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The Word For Today

Made righteous by faith 2

'Their faith is credited as righteousness.' Romans 4:5 NIV

There are two ways people think they can become 'righteous'. The first is through trying, and the second is through trusting. When you try to earn God's approval by your performance, you can never rest because you can never really be sure you've done enough to please him. But when you place your trust in Christ's finished work on the cross, the Bible says you enter into God's 'rest' (see Hebrews 4:3).

Paul writes, 'If anyone is in Christ, the new creation (something that didn't exist before) has come: The old (appetites and actions) has gone, the new (appetites and actions) is here' (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)! You don't have to struggle to be seen as righteous in God's eyes. The moment you placed your trust in Jesus, God made you 'the righteousness of God [in Christ]' (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV). Why did he do it that way? Because any righteousness you could achieve through good works and keeping rules falls so far short of what he requires that he sees it as 'filthy rags' (see Isaiah 64:6). So God credited his righteousness to you (see 2 Corinthians 5:18). Paul writes: 'David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight...whose record the Lord has cleared of sin"' (Romans 4:6-8 NLT). Hymnist Edward Mote wrote these words: 'Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.'

Rejoice! That's how God sees you - made righteous by faith!

Soulfood: Job 18-20, Matt 25:1-13, Ps 55:12-23, Pro 8:19-21


Made righteous by faith 1

'He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.' 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

Here's an amazing and life-changing truth. The God who made his sinless Son to 'be sin' takes unrighteous people like us and makes them 'righteous'. How does it happen? By works? No, by faith! 'People are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners' (Romans 4:5 NLT).

This righteousness isn't about behaving the right way - it's about believing the right way. You can't become righteous in God's eyes through human effort or keeping the law. You become righteous only through faith in Christ, and trusting in his finished work on the cross. You say, 'But I feel so guilty when I sin.' And you should; it's a good deterrent! But Christ took away all your sins; therefore he took away all your guilt. So what are you feeling? Inner conflict! Your regenerated spirit lives in your unregenerated body, and it reacts the same way your natural body reacts to something harmful. Sin feels foreign to the new you, and when you indulge in it, the pleasure is brief and the aftermath is bad. In essence, your spiritual boundaries have been violated, and your regenerated spirit is telling you that you can't indulge in sin anymore. The old you could have indulged in sin and enjoyed it, but the new you can't, because you are 'a new creation in Christ' (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).

So rejoice! Today God sees you as 'righteous', therefore you can approach him at any time with complete confidence (see Ephesians 3:12).

Soulfood: Job 15-17, Matt 24:36-51, Ps 55:1-11, Pro 8:17-18


Your children watch you

'Be kind and compassionate...forgiving each in Christ God forgave you.' Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Here's a story every parent needs to read: 'One day my husband and I got into an argument and ended up yelling at each other. I retreated to the porch and sat with my head in my hands, crying. Our two-year-old overheard the argument. "I love you, Mum," she said, as she sat beside me and put her arms around me. "I love you, too," I said. She rested her head on my shoulder, hugging me hard. "I wish you could love my daddy too," she said. Talk about ripping your heart out! "But I do love your daddy. We just had a disagreement." At that, my daughter smiled, got up, and walked away. "Where are you going?" I asked her. She replied, "I'm going to tell Daddy you love him!"'

If you expose your children to your anger, make sure that they're around when you extend grace and forgiveness to each other. Teach them how to deal with the issue, without attacking the person. Let them know that a difference of opinion can lead to a decision that makes things better for everyone. And that you can be wrong on an issue and still be respected and loved. Often that means teaching them what you yourself were never taught. If that's the case, learn from the mistakes your parents made and pass that knowledge on to your children. Forgive when you're hurt, and don't take your resentments to bed (see Ephesians 4:26). Jesus said you must forgive 'so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you' (Mark 11:25 NIV).

Remember, parent, your children watch you!

Soulfood: Matt 5:5, Num 12:1-15, Ps 37:1-11, Phil 2:5-11

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