"Just and Righteous"
The Fruits of Righteousness
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are just and righteous in our spiritual substance and being. The presence of Christ and our union with Him justifies through our relationship to the Lord Jesus.
"But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" (Romans 3:21-22).
"Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8).
Righteousness, however, involves more than our being and standing in Christ.
"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 till 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).
Note the Apostle Paul's emphasis: "the fruits of righteousness". Consider also his request that the Philippian believers will be filled with these manifested expressions of righteousness. Clearly, a difference exists between righteousness in substance, and righteousness in fruit bearing. One can be justified and righteous in Christ - as were the Philippians to whom Paul wrote - but not necessarily bear a bountiful harvest of the fruit of His Spirit. Were this not the case, Paul's prayer would be nonsensical. In our present existence, the fleshly aspect of our humanity makes it possible that we will not live in accordance with who we are in Christ. Again, Paul clearly confirms this in his command to the Galatians: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). Presently, it is one thing to be just and righteous through Christ. It is another to think, speak, act, and relate accordingly through Christ.
If we do not recognize this plainly revealed delineation between being and fruitbearing, we will fail to understand much of the New Testament's teaching regarding the life we receive in Christ, and the life we are to live in response to His reality. Such understanding greatly empowers us and increases the likelihood that we will both live and walk in righteousness. Being precedes doing. Presently, however, if we do not know the fact of our justification and righteousness freely provided in Christ, we may not walk as faithfully as our Lord makes possible. When we believed, God made us just and right in the spiritual constitution of our being by uniting us with the Spirit of Christ. Now He calls us to walk accordingly, to be in expression who and what we are in essence. No greater challenge exists in human experience. And no greater adventure awaits as we increasingly discover the magnitude of our Lord's righteous work of grace whereby we expect to "be filled with the fruits of righteousness" based upon Christ's exaltation and our justification in Him…
"Christ in you, the hope of glory."
"Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
Next - Bearing the fruits of righteousness
Weekly Memory Verse
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.