WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 3, 2022
TOPIC: THE RIGHTEOUS SHOULD PRACTISE RIGHTEOUSNESS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7 New King James Version).
The Bible says clearly that those who are born-again are the righteousness of God in Christ. Man cannot be righteous in the sight of God by his works of righteousness which is compared to filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). “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 New King James Version). In other words, Jesus, the sinless One, imputed or transferred His righteousness to sinners who believe in Him. When God looks at them, He does not see their sinfulness again but sees the righteousness of Christ. The blood of Jesus has washed away their sins.
The Amplified Bible puts 2 Corinthians 5:21 this way: “He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].” There appears to be no debate about the fact that Jesus’ death on the cross has made it possible for those who believe in Him to receive God’s approval.
The problem arises where some people believe that they have nothing to do again as regards living to please God after Jesus’ death has made them acceptable to Him. They think that they can continue to sin just as non-believers do since Jesus has imputed His righteousness to them.
The apostle John seems to be dealing with this when he said, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7 New King James Version). Take note of the phrase “let no one deceive you.” The New Living Translation puts the verse thus: “Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it is because they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.”
Probably some people were spreading the kind of teaching he was correcting as regards the relationship between sin and the child of God. Or it could be that he was aware of the possibility of some people coming up with this wrong doctrine.
In the preceding verses, John said, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (verses 4-6 New King James Version).
The New Living Translation renders 1 John 3:6 thus: “So if we continue to live in him, we won’t sin either. But those who keep on sinning have never known him or understood who he is.” This indicates that anyone who claims to be born again but continues in sin has stopped living in Him (Jesus) as it is not possible to continue living in Him and at the same time continue in sin. Someone cannot live in sinful practices and still be a true child of God.
The apostle John continues: “But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not sin, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they have been born of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the Devil. Anyone who does not obey God’s commands and does not love other Christians does not belong to God” (1 John 3:8-10 New Living Translation).
Don’t be deceived, you cannot continue to live in Christ and at the same time continue to live in sin. Indeed, Christians have been made the righteousness of God but 1 John 2:29 says, “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him” (New King James Version). God is righteous and it, therefore, follows that those who are born of Him will practise righteousness. God treated Jesus as a sinner when He took our sins for us to be acceptable to God. But He didn’t do that for us to continue to practise unrighteousness.
We are given credit for Christ’s sinless or righteous life to live a righteous life in Him. Nobody can live a righteous life by God’s standard in his strength. It is only possible as we live in Him. Jesus Christ has reconciled us with God so that we can live to please Him as He did when He was on earth. “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29 New King James Version).
Nobody is saved by his works of righteousness but by grace. We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). Ephesians 2:8-9 says by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Nevertheless, God demands that we live a holy life because He is holy (1Peter 1:16).
He demands that His children should depart from iniquity. “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’” (2 Timothy 2:19 New King James Version). The Greek word translated Iniquity is adikia and it means injustice, the unrighteousness of heart and life, or a deed violating law and justice, an act of unrighteousness.
The book of Romans was originally written to the Christians in Rome, not non-Christians. Christians must depart from iniquity and not say it doesn’t matter because they have become the righteousness of God. God is righteous and His children should practise righteousness. They should do what is right according to His Word.
Romans 6:12-14 says, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (New King James Version).
Let no man deceive you. Grace does not mean you should continue in sin. You cannot continue in sin that grace may abound (Romans 6:1). The righteous should practise righteousness. As a child of God, you are dead to sin and should no longer live in it (verse 2). You should not yield members of your body as instruments of unrighteousness to sin but as instruments of righteousness to God. Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent and depart from the iniquity I have been practising. I receive Your forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit to help me to practise righteousness and not sin. Sin shall no longer reign in my mortal body; I shall not obey it in its lusts. Holy Spirit, help every backslider to return to Jesus and convict every sinner to give their lives to Him.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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