|Grace Bible Church|
Robert R. McLaughlin
The Righteousness of God and the Grace Pipe Line.
In the book of Romans Paul has called the Gentiles by a lot of different titles, one of them is the phrase “vessels of mercy.” And so as we begin this morning, there are a few principles concerning our subject which needs to be noted. First of all, we need to look upon two doctrinal principles, one concerning the righteousness of God, the other concerning the doctrine of imputation. However, before we begin these doctrinal principles, there is a subject we must study which is vitally important when it comes to your relationship with God, especially concerning what we are about to note.
When we get into these two doctrinal subjects, righteousness and imputation, it is vital that you recognize your responsibility in dealing with these doctrines....because once you do you will find out that they are not only simple, but they are also advanced. Don’t miss this principle.
HEB 5:12-14, For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food - milk and the basics rather than advance doctrines. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word or the doctrine of or pertaining to righteousness, for he or SHE is a babe - still in spiritual immaturity. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice or exercise have their senses trained to discern between divine good and evil - Satan’s plan for the human race is human good which is called evil here.
Remember Adam and the woman were not told not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and SIN, but good and evil (Gen 2;17), evil being anything that the creature produces without the Creator’s help. Now, remember in the original there is no chapter break.
HEB 6:1-3, Therefore leaving the elementary teaching or the basic doctrines about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, - these are the basic doctrines of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we shall do, if God permits. - that is if you are ready once again to do so.
Apparently, this had happened to them before according to HEB 5:12 which says that they have need again for someone to teach them the elementary principles of the oracles of God,
The point is, as a pastor-teacher, there are certain dilemma’s that you have to face that are important for the believer to understand, especially the adult spiritual believer. Now, one of the pitfalls or the disadvantages or drawbacks of the ministry is having to deal with believer’s who are at different stages of spiritual growth. For example, many times new believers have no idea what I’m talking about while some other believers might become bored with repetition. Then there are the sophomore believers who think they know a lot of doctrine but in reality know very little.
In fact, the apostle Paul warned us about them in when he said do not put new believers in positions of authority because in 1Ti3:6 as a new convert, they might become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil (arrogance). This is why he also said in 1TI 5:22, Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thus share responsibility for the sins of others that is the sins that those who are promoted too soon and become a stumbling block to those who listen to them and their carnal ignorant opinions.
So we actually have what I believe are at least five categories of believers:
Now, with the exception of the last one, most doctrinal congregations are made up of the other four different type of believers. And here is the dilemma at times because-as a pastor you must communicate the same message to all four, although all four, though they hear the same message, respond differently to that message. There are new believers who desire to know what I’m talking about and want to learn the basics, 1PE 2:2, like newborn babes, they desire or long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
Then there are the sophomores who think they are already know and even disagree with it, the novices of 1TI 3:6, they are novices who being lifted up with pride fall into the condemnation of the devil. Then there are believers who want the advance doctrines who are young and zealous and have the humility to learn; EPH 3:14-21. There are the mature believers, who no matter what the subject is, they basically live in 1PE 3:15 (ready to answer) and 2PE 3:18 (grow in grace and knowledge), and they are always ready for more. Then there are other believers who could care less. The point is that we all need to have the humility to learn from others.
In the book of Romans Paul has called the Gentiles by a lot of different titles. One of them is the phrase “vessels of mercy.” The first phrase in ROM 9:30, “What shall we say then?” This means that after everything that the apostle Paul has said up to now in Rom 9 forces us to some conclusions. The phrase “What shall we say then?” can be translated “What conclusions are we forced to?” The conclusion is forced by the content of Romans 9:24-26 in which Gentiles are included in the remnant.
ROM 9:24-26, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’ And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, you are not My people, There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
Notice that there are three titles given to us gentiles in this passage:
What a privilege we all have being called God’s people, His beloved ones, and “sons of the living God.” And so in verses 30-33, the apostle tells us that the salvation of the Gentiles means that Gentiles are classified in the category of “vessels of mercy.” We are now called “vessels of mercy” because God can bless the regenerate or born-again Gentiles because we have received the imputation of divine righteousness (+R) at salvation. While on the other hand, God can only condemn the unsaved Jews because they have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore they have rejected His righteousness, and accepted or trusted in their own righteousness by trying to keep the Law.
In fact, notice what the apostle Paul says in ROM 10:1-4, Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Now, a few more things need to be noted as we enter into this study of the righteousness of God. First of all, if you desire to be a student of God, you need to get use to being technical. Let me show you a few words used in the Bible that describe believers who are serious about their relationship with God. The first one most of you are familiar with in JOH 8:31-32.
You know and you have heard many times, JOH 8:31-32; where we read that Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples [mathetes]of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The noun disciples is the Greek noun or adjective mathetes which is where we get the English wordmathematician from which means one who is highly educated in the subject that is in view. Therefore, to be a mathematician of the word of God is to be a scholar, which by the way I have seen and heard individuals who claim to be biblical scholars who could not compete with the biblical scholars I see every week in this local assembly. Fulfilling the principle of GAL 3:28, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Some of you who are here today have no idea of how advanced you are when it comes to biblical scholarship.Another word for students of God is when they are called “sons of God,” the Greek word is teknon as in 1JO 3:10 which means technical students of the word of God. No matter how you slice it, being dedicated and devoted to the word of God is the only way to be a winner believer. The point is, get used to being technical and disciplined if you desire to worship and respect God.
Now, to begin this principle of doctrine I want you to know that +R = salvation righteousness; experiential righteousness; positional righteousness; and ultimate righteousness. The passage will determine what I believe is in view. So, the apostle Paul says in ROM 9:30, What shall we say then [or what conclusions are we forced to?] That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;
And so, the main subject of this passage is the word righteousness, a very misunderstood subject because many individuals think about righteousness as being moral. The word for righteousness is the Greek noun dikaiosunewhich means that which pertains to the integrity of God, His righteousness or justice. However, when it used for man receiving righteousness from God it refers to imputed righteousness. By imputed righteousness I mean that which the character and the integrity God gives to man as a gift. The key to understanding the righteousness of God which is given to man is the word imputed. If you can understand imputed righteousness, you will experience more and more freedom in the Christian life.
And that’s because once man has God’s perfect righteousness (+R), he now has something that becomes the potential to be the recipient for many blessings designed by God to give the individual a fantastic life. All blessing from God comes from His justice and God has provided a way to not only save us but to give us all the blessings we need to have a wonderful and fantastic and meaningful life.
And when you understand that God blesses you NOT from His love but from his justice and righteousness, then you’ll understand how to receive and take advantage of the gift of divine righteousness which was given to you as gift at the moment of your salvation.
So, make sure you understand that throughout this study, when we refer to God’s imputed righteousness many times as +R that +R = perfect divine righteousness. And trust me, this is a very freeing doctrine once you study it, understand it, believe it and apply it! It all begins with the principle of understanding imputation. For at the moment of salvation, the justice of God sets up a direct channel or a pipeline from His justice to His righteousness in us for the purpose of bestowing upon us fantastic magnificent divine blessings. It all begins with understanding the Grace Pipeline (GP)
On one end of the pipeline is the justice of God, the origin of all blessing, not His love but His justice. If God blessed us simply because He loved us, the whole world would be blessed, believers and unbelievers, and we would all be spoiled. However, even though He loves the world and He is not willing for any to perish, people still do, why? Because His justice needs to be satisfied. And it is only +R - perfect righteousness or those who are perfectly righteous that can satisfy the justice of God.
You must realize that before God can deal with us as our Father, He must be satisfied with us as a Judge. As a father, He can love and forgive and treat us in grace and mercy, but as a judge, His just and righteous demands must be satisfied.
God blesses us from His justice. When His justice says, they can NOW handle some of your blessings,
they will not be distracted by them, and they will continue to live the spiritual life, then, and only then, God blesses us. Meaning we must satisfy the justice of God before we can be blessed by the love of God. And justice is only satisfied with us when it sees us as being perfectly holy and perfectly righteous. So, on one end of the pipeline is the justice of God, the origin of all blessing. On the other end of the pipeline is God’s perfect righteousness and this becomes the recipient for all of these blessings.
When righteousness refers to God or the essence of God, we call it God’s holiness or His justice. But, when God’s righteousness is imputed to us and we are the recipients of God’s righteousness, we call it justification. And this all means qualification for blessing or potential for blessing. This is why Paul said 1TI 6:6-12, But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
To understand all this and what true righteousness is according to the word of God....and what it is that we are to pursue, We need to note the origin of perfect righteousness and how we received it. Therefore, let us begin inROM 5:12 with one of the greatest, if not the greatest and clearest passage in the word of God when it comes to the subject or doctrine of God’s perfect righteousness and the doctrine of imputation.
ROM 5:12-13, Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death[spiritual death] through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned‑‑[all sinned when Adam sinned] for until the Law [that is until the Mosaic Law, the 10 commandments etc.] sin [the sin nature] was in the world; but sin [or the sin nature and the sins it produced] is not imputed when there is no law. This means that God did not and could not condemn us, that is mankind, for our sins because He had not yet given us a set of rules or do’s and don’ts to follow before He gave the Law to Moses.
So in ROM 5:13, God did not and could not hold us accountable or impute or accuse us for our sins because He had not given man commandments to follow at that time. However, as this passage says but sin [or the sin nature and the sins it produced] was still in the world. Which is why ROM 5:14 says,Nevertheless death [that is spiritual death and separation from God still] reigned from Adam until Moses, [Or from the creation of man Adam until Moses, when the Law or the commandments of God was given]. What does that mean that man sinned in the likeness of Adam? It means that just like Adam sinned even though God gave him no commandments so did mankind sin in the same way.
ROM 5:15-16 goes on to say, But the free gift [that is salvation] is not like the transgression [that is the transgression of Adam]. For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many died [hoi polloi = altogether, the entire, or simply all referring to every member of the human race]. Then ROM 5:15 goes on to say much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many - the human race with emphasis on the unlimited atonement. And the gift [salvation] is not like that which came through the one who sinned [our Lord’s gift is different then what Adam gave us]; For on the one hand the judgment [of Adam’s original sin] arose from one transgression [Adam partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil] resulting in condemnation [that is condemnation of the entire human race], but on the other hand the free gift [salvation] arose from many transgressions [Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world] resulting in justification [anyone who believes in TLJC receives +R and is justified before God].
ROM 5:1-20, For if by the transgression of the one [Adam, spiritual] death reigned through the one[Adam], much more [a fortiori - even greater than that] those who receive the abundance of grace[salvation, they are now saved] and of the gift of righteousness [+R] will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression [Adam] there resulted condemnation to all men [the entire human race], even so through one act of righteousness [TLJC dying for us on the cross] there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience [Adam] the many [the entire human race] were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One [TLJC] the many [those who believe in TLJC] will be made righteous. And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
Why did God bring in the Law?
GAL 3:24, Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.
So what did the apostle Paul means when he said in ROM 5:20, And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Well, since we are in the book of Romans, let me show you a passage that reveals what Paul meant. In ROM 7:7-14, What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin [or the sin nature], taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, that through the commandment sin [or the sin nature] might become utterly sinful. For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
So back in ROM 5:20-21, And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that, as sin or the sin nature reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grace reigns in our life when we understand the righteousness of God or +H. +H can refer to the righteousness given to us at salvation or salvation righteousness, experiential righteousness and positional righteousness.