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The Hope of Righteousness (Our Body pt. 2)

09 Jul

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For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”1

For we were saved in hope, but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for that which he sees? But if we hope for that which we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.”2  

A thoughtful reading of the above verses will raise a few questions, but seeing new things often requires the courage to take off, at least for a moment, one’s lenses of previous belief and doctrine.  I pray God’s grace works in us to desire truth more than comfort, familiarity or acceptance.  Here is the question I’m going to focus on in this post:

1). Aren’t we already righteous in Christ?”  If so, then what is this “hope of righteousness” we are waiting for and what does it mean to be “saved in hope?”

To answer this, we first have to understand what righteousness is in God’s eyes, and how we attain it.  First of all, righteousness is not morality. Simply stated, the “righteousness of God” Jesus said we are to seek is alignment with and conformity to the desires and purposes of God.  Since God’s purposes are centered around His Kingdom, righteousness for a believer will in some way line up with the establishment and ways of the Kingdom of God.

Here’s a helpful, though imperfect illustration of righteousness: lets say you have children, and you instruct them to take out the trash before they go to bed, as the garbage man will be collecting it in the morning.  You tell them this is important for the household to run the way it should.  The next morning, you see the trashcan is still overflowing and it’s starting to smell.  Your children excitedly inform you they decided to draw pictures for their grandma instead of taking out the trash as you, the head of the household, wished.  While the children’s choice of activity was in a sense “good,” it wasn’t righteous, because it wasn’t what the head of the household desired and instructed, and it wasn’t what the household needed at that time.

With that in mind, the “hope of righteousness” which believers await is the expectation (hope) of God’s will being fulfilled and His life expressed all over the earth, through the body of Christ, just as it is in heaven.  Jesus’ prayer was for this very thing to take place, saying: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”3  As sons of God, this is to be our desire and what we strive to see come to pass.  So many Christians have been indoctrinated to wait for a tribulation and judgment, thinking that the kingdom is going to come sometime in the future, likely after they die.  Jesus said the kingdom was “at hand” in his day, and I believe God is now waiting for a generation of believers to connect with Christ, it’s head, and manifest the kingdom of God on earth just as Jesus did when he walked the earth.  Now, since Jesus’ body has many members all over the earth, the kingdom will be manifested globally.  This is what we see in Revelation 21 and 22, which speaks of nations, on earth, bringing honor to the kingdom of God which is on earth as well (Revelation 21:24).

So what about believers being made righteous in Christ?  Well, according to the plain teaching of scripture, the only way to obtain and maintain a state of righteousness is through faith.4  Some translations say “faith in Christ,” others say “the faith of Christ,” and the literal Greek may say just “the faith Christ” or faith “into” Christ.  Either way, scripture is clear that even as believers, we cannot access grace or please God without faith.5  So what is faith?  Put extremely simply, faith is a divine gift of spiritual sight.  Paul said believers are to “walk by faith, not by sight,”6 meaning that for a disciple of Christ, one’s entire life will be guided not around one’s own understanding and reasoning (even of spiritual things), but by the inward illumination and prompting of the spirit of Christ, the “life-giving spirit” that Jesus has become.7  Christianity teaches that faith is essentially a “belief” in something, but seems to have missed the fact that faith is entirely spiritual, a divine gift.8

Jesus Christ was the word of God made flesh.9  He is the perfect expression of the Father,10 and therefore as his body walks by the spiritual sight granted us by the spirit of Christ, we will be in alignment with God’s will and will be righteous.11 Rather than waiting for illumination and only walking by faith, the body of Christ has, for centuries, largely walked by human understanding, doctrines and traditions, but either can’t or won’t see and admit this.  Thus, many believers refuse to repent and the earth suffers as a result.  As the body of Christ is “transformed” by the working of the spirit of Christ, scripture says we, together, as one body with many parts and one temple with many stores, will become the righteousness of God” in Christ, and that this is attained “through the faith of Christ.”12  That is the hope of righteousness we are saved in.  It’s not instantaneous; it must be sought, flesh must remain crucified, and love must be the underlying force – looking past sin, proclaiming reconciliation, enduring hardship and suffering.  So be it, I hope you’ll join me.

  1. Galatians 5:5

  2. Romans 8:24-25

  3. Matthew 6:10

  4. https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?qs_version=KJV&quicksearch=righteous+faith&begin=47&end=73

  5. Romans 5:2, Hebrews 11:6

  6. 2 Corinthians 5:7

  7. 1 Corinthians 15:45

  8. Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8

  9. John 1:14

  10. 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15

  11. Paul wrote about the walk of faith using a different illustration in Ephesians 4:13-16 (NKJV).  He says that apostles and prophets and such are only given until: “…we all (the entire church) come to the unity of the faith (the whole body finally connects to and is directed by the head) and of the knowledge of the Son of God (the faith of Christ), to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”  When this happens someday, the hope of righteousness will have begun to be fulfilled.  Imagine a natural body in which certain parts acted independently of the head, while others submit to it.  It would be a mess, and that’s exactly what we see right now, only we’re so used to it that for many it seems normal.  

  12. 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:22

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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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