In the last blog I dealt with bad works, being the common “lusts of the flesh” (whatever flesh really means 😉). These works produce death, but I don’t think this was Jesus’ primary focus here. There is a sin far more sinister and destructive that I think Jesus is concerned with. It is found in one of His foundational doctrines to His church being repentance from dead works.
Notice how Jesus begins His letter to them by introducing them to the heavenly family, of which you and I are a part. He is pointing them to their identity in heaven and not their identity on earth. He does this in all His letters. Jesus is concerned with the things of heaven which have a direct impact to what happens on earth.
Dead works are works – thinking and behaviour patterns – that are based in the keeping of the Law to obtain righteousness before the Father. This was the whole point of the Law of Moses. It was, and still is, a righteousness by good behaviour by keeping the law, instead of accepting righteousness through faith in the finished (eternal and complete) work of Jesus on the cross. This ties up with His doctrine concerning eternal righteousness which is obtained through accepting the truth that you are already righteous in His presence.
The saints in Sardis thought they were doing wonderful and good Christian deeds, through which they hoped to obtain favour with the Lord. This belief, however, will always keep you trapped in the world of “I’m not good enough” No one is. None of us can attain the high standard of righteousness that is in Christ by keeping the Law of Moses. God alone is fully righteous and no matter how hard you try you will never be good enough in and of yourself, no matter how good your works are. Failure in keeping the commands of the law also release the power of guilt and condemnation. (The doctrine of the Nicolaitans.)
Guilt and condemnation come through the doctrine of sin and death. It will keep you focused on death instead of life. Jesus came to fulfil all the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses. The end. This law is no longer the standard of God’s judgment regarding the saints. When Jesus rose from the dead, He instituted a new law called the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. This Law declares you righteous BECAUSE YOU ARE BORN OF GOD. This law is activated by grace through faith, and this does not come from your works (good behaviour and deeds), so that you cannot boast or think you are better than someone else.
Every person that is born of God IS RIGHTEOUS. You are born fully righteous and as righteous as Jesus Christ Himself. This is what Jesus means by being “alive” in Christ. This righteousness, which is a challenge to the mind that is set on earthly things, is God’s free gift to you. You cannot earn it. You cannot work for it. It is God’s decision alone and His gift to you because you are born of Him. This is an eternal truth which still has to work its way into your understanding.
You were saved by God’s grace and you are kept by God’s grace. You are born fully righteous and you are declared fully righteous. Nothing you do can make you greater or less righteous. This knowledge comes through knowing that ALL your sins have been forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is the foundation of your righteousness. When you know you are forgiven regardless of what you have done, you are on the road to victory and overcoming the works of darkness.
Righteousness is a big subject and is linked to the other six foundational doctrines of Christ (Heb 6). All I want you to know is that in God’s eyes you are fully righteous, without sin, and without blame. You stand before Him perfect and give Him great joy.
Grace and peace to you! 🤗
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