Sunday, December 7, 2014

Righteousness, Peace and Joy

Romans 14:17-18 “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

I read an article this week concerning Christian liberty in matters that are morally indifferent biblically and the point was that the emphasis of Christian living cannot be on the physical peripherals of daily living in this fallen world, like a checklist of does and don’ts. The whole concept of God’s laws written upon our hearts is that we don’t really follow His laws, but with a new/reborn heart live life naturally aligned with God’s perfect Word, Will and Way. Laws and rules are established to make known and acquiesce God’s line not to be crossed due to our out-of-alignment sin nature from the fall. Pastor Kyle speaks to this Christian “Checklist mentality” as getting so busy doing God’s work that we stop listening to God. Law-abiding citizens never worry about the law; only law-breaking citizens.

The Kingdom of God is lived out daily in righteousness, in the Holy Spirit. Righteousness - Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion. That which is applied to God, the perfection or holiness of His nature; exact rectitude; faithfulness. It is the active and passive obedience of Christ, by which the law of God is fulfilled and the cause of our justification. God’s laws are written on our heart from our “right” relationship with God through the life, death, resurrection and assertion of Christ unto our salvation. When our motivation is to honor the Lord and our intent is to honor God, then we don’t take our eyes off of Jesus with trivial matters. Where is our salvation centered? Our bondage is in sin and our freedom is in Christ.

The author states that Paul gives the correct understanding when he emphasizes that the kingdom is not about trivial matters, such as eating or drinking; rather, it is about “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit”. Life in the kingdom is about loving the things of God and loving those for whom Christ died. Serving Christ in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit is the recipe for Christian unity. When we keep the obligation to love God for whom He is and love one another out of thankfulness to God for our salvation, the trivial things that divide us will fade away and promote the peace and purity of the church, where Christ is the head.

In Christ, Brian 

No comments: