a chief attribute of God and a quality to be developed in His people. “Holiness” and the adjective “holy” occur more than 900 times in the Bible. The primary OT word for holiness means “to cut” or “to separate.” Fundamentally, holiness is a cutting off or separation from what is unclean, and consecration to what is pure.

Righteous is the conformity to a certain set of expectations, which vary from role to role. It is the fulfillment of the expectations in any relationship, whether with God or other people. It is applicable at all levels of society, and is relevant in every area of life.

Not only is God righteous, revealing his righteousness in His mighty acts, but He also expects righteousness of others, who are to reflect the nature of their Creator. The expected response to God’s rule is in the form of righteousness, that is, conformity to His rule and will. In this basic sense, Noah is called “righteous” because he walked with God and showed integrity in comparison to his contemporaries. Abraham was righteous because he ordered his life by the revealed will of God.

And that is where my problem lies.  I have a tendency to start thinking about what God expects rather than what He has done and I try to earn what is already mine. And, I have found, trying to earn God’s favor is a surefire recipe for disaster, because I always fail.

I can never be holy.  I can never be righteous.  I can never be perfect before a Holy God. But Jesus was all of those things and because of my faith in Him so am I.  And when I focus on that, suddenly the pressure is off and joy, accompanied by the desire and ability to obey, returns.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Son, and doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. Thank you for making us holy and righteous in Your eyes, not because of what we do, but because of what Christ did.

Love,

Jill

Eternal

Matthew 25:46 (NIV84)

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Good morning Zebras,

Today’s attribute is “eternal” which the dictionary defines as lasting or existing forever.

God, of course, is eternal.  He has no beginning and He has no end.  And He tells us that in His own words:  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”  And although we had a beginning, we too are now eternal beings destined either for eternal life, or eternal hell.

We don’t really like to talk about Hell anymore.  I think it’s because it makes our God look “unloving.”  But three times in the book of Matthew, Jesus mentions the eternal fire prepared for those who reject Him. If Jesus thought it was important enough to talk about we probably should too.

It is not fashionable to believe a loving God would condemn people to hell and eternal fire, but that doesn’t change what the Bible says.  Just because people don’t like it doesn’t make it untrue.

What we must remember is that God doesn’t condemn people to hell; they choose that for ourselves when they reject Christ.

Francis Chan, one of the speakers at Founders Week, is pretty passionate about this subject and he used an illustration that I can’t seem to get out of my head.  He was talking about the tendency in modern Christianity to erase the judgment of God, to focus only on His love and mercy.  And he used Noah’s Ark as an example.

God told Noah to build the ark because He was going to flood the earth.  Genesis 6:7 says: “So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.”  

But since Noah found favor in God’s sight He gave him the task of building the ark and saving those who were willing to get inside, which ended up being a total of eight people, all from Noah’s family.

Yet how many nurseries are decorated with Noah’s Ark?  Tons, right?  But when you think about what the Ark really symbolizes you realize how we have changed it to make it palatable.  We fill it with cute little animals poking their heads out of the side of the boat, but we forget the people and animals that didn’t make it in.  Noah’s ark should look more like the last scene of the Titanic than a cute nursery decoration.

When we look at the ark, or the cross, we should not only see God’s provision for those who believe, but His judgment on those who do not. 

Love,

Jill