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The Christian, the Law, and Legalism, Part 4
by Karl Kemp
2/11/2012 / Bible Studies
Part 4 continues where Part 3 ended, under Section 3 of this paper.
2 John 1:4-6. "I was very glad to find some of your children WALKING IN [The NIV supplies "the" here; I prefer the translation of the NIV.] TRUTH [[The apostle John is writing to a particular church, pictured as a lady; her children are members of that church. Apparently we are not to infer that the rest of the Christians of that church were not walking in the truth.]], JUST AS WE HAVE RECEIVED COMMANDMENT TO DO FROM THE FATHER. [[To walk in the truth, as we are commanded by God, includes believing the Word of God (especially the Word of the gospel of the new covenant) and "walking in the truth," which includes living in righteousness and holiness and walking in love. "Walking in the truth" includes loving God and His people, and if we truly love God and His people, we won't be sinning against Him or His people (cf., e.g., Matt. 22:36-40; Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14). As I have mentioned, we need God's commandments to know what loving Him and people entails. See verse 6.]] (5) And now I ask you, lady, not as writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. [[Cf., e.g., 1 John 2:7-11; John 13:34, 35. "From the beginning" refers back to the beginning of Christianity. The commandment to love wasn't new, but new-covenant salvation takes love to a whole new level through union with the Lord Jesus and by the indwelling Spirit, etc. Here in verses 5, 6, John speaks of the commandment to love one another, as he does throughout 1 John. (We must understand, however, that the commandment to love God is more important than the commandment to love one another. Without loving God and His Son, and walking by the Holy Spirit, we lose the reality of new-covenant salvation.) 1 John 4:12, says, "if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us (cf. 1 John 2:5)."]] (6) And this is love, THAT WE WALK ACCORDING TO HIS COMMANDMENTS. [Apparently the idea here is that as we love one another, we will be keeping God's commandments, the commandments that show what loving one another entails (see under verse 4). It is also true, as 1 John 5:3 says, "this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments."] This is the commandment [The "commandment" here seems to be limited to the commandment for Christians to love one another, but as I mentioned, the commandment to love God is more important.], just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it."
Revelation 12:17; 14:12. In Rev. 12:17 Christians are spoken of as those "WHO KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD and hold to the testimony of Jesus" [that is, they testify to their faith in Jesus]. Revelation 14:12 speaks of Christians as "THOSE WHO KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD and their faith in Jesus."
4. CHRISTIANS ARE ENABLED, AND REQUIRED, TO OBEY GOD/CHRIST (including His Word/Law/commandments).
Luke 6:46-49. These powerful words are self-explanatory. "WHY DO YOU CALL ME, 'LORD, LORD,' AND DO NOT DO WHAT I SAY? (47) EVERYONE WHO COMES TO ME AND HEARS MY WORDS AND ACTS ON THEM, I will show you whom he is like: (48) he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. (49) But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."
John 3:36. "He who believes in the Son has eternal life [Cf., e.g., John 5:24.]; but HE WHO DOES NOT OBEY THE SON SHALL NOT SEE LIFE, BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDES ON HIM." Faith/believing in Christ/the gospel includes obedience to Christ/the gospel. (See, e.g., Rom. 10:16; 2 Thess. 1:8; these verses are quoted and discussed below.) "He who does not obey the Son" is the one who hears the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and rejects Him and the gospel - he does not submit to Christ/the gospel in faith.
Romans 2:8. This verse is discussed as part of Rom. 2:1-16 in section 2 of this paper. "But to those who are selfishly ambitious and WHO DO NOT OBEY THE TRUTH [The truth includes righteousness and holiness (cf. Eph. 4:24)], but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation."
Romans 6:16, 17. These important verses are discussed (with all of Romans chapter 6) on pages 101, 102 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin." "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, YOU ARE SLAVES OF THE ONE WHOM YOU OBEY, either of sin resulting in death, OR OF OBEDIENCE [TO GOD AND HIS WORD] RESULTING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: (17) But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, YOU BECAME OBEDIENT FROM THE HEART TO THAT FORM OF TEACHING [the teaching of the new covenant that requires Christians to obey God and live for Him in righteousness (by grace through faith)] TO WHICH YOU WERE committed [DELIVERED OVER]; (18) AND HAVING BEEN FREED FROM SIN, YOU BECAME SLAVES OF [GOD AND HIS] RIGHTEOUSNESS."
Romans 10:16. "However, they did not all heed the glad tidings...." I would translate "THEY HAVE NOT ALL OBEYED THE GOSPEL," with the KJV. The NASB translates the Greek verb used here as "obey" (in some form) nineteen times out of its twenty-one uses in the New Testament. This verse is discussed with all of Rom. 9:18-10:18 in my "A Paper on Faith." Also see below on 2 Thess. 1:8.
2 Corinthians 2:9. "For to this end also I wrote that I might put you to the test, WHETHER YOU ARE OBEDIENT IN ALL THINGS."
2 Corinthians 10:1-11, especially 10:5, 6. It is necessary to understand the context in which the words of 2 Cor. 10:5, 6 were written to adequately understand these verses. Throughout this epistle Paul defends his apostolic ministry; he defends his ministry, which was being challenged by some, including "false apostles" (2 Cor. 11:13), for the sake of the Christians at Corinth. Paul was the apostle who had brought the gospel to Corinth, and he knew that he was a genuine apostle; he knew that to the extent the Corinthians rejected his ministry (as they were being challenged to do) and followed the false apostles, it would harm them greatly - they could lose their salvation.
Second Corinthians chapter 11 is especially relevant to help us understand Paul's primary opponents at Corinth when he wrote this epistle. In 2 Cor. 11:13-15 he speaks of "false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their [ungodly] deeds [works]." It's clear that Paul also had other opposition in the church at Corinth, and it's clear that when he wrote First Corinthians, he was already facing opposition at Corinth.
"Now I Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ - I who am meek [The NIV has "timid" for this last word.] when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! [Cf. 2 Cor. 10:10. These insults probably originated with the false apostles, who were trying to supplant Paul's authority in the church at Corinth; it seems that quite a few at Corinth were listening to much that they said.] (2) I ask that when I am present I may not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. [See 2 Cor. 13:1-10.] (3) For though we walk in the flesh [[Although Paul walked in the flesh in the sense that he was living in a physical body in this world (cf., e.g., Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:22, 24), he walked/lived and ministered above the flesh/world by walking in/after the Spirit (cf., e.g., 2 Cor. 10:3b-11; Gal. 2:20; 5:16-25; and Rom. 8:1-14).]], we do not war according to the flesh, (4) for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. [[The fortresses represent Satanic strongholds in the earth. In this context Paul is concerned lest the enemy have any fortresses/strongholds (any presence) in the church at Corinth, which includes his having any strongholds in any true Christians at Corinth. Satan establishes a stronghold in the church at Corinth to the extent his false apostles (or other ministers) are accepted as genuine, to the extent false doctrine is accepted, to the extent that sin continues in the church, etc.]] (5) We are destroying speculations [reasonings] and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought [[The Greek noun translated "thought" here is translated "schemes" (speaking of schemes of Satan) by the NASB in 2 Cor. 2:11. The BAGD Greek Lexicon translates it "designs" in 2:11, and here in 10:5 BAGD has, "we take captive every design to make it obedient to Christ."]] captive to the obedience of Christ [[In this context the "speculations," "lofty things," and "thoughts (schemes/designs)" Paul is taking captive refer, at least for the most part, to every false doctrine and idea (which comes from the world, the flesh, or the devil and his people) that has no right whatsoever to have any place in the church at Corinth, or in any true Christian (cf. Eph. 4:27). The apostle isn't dealing with his own thought life here, but the same principles apply; he would not (and we must not) tolerate any false doctrines or ideas to remain in our hearts and minds. As Paul had the authority in his own life (and much authority in the church at Corinth), we all have the authority to cast all such things from our hearts and lives, and we must do our part to cast them out of the church.]], (6) AND WE ARE READY TO PUNISH ALL DISOBEDIENCE, WHENEVER YOUR OBEDIENCE IS COMPLETE. [[Paul has been waiting for the many Christians in the church at Corinth who needed to repent to repent, including those who had been listening to the false apostles, before he used his authority to restore order in the church.]] (7) You are looking at things as they are outwardly. [[For example, some of the Christians were focusing their attention on things of the flesh like Paul's bodily appearance, his demeanor, and the way he spoke. What they should have been looking at was what Paul had from God (including his apostolic ministry, his authority, and the truth of the gospel) in/by the Holy Spirit.]] (8) For even if I should boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I shall not be put to shame [[These last words apparently mean that he will not be put to shame by someone, or by circumstances, which will be able to demonstrate that he doesn't have this authority; he's not limited to talking (like many people are, including Paul's opponents at Corinth), he actually has this authority, and when the time is right, he will use it at Corinth.]], (9) for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. (10) For they say, 'His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and his speech contemptible.' (11) Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present." Paul goes on to speak of his authority at Corinth, and of the fact that the false apostles certainly didn't have authority in the church at Corinth (or any other church). Paul was functioning within his measure assigned by God (cf. Rom. 12:3-8; these verses are discussed in my "A Paper on Faith").
Galatians 5:7. "You were running well; WHO HINDERED YOU FROM OBEYING THE TRUTH [the truth of the gospel]." The epistle to the Galatians shows that (at least some of) the Christians at Galatia had begun to waver on the basics of the gospel through listening to the Judaizers. This verse confirms that Christians MUST OBEY THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL (by God's grace/Spirit through faith).
Ephesians 2:2; 5:6. In both of these verses, the apostle refers to non-Christians as "SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE." These verses (especially 5:6), when studied in their contexts (see Eph. 2:1-10 and 5:1-7), powerfully demonstrate - and warn Christians - that Christians are enabled, and required, to live in righteousness and holiness as SONS OF OBEDIENCE. As 5:1 says, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved [obedient] children." See 1 Pet. 1:14.
Philippians 2:12-16. "So then, my beloved, JUST AS YOU HAVE ALWAYS OBEYED [They had obeyed God, Christ, the gospel, and the apostle Paul.], not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence [Now that Paul wasn't there with them, to help them, they needed all the more to be diligent regarding their obedience to God, Christ, the gospel, and the apostle Paul.], WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING. [[We must cooperate with God's grace/Spirit through faith - faith which necessarily includes obedience (by grace) - in accordance with God's Word (especially the gospel), including the commandments, on a continuous basis. On "fear and trembling," cf. 1 Cor. 2:3; 2 Cor. 7:15; and Eph. 6:5. The Bible makes it very clear that we must have a reverent FEAR OF GOD, which includes being afraid to sin against Him. Cf., e.g., Ex. 20:20 ("And Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and IN ORDER THAT THE FEAR OF HIM MAY REMAIN WITH YOU, SO THAT YOU MAY NOT SIN.' "); Lev. 25:17; Deut. 5:29 ("OH THAT THEY HAD SUCH A HEART IN THEM, THAT THEY WOULD FEAR ME, AND KEEP ALL MY COMMANDMENTS ALWAYS, that it may be well with them and their sons forever!"); Deut. 6:2 ("SO THAT YOU AND YOUR SON AND YOUR GRANDSON MIGHT FEAR THE LORD [YAHWEH] YOUR GOD, TO KEEP ALL HIS STATUTES AND HIS COMMANDMENTS, WHICH I COMMAND YOU, ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE, and that your days may he prolonged."); Deut. 6:13, 24; 10:12; 17:18-20; 31:12, 13; Psalms 33:18; 34:7, 9, 11; 103:11, 13, 17; 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 3:7 ("FEAR THE LORD [YAHWEH] AND TURN AWAY FROM EVIL."); Prov. 8:13 ("THE FEAR OF THE LORD [YAHWEH] IS TO HATE EVIL."); Prov. 16:6 ("BY THE FEAR OF THE LORD [YAHWEH] ONE KEEPS AWAY FROM EVIL."); Jer. 32:39; Matt. 10:28 ("And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; BUT RATHER FEAR HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN HELL [Gehenna]."); Luke 1:50; 12:5 ("But I will warn you whom to fear: FEAR THE ONE WHO AFTER HE HAS KILLED HAS AUTHORITY TO CAST INTO HELL [Gehenna]; YES, I TELL YOU, FEAR HIM!"); Acts 9:31; Rom. 3:18; 2 Cor. 7:1 ("Therefore, having these promises, beloved, LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES FROM ALL DEFILEMENT OF FLESH AND SPIRIT, PERFECTING [or, completing] HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD." This verse is discussed on page 183 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin."); Eph. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:17 ("AND IF YOU ADDRESS AS FATHER THE ONE WHO IMPARTIALLY JUDGES ACCORDING TO EACH MAN'S WORK, CONDUCT YOURSELVES IN FEAR DURING THE TIME OF YOUR STAY UPON EARTH." On 1 Peter 1:13-19, see pages 190-194 of "Holiness and Victory Over Sin."); and 1 Pet. 2:17. (Many more verses from the Old Testament could be listed; see a Concordance under "fear.")]]; (13) For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [[The Greek verb translated "work" ("energeo") is used twice in this verse. First it is used of God working in us (cf. 1:6), then (because of His working in us by His enabling grace) we are enabled to will and to work that which pleases Him. God must receive all the glory, but we must also understand that if we don't do our part of cooperating with God's grace through faith (working out our salvation with fear and trembling), God's will won't be done in our lives. (Faith doesn't earn anything, but it receives, and cooperates with, everything that God freely gives.)]] (14) Do all things without grumbling or disputing; (15) THAT YOU MAY PROVE YOURSELVES TO BE BLAMELESS AND INNOCENT, CHILDREN OF GOD ABOVE REPROACH [In other words, they are to be OBEDIENT CHILDREN OF GOD, doing His will from the heart.] in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear [shine] as lights in the world, (16) holding fast the word of life [[The "word of life" is the gospel. To hold fast the word of life is to have faith in (which includes living in obedience to) the gospel.], so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory [Cf. 1 Thess 2:19, 20; 2 Cor. 1:14. Paul will have cause to glory to the extent the Philippian Christians are fully ready to stand before Christ at His return. It must be understood, of course, that Paul's ministry was effective only by the grace of God, and He receives all the glory.]] because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Paul's work at Philippi would have been in vain if, in the worst-case scenario (which wasn't about to happen), all of Paul's beloved brethren at Philippi turned their backs on the Lord Jesus Christ and were not ready to stand before Him.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 (NIV). "HE WILL PUNISH THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW GOD AND DO NOT OBEY THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS." In verse 9, the apostle Paul goes on to say, "They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord...." (I quoted the NIV on 2 Thess. 1:8, 9, instead of the NASB, because I believe it better communicates Paul's meaning.) What we need to discuss here is the fact that Paul speaks of NOT OBEYING THE GOSPEL. This helps demonstrate that for Paul to have faith in the gospel includes submitting to, AND OBEYING, the gospel, which, when understood in a full sense, includes the moral law of God. Obedience to the gospel includes living in the righteousness and holiness required by the gospel (by God's grace/Spirit). It's significant that quite a few other verses also speak of obeying, or not obeying, the gospel (cf. Rom. 1:5; 6:17; 10:16 [discussed above in this section]; 15:18; 16:26; Acts 6:7; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; and 1 Pet. 1:22; 2:8; and 4:17). Obedience to God and His Word (by His saving grace in Christ) isn't optional!
Hebrews 4:11. "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of DISOBEDIENCE." The "rest" spoken of here is the rest of heaven that we enter after finishing our race in faith and obedience (Bible faith includes obedience). In context the writer has been exhorting his readers not to follow the example of the Israelites who failed to enter the promised land because of UNBELIEF/DISOBEDIENCE. (See Heb. 3:7-4:9; many of these verses are discussed on pages 28, 29 in my, "A Paper on Faith." DISOBEDIENCE is mentioned in Heb. 3:18 and 4:6. This passage demonstrates that DISOBEDIENCE goes with UNBELIEF; especially note Heb. 3:18 ["disobedient"] with 3:19 ["unbelief"].)
Some Other Verses on the Requirement for Obedience: Acts 4:19; 5:29; 2 Thess. 3:14; Titus 3:1; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:2, 14; Rev. 1:3; and 22:7, 9.
5. CHRISTIANS ARE ENABLED, AND REQUIRED, TO LIVE/WALK IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, which means living/walking in the will of God, according to His Word/Law/Commandments. (Cf., e.g., Gen. 18:19; Deut. 6:24, 25; Psalms 15; 106:3; 119:172; and Ezek. 18:4-9, 21-24.) Living/walking in righteousness (which includes lawfulness) is the opposite of living in sin: "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). Christians must live/walk in righteousness from the heart, from a heart that loves God and His Word. It is crucial to understand that Christians are enabled to live in righteousness by God's grace/Spirit through faith in God and His Word (especially the gospel). One last comment before listing some key passages that will help us understand righteousness: Being forgiven and declared righteous is a very important part of the truth of the gospel, but if we stop there, or put most the emphasis there (like so many do in our day), we greatly distort God's plan of salvation, as the passages of Scripture listed in this section demonstrate.
Romans 1:16, 17; 3:21, 22. God's righteousness imparted to Christians (in accordance with His new-covenant salvation promised in the Old Testament) enables Christians to live/walk in righteousness. For a discussion of these super-important verses, see pages 76-79 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin."
Romans 5:19. This verse, which uses the adjective "righteous," is important to help us understand righteousness. See page 94 of "Holiness and Victory Over Sin" on this verse. "For through the one man's [Adam's] disobedience THE MANY WERE MADE SINNERS [spiritually dead and in bondage to sin sinners (as Rom. 5:12-21 demonstrates)], EVEN SO THROUGH THE OBEDIENCE OF THE ONE [the Lamb of God] THE MANY [all who submit to God, His Son, and the gospel in faith] WILL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS [They will be declared righteous, and they will be made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God, which includes being made obedient.]."
Romans 6:13, 16, 18, 19, 20. The word "righteousness" is used in each of the five verses listed here. Romans chapter 6 is one of the most powerful passages in the New Testament, if not the most powerful, which demonstrates that Christians are enabled, and required, to live/walk in righteousness with the victory over all sin. This chapter is discussed on pages 96-106 of "Holiness and Victory Over Sin." I'll quote Rom. 6:13-18, 19b, 20, "and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; BUT PRESENT YOURSELVES TO GOD AS THOSE ALIVE FROM THE DEAD [having become born-again Christians], AND YOUR MEMBERS AS INSTRUMENTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS TO GOD. (14) FOR SIN SHALL NOT BE MASTER OVER YOU, FOR YOU ARE NOT UNDER LAW BUT UNDER GRACE [the powerful saving grace of God in Christ that enables us, for one thing, to live in the imparted righteousness of God]. (15) What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! (16) Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one who you obey, either of sin resulting in death [back into spiritual death], OR OF OBEDIENCE [TO GOD AND HIS WORD, WHICH INCLUDES HIS MORAL LAW] RESULTING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS? (17) But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, YOU BECAME OBEDIENT FROM THE HEART [IN FAITH] TO THAT FORM OF TEACHING [with the emphasis on the requirement for Christians to walk/live in the righteousness of God, being set apart for Him] TO WHICH YOU WERE committed [DELIVERED OVER; we either stay slaves of sin or we agree to be delivered over to be faithful slaves of God and His righteousness (which brings real freedom)], (18) AND HAVING BEEN FREED FROM SIN, YOU BECAME SLAVES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS [which is very good!]. (19b) SO NOW, PRESENT YOUR MEMBERS AS SLAVES TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, RESULTING IN sanctification [HOLINESS; an abiding state of holiness]. (20) FOR WHEN YOU WERE SLAVES OF SIN, YOU WERE FREE IN REGARD TO RIGHTEOUSNESS."
2 Corinthians 5:21. Before we quote and discuss this very important verse, I should point out that in 2 Cor. 5:20 Paul is dealing with the need for mankind to be reconciled to God through submission to the gospel. This exhortation applies to the Christians at Corinth to the extent they need to repent and begin to fully walk in righteousness before God. In 2 Cor. 6:1, the verse that follows 5:21, Paul exhorts the Christians at Corinth "not to receive the grace of God in vain." They would receive His grace in vain to the extent they weren't walking in the righteousness required of Christians, in accordance with the gospel.
"He [God the Father] made Him who knew no sin [the sinless Lamb of God] to be [or, to become] sin on our behalf [[These all-important words are sometimes misunderstood. The Lord Jesus Christ did not become a sinner in any sense, or die spiritually, or have His nature changed; nor was He reduced to a state where He, like us, needed to be born again. (Jesus is called "the first-born of/from the dead" in Col. 1:18 and Rev. 1:5, but this speaks of His resurrection.) He never sinned, nor did He cease being God the Son, deity with the Father (cf., e.g., John 1:1-9, 14). He became sin only in the sense that He bore our sin with the guilt and the penalties in His atoning death.
The Hebrew noun "chattath" will help us understand this important concept. This noun is translated sin(s) 168 times in the Old Testament (NASB). This very same noun for sin is also translated "sin offering(s)" 118 times. This makes perfect sense once we understand the important fact that the sin(s) of the Israelites (with the guilt and penalties) were literally transmitted to (put on) the sacrificial animals. In this sense the sacrifices became sin, and they were even called by a word for sin ("chattath"). This enables us to understand the sense in which Jesus became sin. See the discussion of Lev. 16:20-22 on pages 15-18 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin." Leviticus chapter 16 deals with the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement. The plural of "chattath" is translated "sins" in Lev. 16:16, 21, 30, and 34; it is translated "sin offering" in Lev. 16:3, 5, 6, 9, 11 (twice), 15, 25, and 27 (twice).]], that we might become [be] the righteousness of God in Him."
In His atoning death, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, dethroned sin, Satan, and spiritual death; He provided forgiveness, the new birth, and the authority and power for believers to live/walk in righteousness, the very "righteousness of God." Sin, Satan, and spiritual death had gained authority over mankind through sin, especially the sin of Adam (and Eve). By bearing that sin, and all subsequent sin (with the guilt and penalties), the Lamb of God stripped sin, Satan, and spiritual death of their authority, and He saved all who submit to the gospel in faith. As I mentioned, Paul was concerned that some (even many) of the Christians at Corinth needed to repent and begin to walk in the righteousness of God by faith (this walk isn't automatic); this certainly wasn't an optional matter.
2 Corinthians 6:14; Heb. 1:9. These verses are significant in that they contrast righteousness (which includes living in the will of God, according to His moral law) with lawlessness.
Galatians 3:21. "Is the Law [the Mosaic Law, which was the foundation for the old covenant] then contrary to the promises of God [the promises of new-covenant salvation in Christ Jesus]? May it never be! FOR IF A LAW HAD BEEN GIVEN WHICH WAS ABLE TO IMPART LIFE, THEN RIGHTEOUSNSS WOULD INDEED HAVE BEEN BASED ON LAW." This significant verse confirms two very important points. The old covenant, which was established on the Mosaic Law, was not able to impart life (the new birth) to those under the covenant. This verse also shows that we must have the life of God (by the indwelling Spirit, starting with the new birth) in order to have righteousness in an adequate/full sense. (See Gal. 2:21.) This is significant in that it confirms that Paul uses the word righteousness here (as he typically does) of much more than just being forgiven and declared righteous; the emphasis here is on Christians actually walking/living in the imparted righteousness of God. This righteousness is imparted by the Spirit (through the Lord Jesus Christ and His all-important atoning death). Christians are enabled to walk/live in righteousness by the indwelling Spirit of God. For a discussion of this verse, see pages 103, 104 in my "A Paper on Faith." All of Galatians chapter 3 is discussed verse-by-verse in that paper.
2 Timothy 3:16. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, FOR TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS."
We'll continue with section 5 of this paper in Part 5.
Copyright by Karl kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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