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The Reign of Righteousness
We have much to learn from the Book of Job. We see the Lord God confronting Satan with the question of Job's character. God said Job was a good and upright man who completely shunned evil. Satan disagreed, of course. He (Satan) said the only reason Job served God was that God blessed all of Job's life - his possessions, his family, and everything he "put his hand to".
Next, we see God challenging Satan. He (God) allowed Satan to test Job's righteousness. The only restriction was that Satan could not take Job's life. Most are familiar with how Satan killed Job's children, killed his servants, and either killed or captured his animals, and all this on a single day. Satan then struck Job, head to foot, with boils. But Satan failed in his assessment of Job, he could not make him sin.
God said Job was righteous, Satan said Job was not righteous. The question of man's righteousness goes to the very heart of the Gospel. Does the Gospel actually change a man's heart? Does the Gospel actually break the power of sin over a believer's life? Is God being truly righteous when He forgives a man and is He being truly righteous when He declares a man to be righteous? Is redemption real and is the righteousness it produces real? When tested, will it stand? Are the claims of God true?
We learn from Job this truth, the claims of God are true! Job was righteous and Satan could not make him sin. And, if you are a born-again Christian, then the devil cannot make you sin!
God is the Agressor
God is the Initiator of Salvation; He is the Aggressor in Redemption. Through Job, we see that God is very aggressive in demonstrating His power over sin. Make no mistake about it, by challenging Satan, God is in his (Satan's) face. The Lord God Almighty is taking the battle to him. The Lord God is not passive in His victory over sin, and through Job, God allows His claims of righteousness to be challenged by the devil, and the outcome witnessed by all Creation.
We see God, aggressive in redemption, when faced with the sin of Adam and Eve. They attempted to cover their nakedness with leaves but God slew an animal and covered their nakedness with animal skins, representing a blood atonement. There is no record that Adam or Eve, asked for, or even understood, the concept of blood atonement. It appears that God, in His mercy, sovereignly covered the sins of Adam and Eve.
When Satan tempted Eve to sin, and then Adam followed Eve in her sin, God cursed the Serpent saying in Gen 3:15, "the Seed of the Woman will bruise your head", a reference to Christ defeating Satan and defeating his work of sin. And then in Gen. 3:21, 6 verses later, we see the sin of Adam and Eve being forgiven, i.e. a fulfillment of what God prophetically spoke of the Seed of the Woman bruising the head of the Serpent. Every Christian enjoys the same atoning work of the Seed of the Woman in their defeat of sin.
The Scripture tells us that Jesus was manifested to destroy the work of Satan.
(1Jn 3:8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
God, from the beginning of time, has treated man in a gracious manner, showing mercy and forgiving their sins. Again, is He righteous and just to do such a thing? The answer is yes. Christ is chosen by God to be the sin-bearer, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world and was slain from the foundation of the world, Rev 13:8. This means that God, from the beginning of time, through the blood of Christ has treated man graciously by looking forward to the actual crucifixion of Christ. The atoning work of Christ has always been the context of God's dealings with humankind.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and Salvation is that deliverance. Those who believe are delivered from the power of sin to the power of righteousness. According to Colossians there is a deliverance from the power of darkness and a translation into the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
(Col 1:13) Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
(Col 1:14) In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
If righteousness is not greater than sin then the Gospel has failed for in it (the Gospel) we find a righteousness from God, that, God says, delivers one from the power of sin. Darkness has no more claim over the heart, the mind, or the behavior of the believer! Those born of the Spirit have been translated into the kingdom of Jesus Christ! Remember, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil whose primary work is to make men sin. He sinned from the beginning and his energy and efforts are to bring men into destruction through the power of sin.
We Reign in Life Through Righteousness
(Rom 5:17) For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
(Rom 5:21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Summary of Romans 5:17-21
17) those who receive grace and the gift of righteousness will reign through Jesus Christ.
18) Christ's righteous act is more powerful than Adam's offense.
19)The obedience of Christ is more powerful than the disobedience of Adam.
20)Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.
21)Grace reigns through righteousness resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Scripture attempts to give an understanding of the true nature of grace, of its power and its purpose. Paul, in Romans 5, explains the saving and sanctifying power of grace by contrasting the person of Christ with the person of Adam. It is easy to view grace and sin as competing equals, but that is not a correct view. Sin and grace are not equals. The power of Grace is as much superior to the power of sin as the power of Jesus is to the power of Adam.
Jesus conquers sin in the life of the believer because He, not Adam, is the life of the believer and He (Jesus) rules from the heart of the believer. He conquered sin by His death, and, in the heart of the believer, He rules by grace through righteousness unto eternal life. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2.
The Scepter of Righteousnes
(Heb 1:8) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.
Thy throne O God refers to the Son, Jesus Christ as God and His throne or rule as eternal. But notice, His rule is mediated through the power of righteousness, meaning His righteousness rules in, and over, all His kingdom. This cannot be overemphasized. His rule is one of righteousness and all those in whom He rules reign in life through righteousness!
According to 1John 3:10 righteousness is the proof that one is born of God.
(1Jn 3:9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
(1Jn 3:10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
There was no community, no support groups, no family, no nothing to support Job in his time of trial. The power to stand against the devil shows the inward work of redemption to be real and more powerful than sin. The power to stand against sin is found, not in external supports, not in people, not in community, and not in family. They can be helpful, but at the end of the day, the power to stand against sin is a work of grace in the heart of a person who is born of God.
The believer is called to perfect holiness in the fear of God, 2Cor. 7:1. This culture, and the day in which we live, is ever more tolerant of all kinds of wickedness. According to Matt. 24:12 where sin abounds the love of many will grow cold so we have to be alert to this coldness and we have to live with our eyes open. We are a people purchased by God and cannot accept any doctrine of Salvation that turns the grace of God into lasciviousness (immorality). The true grace of God rules in life through righteousness.
God bless you,