Title: Doctrine of the Angelic Conflict, part 28 - The essence of God - Righteousness. ROM 3:21-22.
The righteousness of God is available to anyone who believes in Christ, ROM 3:22.
ROM 3:21But now [dispensation of grace] apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
God is righteousness, God demands righteousness, and God provides righteousness. If those three statements are understood, then the whole gospel will be understood.
If those three statements are not understood, then the gospel can never be understood. Wherever there is heresy, men have departed from one of these three.
The witness by the Law of righteousness - the sacrificial lamb and the flow of blood on the altar covering man’s inability to be righteous due to sin.
According to Jewish jurisprudence there needs to be at least two witnesses - the Law and the prophets.
And as is often the case in this conflict there is a proving ground for the perfect essence and personality of God through witnesses. The witness of the prophets was that righteousness can only come from God on the basis of faith.
The first time righteousness is mentioned in the Bible is applied to Abraham’s faith, 400 years before the Law.
Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
PSA 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.
PSA 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.
PSA 51:3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.
PSA 51:4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned [sin offends the only +R One], And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge.
PSA 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
PSA 51:6 Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.
PSA 51:7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
hyssop = material for the brush used to put lamb’s blood on the doorposts on the night of the first Passover. Used in ritual cleansing of leprosy.
hyssop picture DEU 32:4
"The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.
The root is not longer than a half inch and yet the plant can grow over 20 inches in length. This is a picture of a tiny bit of faith placed in the right object, the Rock, His work is perfect …
PSA 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice [proper response to DD].
PSA 51:9 Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities [with the blood of Christ].
PSA 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
PSA 51:11 Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me [OT only].
PSA 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.
PSA 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, And sinners will be converted to Thee.
PSA 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness [adultery, kidnapping, rape, lying, conduct unbecoming an officer, conspiracy, and murder], O God, Thou God of my salvation; Then [after recovery back into the plan of God] my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.
PSA 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Thy praise.
PSA 51:16 For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
PSA 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise [humbled].
PSA 51:18 By Thy favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem [removal of discipline from the city from David’s recovery].
PSA 51:19 Then Thou wilt delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Thine altar.
PSA 98:1 O Sing to the Lord a new song,
For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
PSA 98:2 The Lord has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
Righteousness has been revealed to the world through the person of Jesus Christ, and Him only: John 16:10
and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me;
Isaiah references God’s righteousness 53 times.
ISA 46:8 "Remember this, and be assured;
Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
ISA 46:9 "Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
ISA 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying,'My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';
ISA 46:11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.
ISA 46:12 "Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded,
Who are far from righteousness.
ISA 46:13 "I bring near My righteousness [not yours], it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay.
And I will grant salvation in Zion,
And My glory for Israel.
Israel’s glory is none other than TLJC, whom Isaiah has so often referenced:
ISA 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord God,
"Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
ISA 28:17 "And I will make justice the measuring line,
And righteousness the level;
Then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies,
And the waters shall overflow the secret place.
ROM 3:23 states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Perfect righteousness is the level or standard, and it is natural that men compare with each other and compete with each other and measure themselves by each other, but this fails to see the one and only divine standard. This is beautifully illustrated from an historical story.
After World War I, there were many tens of thousands of American soldiers left in France whose supreme desire was to get home as rapidly as possible. Discipline was greatly relaxed from the tension of the actual wartime, and the men were securing as much leave as possible in order to see the sights of Europe. In a certain village about a hundred miles from Paris, there was a group of American soldiers, consisting of a lieutenant and about forty men, whose duty was to guard an ammunition dump. Thousands of cases of shells were stored in a field and guards walked their rounds to protect the explosives. There was little to do outside of the brief periods of guard duty, and the men amused themselves as best they could and waited for the day when they would receive orders to embark for home.
There came a time when the lieutenant received permission to go on leave for two weeks, and he left the group in charge of the master sergeant. A few days afterwards, there came a motorcycle messenger from General Pershing’s headquarters bringing an order that greatly excited the soldiers. The order stated that 2,700 men were to be chosen to march in the peace parades of London, Paris, Brussels and Rome. When the corporal and sergeant read the order they looked at each other and said, “Boy, that would be something to go around Europe at the expense of the Government!” But as they read on, they discovered that there were two conditions imposed as standards for selection. The first brought them no difficulty, for it stated that every candidate had to have a clean record—no man would be chosen who had been court-martialed. But the second condition gave them pause. The order stated that every man applying had to be at least one meter and eighty-six centimeters tall.
The corporal looked at the sergeant and the sergeant looked at the corporal, and then one of them asked how much one meter and eighty-six centimeters was. Neither knew the answer. Then the corporal said the most natural thing under the circumstances:
“At any rate, Sarge, I am taller than you.”
When mess time came and the news spread around the group, it was the same thing over again. No one knew the metric system. The men got into an argument as to their relative heights, and soon they were standing up, back to back, to see who was the tallest man in the company. Finally, they knew their comparative heights, all the way from Slim down to Shorty. Slim was very proud and told them that he would send them a post card from Rome and would take a look at the English girls for the rest of them. Poor Shorty received the good-natured banter of his fellows.
Under the circumstances, I repeat, they did the normal, natural thing. They were in ignorance of the required standard. The appointment was greatly desired. This led them to set up artificial standards of their own and measure themselves by themselves.
2 Cor 10:12
but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
There was some pride developed in the men who were taller, for were they not the most probable candidates?
But there soon came the day when the lieutenant returned. The news was communicated to him, and he asked if there were any candidates. The sergeant replied, “The trouble is, sir, that we do not know what one meter and eighty-six centimeters is.” The lieutenant knew enough French to go out into the village and bring back a meter measure. Soon a mark was made on the wall of the required height. Now the men were no longer measuring themselves with themselves. They had to go up against a mark on the wall that was unchanged and unchangeable according to the orders from headquarters. One or two men backed up to the mark and their companions told them that they were an inch or so short of the requirement. Some men merely looked at the mark and knew that there was no hope. Finally, a call was made for Slim and he came to be measured. He puffed himself up to his greatest possible height and stood there, rigid and swollen as they measured him. When the ordeal was ended, it was discovered that even he was too short, though by no more than a quarter of an inch. Thus, not one of that group qualified by General Pershing’s standard. [end quote]
The only hope for righteousness in this world is through the return of Christ at the Second Coming. The only hope for the individual is to believe on Him before that time comes.
ROM 3:21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
ROM 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
The two witnesses point to one in the courtroom who is the only holy and clean One there and the rest of us either fear and tremble, or we rise and live in peace.