< Romans 9:30-33 >
�What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written:
�Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.��
In calling upon all of us, our Lord said, �I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance?(Matthew 9:13). We should realize that to those who pursue their own righteousness, the gift of salvation is not permitted, and to avoid this, we must instead believe in the righteousness of God.
Romans 9:13 says that God loved Jacob while He hated Esau. To those who receive with thanks the righteousness of God, God has given them the gift of the remission of sins, as well as the blessing that makes them His people. We must all believe in God with the knowledge of His righteousness.
We should learn and understand the Word of the righteousness of God given to us all. When one wants to be delivered from one�s sins, one must first know his/her own shortcomings and infirmities, as well as the righteousness of God. We must know and believe in His righteousness. God told us that only those who know that they are bound for hell are in need of His righteousness. It is important that we recognize our own sins and realize that because of our sins, we face God�s wrath that will make our punishment in hell unavoidable.
But we can receive into our hearts the gospel of the water and the Spirit through our Lord�s baptism, His death on the Cross and His resurrection, because only those who know the righteousness of God can believe in this righteousness. This is because God�s grace and love are not something that can be earned even by prayers of repentance or a life of piety, which many religious people engage in. However, the remission of sins given by God is for all those who adore and believe in His righteousness.
We must all be ready to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit willingly in our hearts. Do you want to receive the righteousness of God? Then admit before God and by His law your own insufficiencies. Recognize that because of your sins, you are under God�s wrath, and that you need His righteousness! When you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and accept it into your heart, the righteousness of God will be yours. You must know this truth.
The minds of those who do not believe in the righteousness of God are confused and locked in void.
God told us that our thoughts were confused from the beginning (Genesis 1:2). Why were man�s thoughts confused from the beginning? This is because the fallen angel that turned against God prevented people from believing in the Word of the righteousness of God by making their minds confused and void. This is why sin came to man�s heart (Genesis 3:1-8).
The Scripture tells us that an angel created by God turned against Him. This angel tried to take over God�s throne with his own strength and scheme, and having failed at the rebellion, was driven out from his privileged position. This Fallen Angel then enticed and deceived mankind, and turned them against God. This angel is called Satan. This prideful angel still works in both believers and non-believers alike in all kinds of boastful and rebellious manners. By deceiving man, he challenged the Word of the righteousness of God and His authority.
The Devil always resorts to lies so that people would not be able to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Having been deceived by the Devil, many fruitlessly try to establish their own righteousness. He let mankind fall into sin, and as a result, made them live their lives with confused and void minds.
The remission of sins and the righteousness given by God
Deliverance from sin for mankind, which has fallen into sin by Satan�s evil temptation, does not depend on one�s eagerness or his/her own righteousness. However, so many people try to desperately escape from their sins in vain while turning against God without realizing their own infirmities. God rebuked those who seek their own righteousness, those who try to earn the righteousness of God with their good deeds. Redemption is not for such people; only to those who know that they are sinners, and who believe in the true gospel of the water and the Spirit, has God allowed His righteousness.
The sovereign will of God is in its essence different from human thoughts. Paul told us that regardless of how well a person excels in outward manifestations of religious piety-church attendance, late-night prayers, early-morning prayers, fasting, offerings, repentance prayer, etc-he/she would never be able to cleanse away his/her own sins.
God tells us that the works of the law cannot redeem us from our sins and make the righteousness of God ours. As verses 32-33 of chapter 9 says, �Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: �Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.��
As such, to receive the righteousness of God, we must believe in Jesus?baptism and His blood on the Cross, through which Jesus became the sacrificial offering between God and mankind. It is therefore absolutely critical that you understand that you must throw away your own righteousness in order to obtain the righteousness of God. We should not reject the righteousness of God, given to us freely, while we confess Jesus as our Savior.
Even now, many who confess the Lord Jesus as their Savior still remain as sinners because they do not believe in the gospel that manifests the righteousness of God. People cannot earn the righteousness of God by following His law. Those who believe in the Word of the righteousness of God must cast away the pursuits of their own righteousness. You should remember that Jesus became the stumbling stone to those who pursued their redemption and the righteousness of God by their own works of the law.
The gospel of the water and the Spirit, given to us by God, is the truth that redeems those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and that must accompany those who pursue the righteousness of God. What is absolutely necessary for redemption and eternal life is the faith in the Word of the righteousness of God, manifested through the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross. This Word reveals to us who among Christians cannot receive the remission of sins, and, at the same time, it teaches us the truth that those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit will receive the righteousness of God.
The correct faith, therefore, requires the understanding that God did not decide to pick a certain group of people unconditionally and send them to hell. If God indeed loved some while He hated others arbitrarily, people would not respect His righteousness.
Through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, God has set the law of the righteousness of redemption to deliver all sinners from their sins, and has given us the great blessing of being clothed in His love. Everyone must throw away his/her own righteousness before the gospel of the water and the Spirit spoken by the righteousness of God. God gave His righteousness only to those who believe in it.
God didn�t allow people to be able to save themselves from sin by their own righteousness. Without believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit as the righteousness of God, no one is to receive this righteousness, even if he/she confesses faith in Jesus (John 3:1-8).
The baptism that Jesus received and the blood that He shed on the Cross have become the righteousness of God. This is why Jesus has become the rock of offense to those who pursue their own righteousness. Believers in Jesus, therefore, must realize and understand that when they pursue their own righteousness, they are trampling on God�s righteousness. No sinner can enter the Gates of Heaven without having faith in the righteousness of God. We who believe in Jesus must receive the remission of our sins by believing in God�s righteousness.
Jesus Christ, who came to this earth, is the Savior of sinners and the very righteousness of God itself. We must truly believe in this righteousness of God, as Jesus has forgiven our sins with His Word by the water and the Spirit. Believers in Jesus must believe in the baptism that He received from John and His blood on the Cross as the righteousness of God. Only those who believe in the written Word of the water and the Spirit can enter Heaven.
We are told to be divided into the vessels of wrath and the vessels of mercy
The Lord said, �For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul??(Matthew 16:26) If one comes to lose his/her eternal life, his/her achievements in this world are useless, no matter what they are. It is of no use even though one has conquered the world or even the entire universe, if he/she has not received the righteousness of God by believing in Jesus?baptism and His blood on the Cross.
No matter how highly theological doctrines are developed, only by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that fulfills the righteousness of God can one receive and believe in this righteousness. Believers in Jesus can be free from their sins only when they receive the righteousness of God by believing in it.
Nowadays, it is common to see believers who, professing to believe in the righteousness of God, anguish over their sins in every early morning prayer meeting. They do not in reality believe in the righteousness of God. We must realize that such faiths professed by those who do not believe in the redemption within His righteousness do not please God, but only angers Him. Because they turned against the righteousness of God, they can only remain as His foes.
John 3:5 tells us that �Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.?/i> This is why you should resolve all your problems of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and in the righteousness of God. The gospel of the water and the Spirit has become the righteousness of God that can give you the remission of sins and His righteousness.
If you want to have the kind of faith that would justify you in God�s righteousness, you must follow and believe in the Word of the water and the Spirit that contains this righteousness. You must also realize that, for your heart to be filled with faith in the righteousness of God, you need to cast aside your own righteousness. What Paul is telling both the Israelites and the Gentiles is that they must abandon their pursuits of their own righteousness if they want to obtain the righteousness of God.
God gave Abraham his son as the fruit of his faith in the righteousness of God. The righteousness of God appears in the Word of the water and the Spirit. Anyone who believes in the Word of the righteousness becomes a righteous person. Rebecca, Isaac�s wife, had conceived twins by him, and even before they were born, or doing any good or evil, she was told that �The older shall serve the younger.?From this passage, some people conclude that God is not a just God, and that this is a mistaken conclusion.
This is because God already knew the future faiths of Jacob and Esau, even as they were still in Rebecca�s womb. The secret of the righteousness of God is hidden in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because Esau was someone who was boastful of his own good deeds, God saw him as having nothing to do with faith in His righteousness, and this is why God hated him. Jacob, on the other hand, was someone who believed in the righteousness of God and gave all the glory to Him alone; thus, God could not do anything else but love him.
That God loved Jacob and hated Esau, therefore, is just on the basis of the truth. God does not appreciate people like Esau, who boasted of his own power without believing in the righteousness of God, but He is pleased by and loves people like Jacob, who knew his infirmities and believed only in His righteousness.
People often misunderstand the righteousness of God by asking how God could act in such a way to Isaac. They think that if God loved some while hated others, there must be something wrong with God, and they might even refuse to believe in Jesus because they think of Him as a God of injustice.
But how can God be unjust? If one thinks God as unjust, this is only a reflection of the fact that he/she does not have a correct understanding of the righteousness of God. All the more, it is precisely those who, by not believing in the righteousness of God, cover His righteousness with their own human righteousness that does grave wrong before God. Everyone must throw away their own righteousness before the righteousness of God and believe in the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
This is the only way to believing in the Word of redemption that contains the righteousness of God. That God is unjust is a fragment of your own imagination, derived from your ignorance of the profound purpose of God, set within His plan and predestination. God�s righteous plan was to reveal His righteousness before us. Because God knew of the twins?futures already, God planned accordingly in His righteousness and set to love he who believed.
We must understand and believe in the righteousness of God in His plan. Whom, between Jacob and Esau, would God call upon? Our Lord said that He �did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.?The righteousness of God, in other words, calls people like Jacob. As for Esau, not only did he not respond to God�s righteous call, but he also boasted in his own righteousness. This is why Esau was to be hated while Jacob became the one who answered the call of the righteousness of God.
All these biblical truths must be understood within the faith that knows and believes in the love of the righteousness of God. If one tries to solve the conundrum of God�s predestination without the correct knowledge of God�s righteous love, he/she will fall into the very trap that he/she has set, leading to his/her own destruction.
God set predestination to reveal the love of His righteousness. Jacob was a man who came to recognize his shortcomings and believed in the Word of the righteousness of God. That God loved Jacob while He hated Esau is just. In the just sight of God, everyone deserves His wrath, but He provided us with His redemption for all those who believe in His righteousness. Those who are clothed in mercy before God are those who do not boast of their own righteousness, but believe in the righteousness of God as their redemption. These are the people who confess, �I deserve to be condemned to hell for my sins. Lord God, have mercy on me, and teach me your righteousness.?
God gives the remission of sins only to those who believe in His righteous love, and this is God�s plan for us to become His children that He has already revealed to us. You must not misunderstand God�s plan to love Jacob and hate Esau. If, by any chance, you had not correctly understood the righteousness of God, then it is time for you believe again in God�s righteous love in His righteousness.
I believe in the righteousness of God. Those who can correctly understand God�s righteous love can also correctly believe in God�s righteous Providence within His righteousness. But few in this world have the correct understanding of God�s righteous plan and believe in it, and many are plagued by their misunderstanding of God.
These people think that, because the Scripture tells us that God hated Esau, some people are set by God to be arbitrarily hated by Him, as if it was their fate to be hated by Him. But our God is not such a despotic God. God is a judge who is right and just in His righteousness. God wants to give each and every one of us His righteous mercy and love.
God wanted to give us His righteousness through Jesus Christ, and He clothed those who believed in His righteousness in His mercy and made them His children.
This truth is revealed in the New Testament in Matthew 9:12-13 where Jesus says, �Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: �I desire mercy and not sacrifice.?For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.?/i> Those who are well have no need for physicians may even think of them as bothersome. Just as people do not realize the importance of physicians when they are healthy, they do not realize the importance of receiving the righteousness of God into their hearts by believing in it. Not knowing the righteousness of God, they are busy pursuing their own righteousness.
But sinners must abandon their own righteousness and believe in the righteousness of God. You can be either Jacob or Esau before God. Who do you want to be? God�s reward and punishment will depend on your decision to whether or not believe in the redemption of the righteousness of God.
There is nothing wrong with God
Every person is by nature a competitive being. Some of them may be highly intelligent and successful people and some may have done many good deeds for others. But without the understanding of and faith in the righteousness of God, they will not have God�s approval. Everyone-you and I, even the Israelites-were to be doomed for hell before God. Despite this, we have been justified, not by our own efforts, works, or strengths, but only by our faith in the very righteousness of God.
Because God has impartially and fairly given everyone His righteous love, all those who believe in it can be delivered from all their sins. God is not an unjust God, as you might have thought Him to be.
Whether or not one receives God�s blessing of redemption depends on whether he/she decides to receive or reject it. This is why some people have become vessels of wrath while others have become vessels of mercy. Jacob, to put it differently, became a vessel of mercy, while Esau ended up as a vessel of wrath.
But some theologians and those without the Holy Spirit often slander God. They say, �Look, did not God make the Pharaoh as a vessel of wrath? Look at Jacob and Esau! Look at Rebecca! Look at what the potter has done! Did not God make someone the vessel for honor from the very beginning? This can be only fate!?Their logic is as follows: some people were already elected to become God�s children even before their births; and such people who were predestined and elected to be clothed in God�s love all become His children, while the others are bound for hell. This is how God�s election is attacked. But God gave His righteousness to everyone, and He impartially elects those who believe in it.
We became justified by believing in the righteousness of God, when, in fact, we were not His people prior to this. God can approve our faiths because we became justified by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit through His Word. This is the truth of the gospel that shows the amazing power of God.
Originally, we had no God in us, did not know Him, and were all sinners, but by believing in the righteousness of God we have become His people. The gospel of the water and the Spirit, in which we believe, is not an incomplete gospel, but the complete and perfect one. We should praise God for giving us the truth by which we can obtain His righteousness.
Our lives may be full of troubles, but we must not forget the righteousness of God because God has taught us the greatness of His power. The happiest person in the entire universe is the one who knows the righteousness of God. To those of us who believe in God, the triune God is the Father of mercy. He is our holy God. He put the faith in the righteousness of God in the souls of those of us who believe in it. We were made God�s children and the recipients of His grace and blessings by knowing and believing in His righteousness.
Yet many people are still preoccupied by their own efforts to do good works. Giving offerings, volunteering for the church, making large donations to it in competition with others- you may think these are all good deeds, but they alone cannot and will not save you. Focusing on these works alone is not an indication of your faith in the righteousness of God, but it is an indication that you are pursuing your own righteousness. Those who are preoccupied with the efforts of their own flesh are going against God. It is those who do not know the righteousness God that are preoccupied with such things of the flesh.
The Scripture tells us that God�s salvation is not given to those who run for it, but only to those who believe in His righteousness. This righteousness can be received only by believing in our merciful God. It is not by our works that we are loved by God, but only by believing in His righteousness do we receive His merciful love. This is why true faith depends entirely on whether or not we know and believe in the righteousness of God.
Were we not useless beings from the very beginning? And yet have we not, because of our faith in the righteousness of God, become so noble? We can keep our faiths until the end by believing in the righteousness of God and priding ourselves in the fact that we have now become His children.
There are many in the world who do evil and claim that there is no God, but God had mercy on us because we believed in His righteousness. We are truly noble before God and our pride in God is well deserved. We may face trials and tribulations while on this earth, but we are all spiritually rich and happy. We must all follow the righteousness of God and exalt Jesus.
God made all sinners His children, sinless, righteous, and perfect before Him. We must realize upon whom the righteousness of God comes. This righteousness of God has met all our shortcomings and cleansed away all our faulty sins. Whether you believe in this truth or not entirely depends on you. You, too, have been completely saved from your sins by the righteousness of God. What, then, will you do? Will you postpone your decision to believe for tomorrow?
May the righteousness of God be with you.