Righteousness

Heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, marijuana ‒ which is the most dangerous drug of all? In my experience after decades of counseling hundreds of drug users and addicts, without doubt marijuana is the most dangerous. The detrimental effects with all the others are far more immediate and devastating with the addicts experiencing jail, institutions, or death. Most people using these drugs crash quickly, while marijuana users can continue for years, decades, or even a lifetime. Most people believe marijuana is far more manageable and far less damaging which is why users stay in it so long. Indeed, they may never experience jails, institutions, or death. However, they do experience a substandard, humdrum life without God and filled with apathy, sluggishness, and dispiritedness. The cunning lies believed are: “I’m not hurting anyone,” “it’s not like I am falling down drunk,” “I’m not a heroin addict,” “I can quit any time I want,” “It’s legal in some places,” or “It does interfere with my work or family”. Those on “harder” drugs do not believe such lies for very long, while marijuana users have no end to their deception. They believe their drug use is manageable, and as long as people believe they can manage their drug use, they will never change and turn to God for help. When society normalizes marijuana use and the government legalizes it, the deception for the users becomes dreadfully worse.

 

The sad truth about all of us is we do not change until we acknowledge we need to change, and most often that awareness becomes apparent only when we experience pain. Like the marijuana user, we have problems, but we think we can manage them so we find no reason to change. Consequently, we continue to limp along, living a “less-than life.” The opening chapters of Romans (1:18-3:20) are hard to bear because God shows how everyone is unrighteous and no one can make themselves righteous. “Righteous” means simply “in the right,” while “wickedness” means “in the wrong.” The great deception common to humanity is we think we are “in the right” or as we say “alright” and therefore need no change so we do not seek God. The design of Romans is to strip away this erroneous and wicked perception. Read the Romans’ chapters.

Man’s prideful, deluded, self-righteous attitude can lead to extreme wicked behavior. Those who tortured and crucified Jesus thought they were in the right, the Romans thought themselves superior and all else inferior, the Greeks were certain that they were in the right and everyone else barbarians, the Jews were convinced and considered everyone else dogs. Today, the Russians invaded Ukraine because they are right, North Korea’s Kim Jung-un thinks he is right and kills those who disagree, guerrilla rebel Joseph Kony in Africa thinks he has the right to murder and rape, the militant Islamist ISIS think they are right and everyone else expendable. All are so convinced of their own righteousness they justify savage brutality and murder. Indeed, these are extreme examples that help visualize the plight that is every human’s. We think we are right when God says we are not. The epistle of Romans reveals that not only these tyrants and drug users but every man, woman, and child are unrighteous and incapable of making themselves right. Romans 3:10 summarizes succinctly – “there is none righteous, not even one.”

When I was a child, all the stores were closed on Sunday to honor a day of worship. Then, one store opened, then another and another, and now today, Sunday is the busiest shopping day of the week, and hardly anyone attends church. Society has normalized what was once unthinkable. Also in my youth, a young woman involved in premarital sex was thought of disparagingly and called insulting names. However, over time, slowly, things changed inversely so that today, a young virgin is the one called insulting names. The devil has slowly and methodically brought us from the wholesome and morally based TV show Father Knows Best that was without any sexual connotations to Modern Family, a poisonous, immoral show filled with sexual undertones highlighting a homosexual couple. The awfulness of these radical changes is that what once was understood to be wrong is now accepted as right; hence, those influenced thereby have no reason to change.

Most recently, with the acceptance of homosexuality, cross dressing, and other related matters, society is normalizing, and the government is legalizing and again pushing those involved further away from repentance and the Kingdom of God. If we think we are in the right, there is no need to change. Yet, God sees things entirely differently.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1Corinthians 6:9-10

A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 22:5

“Abomination” means extreme disgust, loathing, abhorrence, and detestation. What God calls an abomination, society and the government are saying is a normal alternate lifestyle. Again, the tragedy is that those involved in such behaviors think they are “in the right” or “alright,” so there is no need to change. We do not change until we know we need to change! Normalizing, encouraging, and accepting as normal that which Almighty God says is an abomination to Him is prideful and wicked.

The first step in becoming righteous with God is the understanding that you are not right with Him. The next is to humbly accept the gift of God’s grace offered to us through the blood of Jesus Christ.

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26

 

For more information on this subject, listen to our Sunday services from July 5 and 12, 2015 which you find on our website Lhim.org.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment

X