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The Gift Of Righteousness

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 11, 2020 1:00 am

The Gift Of Righteousness

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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October 11, 2020 1:00 am

The standard God sets for us to gain eternal life is very high—so high there’s no way we can ever reach it. That’s why He has given a gift to every child of God in which He imparts the very purity He demands. In this message we learn all about this marvelous gift. 

 Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)

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The standard God sets for us to gain eternal life is very hard so high, there's no way we can ever reach it. That's why he's given a gift to every child of God in which he imparts the very purity he demands stay with us as we learn all about this marvelous gift from Chicago. We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are today we bring you another in an eight part series on the inheritance of the redeemed later.

Erwin lutes will come to tell us about the gift of righteousness that dilutes or comes now to open our time of worship. Ladies and gentlemen welcome to The Moody Church of all the places where you could be this morning.

This is God's time and place for you. And as we thought about this service. As we prayed about it and so much music that has been so much time invested in the music we are here to bless you. But more importantly to honor God. Let's bow together now in prayer father open our hearts open our minds. We pray to receive all that you have for us. We ask that you will help us to put away all of the distractions of life, and may in a very special way this be your our for your glory. Jesus name, amen name above all names we worship him today. We love him we desire to serve him grant. Oh God, that those who do not know you yet personally may understand the wonder of his grace and his mercy toward us in Jesus name God's holy word. He has reason for confidence in the flesh have more people of Israel to try Benjamin Hebrew Hebrews persecutor at the church to righteousness under the blameless, but whenever I counted loss for this Christ indeed account everything is lost because it is worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for I have suffered the loss of all things in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depends on faith that I may know how are any means. I made the right direction already obtained or already perfect, but I press time to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. This is the second in a series of messages titled the inheritance of the redeemed.

The blessings that are ours because of our faith in Christ.

If you missed the first message which was on predestination.

I encourage you to get a copy of it to listen to it because it is very foundational, but today's message also is so extremely critical that I personally think about this gift that I'm going to introduce to you almost every single day in order to understand the importance of this gift, let me ask you a question. What does God think of you today.

Is he happy with you. Is he mad at you because you began to read the Bible through this year and you blown it already. We begin well and then we fail or you send this weekend.

You feel somewhat distant from God because life hasn't gone well and you haven't reacted well to it. What's God's opinion of you today. Now before I introduce you to this gift. I do need to give you a little bit of background, so stay with me and then once we get to the gift you're going to understand exactly and it's going to be as clear as route 66. Remember, ever since the beginning God is wanted to communicate with mankind that we were talking even about the garden and were speaking about the fact that Adam and Eve sinned, and that they used some leaves to try to hide their nakedness and goddesses know I'm going to give you better close. I'm going to give you actually the skin of animals.

God get the skin of animals obviously killed some animals what he wanted to say right from the beginning is that there is no forgiveness there is no covering of sin, without blood, and there is no such thing as a cheap covering and so after that he began to connect with Adam and Eve, but everybody knows that those animal skins were not the final covering for sin, by no means they were only symbolic and then you get to the time of the tabernacle and you discover that God had all of those sacrifices that we understand and in the tabernacle. There were two compartments. The holy of holies in the holy place and how the priest could only go into the holy place on one day a year and and God was saying I'm everywhere I exist everywhere but I specially exist here because I want you to understand my holiness because you see, here's the problem that God had the problem was that he was communicating with mankind who are sinners and he had to have a way by which that could be done without either compromising his holiness or contaminating himself. So in the Old Testament. He had fellowship with people he put their sin away, but not finally, there was no payment for the sin back then.

And yet he was connecting with people in years ago. Atheists wrote a tract in which they wanted to make fun of God and they said all look at the people of the Old Testament with whom God hung out.

I mean, you know, you begin with Abraham, will Abraham lied is called a friend of God. The argument of the atheists was simply listed. The person is judged by the company he keeps. Jacob was a cheater and yet he was communicating with God and that God actually had them in the line for which Christ would be eventually born.

I mean, you go through the Old Testament. Moses lost his temper and became very angry, and yet Moses had spoken face-to-face with God as a man speaks with his friend and then the classic illustration is David, murder and adultery. Quote a man after God's own heart will really, the atheists were saying what kind of a god considers these kinds of people as his friend.

They had a point for 4000 years.

There was a scandal that was building and that was God was forgiving people, and there was no final payment for their sin. There was justice being set aside so that he could connect with them but there is no way that they could be finally and totally redeemed, and with that background. Now I want you to take your Bibles if you would please and turn to the third chapter of the book of Romans Romans chapter 3, and even as I mentioned the text. I'm glad that there is some wrestling throughout the congregation that means you have a Bible or you can use the one that is in the seat in front of you and some of you of course there will be no wrestling, no noise because God bless you. You brought your phone you brought your iPad you brought your jackhammer. You have everything that you need no matter what you're using today, I want you to look at the text look at the text put your finger on the text in the book of Romans, the apostle Paul is talking about how all of us are sinners. He begins with the pagans and everybody says yeah for sure they are.

Then he goes on to the Jewish people who thought that they were a cut above the pagans and he proves that they are sinners to and by the time you get to chapter 3 verse 10 pieces there is none righteous, no not one.

No one understands, no one seeks for God's yeah I saw God yes you did. That's why you had to listen to the previous message on predestination because God sought you.

That's why you saw God on our own. We would never seek God and so he goes on through and what is basically saying is, is that we are part of a very corrupt tree and we try to wear a mask.

We try to make it look good in we sometimes do quote good but at the end of the day says in verse 18 that there is no fear of God before their eyes.

In other words, we know God is watching and we don't care what we do. So Paul concludes here in verse 19 now we know whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped in the whole world is accountable to God and everybody comes up guilty.

God is so holy and we are so sinful that even our good acts are tainted. We help a woman across the street. We can hardly wait to tell somebody how wonderful we were and what we did that day and so he concludes for verse 20 chapter 3 by the works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin by the works of the law. Nobody will be justified, and now Paul goes into one of the most important passages of Scripture. I wish I could commented on on it phrase by phrase, but were going to get to the basic point very quickly here.

But now verse 21.

The righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, thank God it's apart from the law because through the law. Original righteousness of God. Although the law and the prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

For there is no distinction. All of sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that is sin. By the way, God standard is his glory.

So how far are we able to shoot with our arrow to see if we can hit the glory of God, and we constantly miss it told you before, the story of a man going through a farmyard noticing on the barn. All of these circles. All of these targets and in the middle of each one arrow so he commanded the farmer being a good marksman. The pharmacist that wasn't done by me. That was done from a boy from the village who isn't that bright and what he did. Izzy shot arrows into my barn and then he painted the targets around and we aim at the glory of God. And we said reached at the answer is no, you haven't you reached your own target, but not God's. Now notice and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Now verse 25 everyone listening to this, you may be here today. As a teenager.

If you're going to live the Christian life.

You are going to need to understand what I'm going to tell you now and in the rest of this message. You'll notice it says in verse 725 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. I'm so excited about this message. I'm stumbling over words today is another reason why God of heaven opened in front of you, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith, why this was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins was to show his righteousness at the present time so that he may be just and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus from infancy probably you have been told that Jesus died for sinners and he did but that's not the first purpose of the cross, God put forth Jesus. Which reminds us of the bad salvation is of God. God put forth Jesus. Why to declare God's righteousness. Jesus died for sinners, but we must understand that Jesus also died God. Jesus died for God so that God could be equated, acquitted, I should say he could be set free from the scandal that we talked about having fellowship with Old Testament saints without a final sacrifice to talk here about the divine forbearance of God. God says I'm going to save them on credit, I'm gonna take their sins set it aside have fellowship with them.

But every demon is coming who is going to pay their debt as well as the death of all those who will eventually believe on Jesus. So Jesus died for God to vindicate God's righteousness, and to legally get him off the hook on to explain what about the Old Testament people who were saved enjoying God without a sacrifice and you'll notice it says that God sent him forth for them to be the propitiation for our sins. Now that word means the turning away of God's wrath against sin, but I don't want you to think of the father being harsh.

He's the one that demands a sacrifice in the sun.

This the kind one who goes to the cross redemption was planned by the Trinity. It is God who love the world, and therefore he gave his only begotten son, God the complexity of his emotions, both as one who is just and as one who is loving so Jesus comes and then he is the propitiation for our sins and in a message some time ago.

I emphasize that this is very different than the pagans. You can go online and people will sale Christianity is just like all the other religions. They had their sacrifices to and they did differences this that in Christianity God becomes the sacrifice God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.

And so it is God who purchases the redemption.

It is God who calms and vindicates God the father, the mystery of the Trinity. Now that background, I'd like to introduce you to the gift that is given to all who believe on Jesus, the transforming gift that will impact your ability to live the Christian life from here on out the gift that I am referring to is the gift of the righteousness of God in order for us to get into that because Paul uses that word here. And of course in the book of Romans elsewhere.

I do need to refer one more time to Martin Luther and his struggle to see what Luther was doing was he was living in an era in which it was believed that if you did enough good works. God would see you good enough to save you. The question was how many good works.

You have to do. He fasted until sometime people thought that he might die Rebecca and I've been in the cell in which he was there. It's like a cell in the monastery in Erfurt hard floor.

He slept without blankets try to mortify the flesh, he confessed his sins up to six hours at a time, but his conscience would not be silenced because you don't know how I got Saturday's you go through and you do all these confessions and then you have to start again tomorrow because it's like mopping the floor with a faucet running on the new sins and maybe you forgot some of them despair. Then he began to teach the book of Romans. You know the story it gets to chapter 1 and it says in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed and he looks at the righteousness of God and hatred against God builds up in his heart. Oh yeah, that's my problem is the righteousness of God. If he wasn't that righteous will then maybe I could attain to his standard but he so righteous.

Love God said Luther I hate him. He's given us an impossible standard but as Luther began to look in Romans one and then Dr. Romans chapter 3 in chapter 4 he began to realize something. Righteousness is an attribute of God, but it is also a gift given to sinners and look at what it says in chapter 4 regarding Abraham was true also in the Old Testament verse three for what does the Scripture say Abraham believed God, and was counted to him for righteousness. Abraham certainly wasn't righteous, but he was credited with righteousness because he believed Paul wants to show that what is teaching was consistent really with the Old Testament and then when he gets to chapter 5, you'll notice that the text says here very clearly in chapter 5 that this is gift righteousness. Verse 16 but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification for it because of one's man's trespass death reigned through one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.

There is reign in life through Jesus Christ. So what I'd like to do today is to give you three or four characteristics of this gift of righteousness that is legally conferred on all who believe on Jesus, so that now we can reach God's standard because God gives us what we need to do that. Let me give you those characteristics. First of all, obviously it's a free gift. Obviously, because it's the kind of righteousness of which you and I have none. We can't contribute to it that we can tell him do anything about it. God took our goodness and he put it on the shelf and across it he wrote unusable can't use your goodness fall tainted with sin. And so what I do is I set aside human goodness is unusable.

If there was something really truly holy and good about us.

God would have to acknowledge that, but in the book of Romans. It shows that there's nothing to acknowledge.

So God says I set aside human sin and now what I'm going to do is independent of human beings to see the righteousness of God is not just human righteousness lifted to a higher power. It's entirely different. It has to be a gift. It is a gift that is on earned. It is a gift that we can never repay. But there's something else about it because it's a gift God doesn't find it more difficult to save big sinners than lesser ones. God saves some terrible centers there could be some people listening to this message and you know the things that you have done. I would think that since this message goes in different parts of the world and on the radio I'm speaking to people who know right well that they are criminals and you're saying to yourself, can I cannot righteousness be applied to me and I say absolutely because it's a righteousness independent of human works. It's much better to live a good life than a criminal life. But as far as righteousness is concerned. God gives the same righteousness to everybody. God can receive you, so it has to be of necessity a free gift. That's why it's called gift righteousness. In Romans chapter 5 there's a second characteristic of this gift and that is that it is a perfect gift. Obviously, because it's God's righteousness say because it belongs to him and he says I'm conferring it on you.

I'm crediting it to your account. I'm crediting it to your account.

Therefore, your debt is fully being paid by me. Of course, it can't be improved upon, nor can it in any way be diminished. It is as perfect as God see Luther knew something that his generation lost in our generation certainly is lost that in order to get to heaven you have to be as perfect as God, that's difficult to do in ourselves is not lives. Look at your husband and say, on that basis, you're not making so it is a perfect gift. It is God's righteousness. Third is a permanent permanent once received, it takes you all the way to heaven if I may, one more time, refer to Martin Luther was he saying during those days when he was confessing his sins of course not say because as he confessed his sins.

The next day he was loaded again with new sins and you really don't know where you stand. The salvation does not come through confession.

Remember all your sins even if you did, as I've already emphasized tomorrow's another day with brand-new one where do you go but once he understood that salvation was a free gift that is to say that the righteousness of God was credited to him and that it was his permanent possession through faith in Jesus Christ now freed him and and one of the doctrines that he gave up soon after was purgatory because purgatory said nobody dies good enough to go to heaven so there are the fires of purgatory that finally purged you so that you can have entrance and is as if I'm clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

I go from this life to the next and I'm deposited in heaven as if I am Jesus, and if you know Christ as your Savior when you die you will be welcomed into heaven as if you are Jesus and I'd say that that's really good news for sinners is I think I think is wonderful 70s is over there now. Now if you're not a sinner will talk to me later and I'll give you a little bit to help.

It is therefore a permanent it says in the book of Hebrews.

He has perfected for ever. Those who are sent, but also I want to give you another characteristic and that is a sanctifying gift.

It sanctifies us is a because it could be somebody's listening to this lease as well. If I receive Jesus. I can just do anything I like. By the way, when somebody says that to you. There should be a part of you that rejoices because they understand their beginning to understand the gospel is the natural on the saved response to the gospel that Paul is going to argue that to. Should we therefore continue in sin, because grace abounds. Absolutely not.

But you see it is this truth that sanctifies us.

I read in chapter 5 that we rein in this life by the free gift of righteousness. How does that work.

Remember the story Lane Ms. Victor Hugo's book about John Valjean. He breaks at a prison and is looking for a place to stay and nobody will have been, and finally a bishop takes a man the bishop is very kind to him ends up giving him a nice warm bed with clean sheets. But in the middle of the night John Valjean wakes up tiptoes through the bedroom of the bishop and steals the silverware and leaves.

Later that morning.

John Valjean is caught by a guard. He brings them back in the guard says to the bishop. He says you gave him the spell and all that the bishop has to do is to say no I didn't and John Valjean goes to prison for the rest of his life, but you remember what the bishop did the bishop said oh yes, I gave him the spoons. In fact, I'm angry with him because here's some candlesticks.

He should've taken to will the guard has to just walk away and then the bishop says to John Valjean and I'm paraphrasing here with this act of grace about your soul, for God and from then on. John Valjean began to live a different life. Now I know that the illustration breaks down because we can't just begin to live a different life without the power of the Holy Spirit, which incidentally is the next message in this series but still grace is transforming grace motivates us to. In light of the fact that we have God's righteousness. We have now a desire to live righteously. We can never attain the righteousness of God. But we want to live righteous lives. And yes we do confess our sins in order to restore fellowship with God, but not in order to begin. Somehow all over again. We do it because we are his children. Your children have permanent love and acceptance from you as parents but when they misbehave or some confession that has to be done and that's why we pray that the church would confess and that the church would repent, but still we repent from the standpoint of strength see the reason that this means so much to me as there are mornings when I wake up when I don't necessarily have a heart heart for God ever had a morning like that ever had a morning where your failures seem to overwhelm you really feel quite bad about what you've done, but what's been done has been done where you go from there. What you do say God's mad at me know what you do is you say this, there is a prayer I came across this week.

It says in Christ. There is nothing I can do that would make you love me more and nothing I have done that makes you love me less well to God still loves me.

Yeah I'm still represented before the throne, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is still my gift covering my life.

Yes, I think it was Ludwig von Zinzendorf.

I love that name don't get to say it too often who said Jesus died. Blood and righteousness my beauty are to my psych and get up and not because of what I've done or because you know I've had a warm time in my devotions, though God knows we ought to have our devotions, but I get up in the morning because God is there. Jesus represents me the terrors of law and of God with me. They can have nothing to do. My Savior's obedience and blood hide all of my sins from view my name on the palm of his hands. Eternity cannot erase forever. There extends a mark of indelible grace. You can get up in the morning because you are loved and the righteousness of God is credited to your account. Now there are some implications of this.

Obviously, and for these.

I look at the text. You'll notice it says this in verse 26 we already emphasize that Jesus was put forward as a propitiation is of his blood, to be received by faith for us. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time in years. Now the key phrase that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus, God can be both loving and totally just, and he can acquit us because Jesus paid what we couldn't and gave us the gift of divine righteousness and credited it to our account. So God is a totally just, and is the justifier. Secondly, second implication is this you'll notice he says that I love this. In verse 27 what then becomes of our boasting is excluded. You're going to come before God and sale.

God, I am just so wonderful because I came to know your son so much better than the person standing next to me was never believed in and taking credit for the fact that I'm pretty wise in this business of salvation. If that attitude I never said this before and never plan to. But I will. You're kind of slapping God face, and that's why throughout all of eternity. We will continue to worship at the one of God's salvation and that he demands perfection and then supplied what he demanded and offered it to sinners is a free gift of you know boasting from us in heaven should be no boasting on earth who makes the two differ from another or what is thou that thou is not received, and if thou hast received it. Why do you act as if belongs to you solely God everything. No boasting. And finally we see here that Jesus Christ is the one who is the Redeemer, not just for the Jews but for everyone. Verse 29 or is God the God of the Jews only is he not also God of the Gentiles. Yes, also of the Gentiles is a God of the people who attend Moody Church. Yes, he's God of the people who attend Moody Church.

There are not a lot of ways to get to heaven because there is no other Savior, who paid the debt of those who believe and some of you who are depending upon your works. Let me tell you that if anyone ever says to your question.

What do I have, you know, if you were to stand before God and God were to say what shall I buy shall I let you into heaven. If anybody says well you know I'm a pretty good person.

Not only are they not understanding the gospel, but much more seriously much more seriously. They actually are putting up a huge stumbling block to the gospel. They are more loss than the person who says I have nothing to offer God, I come with my need and God has to do everything else that person can be saved as long as we cling to our righteousness. We can't so in this broken world where we measure our spirituality by our industry and by our works. Let's remember that it is given as a free gift that is salvation to all who believe the Bible says God working in your heart today to believe that Jesus actually did pay at all deal Moody was in a meeting one time and he said that a man stood up and said it took me 42 years to learn the things and that he thought while if I listen carefully. I can maybe learn them all right now I don't have to wait that long.

Man said that three things are there is number one I cannot save myself my works do not contribute to my salvation. Second thing I learned is that God doesn't expect me to do or think I can be above all those better in the third thing is that Jesus paid it all for those who believe. Isn't that good news in a fallen world the gift of righteousness God's righteousness that takes us all the way to heaven. What a gift. Give never received Christ as Savior. You may do that were going to be singing in a moment, but wherever you are seated. However, you are listening to this you can say at this moment. Jesus, I received that free gift because I know I'm send and I come to a Savior, a great Savior for great sinners.

Father, we ask that your Holy Spirit will take your word and do what we can. You can open hearts. You can convict of sin, you can show people the beauty and the glory of our salvation. And today there are those who may be reborn into your kingdom. Help us Lord to rejoice in the salvation freely offered. We love you in Jesus name, amen.

Stand and sing. Jesus paid on today's Moody Church. Our Dr. Erwin Lutzer brought another in a series of eight messages on the inheritance of the redeemed, some of the gifts God gives his children may seem intangible.

For instance, having the righteousness of God sounds theoretical. Next time will learn about a gift that makes all the other gifts very real.

The gift of the Holy Spirit. Lockdowns economic chaos thousands dying over 19 has changed all of us forever. Agendas are flying as the press and politicians maneuver for advantage.

The ultimate question what is God saying to us through a deadly pandemic. Erwin Blitzer has authored a new book on pandemics plagues and natural disasters and we'd like you to have a copy as our thank you for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Dr. Luther's ministry will send out this new book right away. Just call us at 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin Lutzer and the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago


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