Wednesday, April 15, 2015

“Righteousness and Strength”

"Righteousness and Strength"

   Our memory verse for the week bears an interesting affirmation of the prophet: "In the Lord have I righteousness and strength."  Isaiah testifies to God's provision of right relationship and standing, and to the enabling to live accordingly.  In an Old Testament nutshell, this foreshadows the much fuller New Testament revelation of God's grace as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ:

    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 1:6).
    "We shall live with Him by the power of God… I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (II Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 4:13).

    God justifies the heart and then fortifies the feet.  The two graces go hand in hand, heart in heart.  No believer should ever view him or herself as merely possessing fire insurance from coming wrath, as it were.  The Lord Jesus Christ saves us in order to sanctify and ultimately glorify us.  Any view of the Gospel that fails to include "righteousness and strength" limits the full understanding of God's redeeming Truth, and thus the full experience of His loving purposes in Christ.  "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10).

    Interestingly, our Heavenly Father's freely given righteousness in Christ provides a vital portion of the enabling to live accordingly.  A genuine reception and growing recognition of such grace and mercy motivates the heart with gratitude, devotion, and the desire to love the God who so loves us.  Such strengthening then causes a greater appreciation of our righteousness in Christ as we realize our Lord's gracious presence and working in our lives.   Thus, righteousness elicits strength, and strength illuminates righteousness in a beautiful relationship made possible by the Savior who is "made righteousness" to us, and who the Bible also proclaims to be "the power of God" (I Corinthians 1:24; 30).

    No life of godliness is possible apart from the righteousness of Christ.  No reception of righteousness is authentic if it is unaccompanied by God's provision of strength for the journey.  These dual truths of our Lord's redemption must be embraced with gratitude for so gracious a gift, and with expectation that the justification of our hearts will impact the walk of our feet.  This is the salvation of the Lord Jesus unequivocally proclaimed by the New Testament, and revealed in us by the Holy Spirit as we walk in God's grace and truth in Christ…

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
(Galatians 5:25)
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment, that ye may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and without offence until the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
(Philippians 1:9-11)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Surely one shall say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.  Even to Him shall men come, and that that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed."
(Isaiah 45:24)

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