Clothed in Righteousness

Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 5:48 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Broken and Contrite.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Corinthians 5 (NASB).

In This House

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

Our earthly tent is our physical body in which dwells the real us (our human spirit). If we are believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, via death with Christ to sin and being made alive to God and to his righteousness, by the Holy Spirit’s work of transforming our hearts and minds away from sin and to God, our bodies will also house the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to us as a pledge of what is to come for the one who is believing in Jesus Christ, which is the promise of eternal life with God beginning now and forevermore.

One day we will die (our bodies will die), if Jesus does not return before then and take us to be with him, and our physical bodies will be “torn down.” These bodies in which we live are just temporary. Yet, when believers in Jesus Christ die physically, we have a dwelling in heaven made ready for us by Jesus. In the meanwhile, we groan because in these bodies we suffer pain, sickness, sorrow, grief, distress, persecution, rejection, abandonment and temptation to sin, etc. We also groan because we long to be free of these physical bodies which are subject to decay, and to be in a place where there is no more sin, pain, sorrow, suffering, loneliness or sickness. Amen! Oh, what a glorious day that will be! Most especially we long to be with our Savior face-to-face in perfect harmony and fellowship with him.

Walk by Faith

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Yet, God put us on the earth for a reason. Certainly we should long for heaven and to no longer be in these flesh bodies, but we should not do so to the exclusion of living the life God has for us on this earth. We should fulfill the purpose for which he placed us here by submitting to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives in being and in doing what he has called us to be and do. We are not here to entertain ourselves, and to revel in self-pleasure, though I do believe God gave us the gift of laughter and the ability to enjoy life, providing it is not outside of his perfect will for our lives, i.e. providing we are not being entertained by what is sinful, and providing we are not living for self-pleasure (See: Jas. 4:1-10).

I see many people who say they are “saved” talk about how they can’t wait until they get to heaven one day, yet they are living for themselves and their own self-pleasure while they are on this earth and seem to give little thought to God or to what would please him, and to what he has called them to be and to do, for his purposes and for his glory, while they walk the face of this earth. He didn’t save them, if they are truly saved, just so they could go to heaven when they die and so they could escape hell. He saved us so we would no longer live for sin and self but so we would live for him and would walk in his righteousness and holiness, all in the power and working of the Spirit, while we walk the face of this earth. He saved us so we would become his willing servants and messengers, and so we would live holy lives pleasing to him now, on the earth, and until the end of our lives on this earth.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, where each one of us will receive what is due us for what we have done, good or bad, while we lived in these bodies. This is not speaking of works-based salvation. This is not salvation based on our good deeds outweighing our bad deeds. We are saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, and not via works done in the flesh (See: Eph. 2:8-10). Yet, as James said, “Faith without deeds is dead.” The Bible says the way in which we believe in Jesus is by forsaking (dying to) sin, being transformed in heart and mind (of the Spirit of God), and by putting on Christ, being born of the Spirit of God, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Luke 9:23-25; John 6:35-65; 10:27-30; Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 8:3-14; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

The Fear of the Lord

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

What does it mean to fear the Lord? It means to show him reverence, respect, honor, value, esteem, obedience and submission, and to worship him by living holy lives, pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds away from living for sin and self to living for the one who gave himself up for us. We do this by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Spirit of God now living within us.

Since the apostles knew, not just intellectually but experientially, what it is to fear the Lord, they tried to persuade human beings to also fear the Lord. They did so by telling people the truth of what the Word of God teaches with regard to our salvation and to belief in Jesus Christ, that it means death to sin and living to righteousness, no longer walking according to the flesh, but now walking according to the Spirit. Amen!

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, and we die with Christ to sin, we are also resurrected with Christ to new lives in Christ Jesus, born of the Spirit of God. By faith in Jesus Christ, we are no longer under the condemnation of sin nor are we under slavery to sin, for he has freed us to be slaves of righteousness. Yet, all this is the working of God.

But, so many people are being taught that faith in Jesus is a mere acknowledgement of what he did for them in dying on the cross for their sins and in being resurrected from the dead in conquering death, hell, sin and Satan. Or, they are being instructed to pray a certain prayer, and then they are told they are now saved, guaranteed heaven when they die, and that nothing can ever take that away from them, no matter how they live their lives from that day forward. Yet, they leave out the fact that we must die to sin and self, and that we must be born of the Spirit of God, and that we must now walk in obedience to our Lord. A saved life is a changed life. It is not a slightly cleaned up old life. We died to sin. How can we live in it any longer?

Broken and Contrite / An Original Work / May 13, 2012

I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.

Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.

Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.