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Let's get it right about Righteousness (9 of 18)
Series: Simple Faith
Now would be a good time to talk about righteousness. People are often confused by terms like, imputed righteousness, infused righteousness, and other phrases that are meant to identify church beliefs, but often lead to confusion. A lot of this we have discussed in bits and pieces, but some things need to be clarified. Understanding righteousness does matter. How I view my ability to be righteous determines how I live out my faith.
As we observed earlier, God used Abraham as the example of faith and how it affects our righteousness. By God's design, faith was revealed before the law. The reason is made clear throughout the New Testament. God showed how His righteousness is revealed in us before giving the law so that we could understand that righteousness is by faith and not by works. The Bible says that we were saved by grace through faith, and that it is not of ourselves.55
It is the work of God that reaches down and calls man out of sin, and places the righteousness of God within the hearts of those who believe. Righteousness is first accredited to us - or imputed. Then it is produced in our lives by the work of the Holy Spirit. It's important to understand these things because good doctrine is well balanced. To say we are credited with righteousness; therefore, we don't need to live rightly is false. Yet because people only see certain passages without seeing the context, it's easy to draw incorrect assumptions.
It is also false to say that I must do something to become righteous. The Bible must be taken as a whole. Once I was asked who I believed, Paul who said faith is apart from works, or James who said faith is by works? In truth, both Paul and James provide the same teaching, but begin by addressing different audiences. Paul addresses those who seek justification by keeping the law. James begins by addressing an apathetic church who claimed ...
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