Good morning to everyone, may God richly bless you this week, and His revelation of grace shine in your heart.
Seek First The Kingdom Of God And His Righteousness!
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus instructs us not to worry (or be concerned) about the necessities of life, that our Father knows we have need of these things. He has generously supplied everything for the birds, the lilies, and how much more valuable are we to God?
In verse 33 Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Jesus spoke these words before His finished work of redemption at the cross. God has such an intense love for us, that He doesn’t want us to worry, be anxious, or fearful at all, about anything, and Jesus redeemed us from these things.
What is troubling you today? Is it your business, or occupation? Is it your spouse or children? It doesn’t really matter because if you seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness, He will make sure you don’t lack anything! The Lord is your Shepard, and you shall not be in lack. (Psalm 23) People find themselves in lack, because their worry drives them to try to do something through fear and self effort to fix things, which God has already provided for. He said He would add all these things, didn’t He?
Let’s take a moment and define the kingdom of God; “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17 NKJV) Romans 1:16-17, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is THE power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it THE righteousness of God is revealed… His righteousness is revealed in the (gospel) good news of His grace to mankind. Praise the Lord, the kingdom of God is within us, it is revealed to us through the Gospel! Romans 5 tells us that we have been given the gift of righteousness, we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus has made you right with God; He took the punishment for ALL your sins on the cross and gave you His innocence. You were acquitted; you are free. Most Christians would agree that they have been forgiven. If this is so, then why are they still living in guilt and condemnation? Because they don’t really believe they are totally forgiven, they have a compunction to confess all their sins, cause they’re just not quite sure that they are really completely forgiven.
Folks this is what righteousness is about, it is a gift, you can’t earn it by your confession of sin, sackcloth and ashes or anything else; it is what Jesus has done, nothing to do with your efforts. Matter of fact your efforts to try to become righteous will void your faith according to Romans 4:17. That is also called self-righteousness. Understanding your righteousness is vitally important for the other two parts (peace and joy) of the kingdom of God to operate in your lives, as you will soon see.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV) Jesus did not know sin, and He became sin, in the same way that you knew no righteousness, and you became the righteousness of God in Christ. It was by pure, wonderful and radical grace; you had nothing to do with, it is a gift. Romans 5:17 & 18, Mirror Translation; If death saw the gap in one sin, and grabbed the opportunity to dominate mankind because of one man, how much more may we now seize the advantage to reign in righteousness in this life through that act of Christ, who declared us innocent by His grace. Grace is out of all proportion in superiority to the transgression. 18 The conclusion is clear: it took just one offence to condemn mankind; one act of righteousness declares the same mankind innocent. Again, I ask, if you are innocent (and you are), then why are you living in regret, guilt and condemnation? Do you see here that many times we say we’re innocent but our actions scream, “I don’t believe it though, look at how I’m living, in regret and guilt.” Catching this revelation will change your entire way of thinking! Romans 8:1, There is therefore, now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ. If you’re a Christian, then your in Christ, so there is NO condemnation for you. Jesus was already condemned for your sin, and it was punished on His body, never to be brought up again! Never! Jesus said in John 3:17 that He did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. Does this make sense? Forgiveness is the centerpiece of our redemption, and until we know this, (even though we are righteous) then righteousness remains another empty religious word. You are righteous by faith, so next time you mess up, thank God that you are righteous and Jesus made you innocent by His blood, that my friend takes faith. No faith is needed to cry big tears, saying, “Oh my God I did it again, please God, oh please please forgive me, I’m so sorry I confess my sin.” Then walking around for weeks full of guilt and self-condemnation. There is no faith in that.
Righteousness, Peace and Joy
Now let’s look at peace, the second of the three (righteousness peace and joy) and how righteousness affects our peace. Hebrews chapter 4 speaks of entering into God’s rest. Without peace, there is no rest, and without knowing your innocent (righteous) there is no peace. Peace comes from knowing the debt was paid, and that God loves you so much that every provision you will ever need in life was richly and abundantly provided for you before you were ever born, by His grace; this includes health and healing, everything provided at the cross. He loves us! Peace doesn’t come from being self-occupied, but from being Christ-occupied. God doesn’t measure or judge you based on your performance today; He looks at Jesus, and as Jesus is, that is how He sees you! (1st John 4:17)
Know today that God loves you! I will pick up from here in part 2 of this teaching. Meditate on these powerful truths, and reign in life today.