Spiritual Transfer of Righteousness

(Rom 4:24)  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

The “it” of this verse is God’s righteousness.  Abraham found out about God’s righteousness when he chose to believe God in spite of his physical circumstances.  He trusted God’s promise in the face of impossible odds – it was physically impossible for his body and his wife’s body to produce children.  Because he trusted what God said, God credited Abraham’s spiritual account with His righteousness.  This is “imputation.”  Imputation is the placing of God’s righteousness to our account.  When we trust in what God says about the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, He imputes to us His righteousness.  We are no longer spiritually bankrupt.  We’ve been given all the riches and blessings of God in Christ.  We become joint-heirs with Christ Himself.  We possess the righteousness of God.

God chooses to impute righteousness to us on the basis of the finished work on the cross.  The work on the cross is a permanent work.  It produces everlasting results.  Imputation is a permanent transaction totally empowered and completed by God.  We don’t have a heavenly ATM card that permits us to transfer righteousness from God’s account to our account.  We are only responsible for believing what God did to enable the transaction.  Our sin was placed on the Son of God in order for the righteousness of God to be placed on us.

There is no provision to reverse this transaction.  We couldn’t do anything to credit ourselves with His righteousness.  We can’t do anything to remove the effects of it.  Even though we may not act like heirs, it doesn’t erase the fact that we are.  There is no “undo” button to take our sin off of Christ and place it back to our account.  Otherwise, the finished work on the cross would never be finished, would it?  Praise the Lord today that we live with the supernatural transaction of imputed righteousness!

Renewed Thought – I can face the impossible circumstances around me today because God is for me, not against me.  I can face the temptations and oppression in my spirit today because I possess and I am defined by the righteousness of God in Christ.

Nothing Is Too Hard

(Genesis 18:11-13)  “Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?  Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

It was now many years since the original promise of God in Genesis 12.  Over and over again God reaffirmed His plan for the Messiah to come through Abraham’s lineage in his marriage to Sarah.  But over and over again, Sarah pushed back on this promise.  Sarah rejected the idea that she was the chosen mother of the promised child who would eventually become the father of Jacob, eventually renamed “Israel.”  She wanted to choose instead of accepting the choice God had already made.  She wanted to dictate the terms of God’s plan.  Everything she did seemed to say, “I’m not the one God.  Use someone else!”

What is God calling you to do today?  I’ve had times when I pushed back on God’s plan saying, “Not me Lord!”  But who can resist the hand of God?  Maybe you are under the conviction to start a ministry or go to Bible college.  Maybe the desire of your heart is to be a missionary in a far away country.  Maybe you are just called to minister to your own neighbors.  There is great fear to take the step of faith and risk everything.  Like Sarah, you may think you are too old.  It may seem impossible but you have a vision and a passion that won’t go away.  Are you refusing the God who can create the possible out of the impossible?  You may have no human reason to believe.  You may be surrounded by people who are telling you to “let someone else do it.”  You are the one God wants to us to accomplish great things.  Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

Renewed Thought – Believe God.  Trust God.  Watch God do amazing things with your life.

Casting Out The Bondwoman And Her Son – Galatians 4:30-31

(Galatians 4:30-31)  “Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

The bondwoman and her son are Hagar and Ishmael.  They represent the Law and the flesh.  Sarah’s advice to Abraham was:

(Genesis 21:10)  “Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.”

The Galatian believers, as heirs of eternal life, were identified with Isaac the child of promise.  But Jewish teachers put enormous pressure on the Galatians to seek holiness by the Law.  In essence, they were attempting to make a child of promise also become a child of the flesh.  This is an impossible and incompatible proposition.  Paul’s plea to the Galatians was the same as Sarah’s plea to Abraham – “Cast out…”  Everything about bondage and legalism was to be driven out from their presence.

It’s never easy to come to terms with our flesh.  It requires an honesty that makes us uncomfortable.  It requires us to deal with habits formed.  We must recognize our religious self is not our new self in Christ.  Just as Abraham was grieved at Sarah’s words, our religious self will be grieved when we recognize the need to cast out legalism and the flesh.  Our flesh will want to compromise.  It will say, “Just a little legalism can’t hurt, right?”  Just as Abraham plead for Ishmael (Genesis 17:18), we will be tempted to plead for our religious self.  But we cannot be a child of the bondwoman and a child of the freewoman.  If we try to be both at the same time, our Christian lives will be fragmented, never peaceful or unified.

Come to terms with the flesh.  Is your service for the Lord really your flesh acting religious?  Deep down inside you don’t have peace.  You thought your service would earn you blessing and favor with God.  But you aren’t satisfied and you feel as if what you are doing is drudgery.  This is legalism and the flesh operating.  You thought singing in the choir would earn you something special.  You thought becoming a Bible teacher would bring blessing.  You may have become a pastor because you thought it would give you peace and joy.  But now all you feel is pressure to perform.  You feel frustration.  You feel disappointment. You wonder where the blessing is.  You are bound in legalism even though your life has all the appearance of a Christian life.  It is time to come to terms with the source of your service.  It is time to drive out the religious reason for serving.  It is time to find a new source of power and a new motivation for living for the Lord.  It is time to cast out the bondwoman and her son.  That isn’t your heritage.  You are a child of promise, heir of eternal life.  You are free – this is your true spiritual heritage!

Renewed Thought – We cannot please God by manufacturing joy and motivation within ourselves.  Christ must be the source of our joy and motivation first, before we ever attempt to serve Him.