God and Righteousness (Part 1)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.  Matthew 6:33

Why did Jesus say, that we all should look for and find God’s righteousness first place. If Jesus expresses this with such strong words, there must be a reason. Actually, there are several.

Just like the kingdom of heaven or God’s area of government is very heavily to be distinguished in this world, so God’s jurisdiction doesn“t correspond to that, what we know from our State laws. God’s righteousness comprises not only the jurisdiction but one can look at it as a system how one can or should live, which violations there are and how these violations will be punished. The Amplified Bible makes the following amplification to the word righteousness to the quoted Bible verse: doing right and being right. If we strive for God’s righteousness it effects our everyday life.

Our different laws in the country regulate the life in the country. Some laws can protect us or others, procure us advantages or show that we did something forbidden. Do we feel constricted through these laws? Actually not, besides one gets in conflict with the law. So, it is also with God and His righteousness. Many people get and got in conflict with God’s laws. Also many Christians have problems with this. Why? Because they don’t know exactly God’s righteousness. These people are in a constraint. Either they know that they violated a law or they feel guilty because they broke a tradition of their surroundings. Jesus came so that we have life and can be free.

Life and freedom are two central concepts with God’s righteousness. Consequently, we can ask with all commandments and laws of God: „Does this commandment/law give life and freedom or death and captivity?“ God had confronted the people Israel with the choice: Life or death, blessing or curse. We have this choice also even today. God had handed over another commentary at that time. Today, it would turn out to be something like: „Therefore if you ask me, rather choose life.“

God’s laws exist in order to give us life and freedom. It would explode the framework of this article to advance more deeply into God’s righteousness. God’s righteousness does not only comprise what to do or should not do, but God prepared also a solution. I would like to explain two points to you.

God had sent Jesus to the earth in order to take on of our sins and sicknesses at the cross. Each human being must claim the substitutional death of Jesus personally for himself/herself. His sins are forgiven it by it and it can have fellowship with God.

After this very essential event, it can occur that one violates God“s commandment. God says, that whoever confesses his/her sins, they are forgiven. In other words, from this time on this sin exists no more with God. Then it should be forgiven and forgotten with us, too.

It is so important that we live in this continuous forgiveness. If we do this, we already comprehend much of God’s righteousness.

This topic is continued with other articles.

© 2008 Das lebendige Wort – www.daslebendigewort.org

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God and Righteousness 2

In order to better understand God’s righteousness we have to go back to the beginning of mankind’s history or say it differently, we look at the genesis in the Bible. God created the earth, the universe and the human being in six days. The human being is called the crown of the creation. God created so many things, but He talked only to Adam. Because the human being, and consequently also Adam, was and is after God’s image, God could communicate with the human being. The first words of God to the people, that were written down, are:

„And God blessed them, and God said to them, „Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.“ (Genesis 1:28)

God created the earth and everything that was on it and then He said to the human being, that He leaves this all to him and that the human being now has the responsibility over the earth and the creation. In order that the human being is not a marionette, God equipped him with a free will. In order that the human being could also choose, there was also the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Concerning that tree God had given Adam quite clear instructions:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, „You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.“ (Genesis 2:16 – 17)

As we know exactly, the day came as Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of this tree, and they had to abandoned the paradise. The devil in the form of a snake persuaded Eve to eat of this fruit. Eve caused Adam to eat of the fruit. As soon as this had happened, God spoke these prophetic words:

The LORD God said to the serpent, „Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.“ To the woman he said, „I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.“ And to Adam he said, „Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.“ (Genesis 3:14-19)

From this occurrence, we can gain much knowledge about God’s righteousness.

God could have said to himself that His project „earth“ failed. However He didn’t do it and He could not do it either. There were different reasons.

As I already said, the human being has a free will. This free will was not tied to any conditions. God did not say: „As long as you make like it fit to me as long as I guarantee you the free will. Otherwise, I must disregard you.“ God respects the will of each human being, whatever it is. He can get involved only in people, who voluntarily want this relationship.

God transferred the people the full responsibility over the earth and the creation. Consequently, we are responsible for the present-day condition of the earth. God stands by His word, and something He says He doesn’t take back. Adam and Eve crossed God’s plan. God could simply not wipe out the human race, destroy the earth and begin all over again. It was no more in His power to do this. He had to create a solution for this problem with the people and through the people. He was totally dependent on the people. Therefore, the human being Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for our sins many years later.

God had prohibited the human being to eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Simultaneously, He also said, that it will have consequences if this prohibition is violated. The consequence is the death. Actually, the Hebrew original speaks of several deaths. Adam and Eve didn’t die immediately. Through the violation, they died a spiritual death, the separation from God. Only later, the physical death happened.

As Adam, Eve and the snake were expelled from the paradise, God spoke to each one individually. He placed for each of them a guideline for the future. He had to do this in order to start rolling His plan of redemption.

To be continued. 

Did you miss part 1?

© 2008 Das lebendige Wort – www.daslebendigewort.org

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God and Righteousness 3

As already described in another article of this series „God and Righteousness“, God had obliged himself to work on this earth with and through the people. Everything God wants to do in this world, must happen through people or the people must give God the approval to it. On this background, we can answer the well known question: „Why does God allow this to happen? Many problems and miseries are made by people. Therefore it lies also in the responsibility of the human being that these problems and miseries are solved by people. The church does good at knowing that each faithful Christian has an authority given by God. Many Christians live in ignorance. I belonged to those people for many years, too.

God’s Righteousness seen through covenants

In order that God’s will comes to pass on this earth, God makes covenants with individual people or human groups. Often, through a covenant authority and responsibility will be transferred. It is good to know that this authority and responsibility comes from God. However, He doesn’t leave us alone with it, but He stands behind the covenant and makes available the necessary equipment.

Over the whole Bible we find different covenants, that God did. These are:

  • Covenant of Eden (Genesis 2:16)
  • Covenant with Adam (Genesis 3:15)
  • Covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:16)
  • Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:2)
  • Covenant with Moses (Exodus 19:5)
  • Covenant in Palestine (Deut. 30:3)
  • Covenant with David (2 Sam 7:16)
  • the new Covenant (Hebr. 8:8)

What is a covenant?

A covenant in the present-day understanding would be a contract or a pact. Of course, a covenant is a stronger agreement than a contract. In contrast to a contract, the covenant cannot be dissolved. It can even be that the covenant has its validity beyond the death of a covenantor. Over the centuries, such covenants were entered. The blood brothers with the North American Native Americans should be known. As sign of the covenant the wrists were cut with a knife, so that blood could flow, and then, the wrists of the two covenant partners were brought together so that the blood could mingle.

Why was a covenant entered?

You can mainly name three reasons:

  1. there is an enemy
  2. making of businesses
  3. love (for example marriage, Jonathan and David)

A particular characteristic of an association is that each party puts in his strengths to the welfare of the opposing side. Consequently, the partner helps also with the weaknesses of the opposing side.

What I wrote about the covenant, is also correct equivalently, when God makes a covenant with us. The God of the Bible is a God of the Righteousness. Therefore He must stick to His word and heeds His set up rules. From God’s view, we are such an opposing side. In order that we and God can work together, mutual agreements and consents are needed. When we see it like this our whole life with God is on a legal bases. One could look at the Bible as a legal document, in which the cohabitation with God is regulated. (Actually there are Christians, who cling to the letter on that occasion. This is not what I meant, but we should get started with the realization of the commandments and laws together with the Holy Spirit). We call God sovereign and also mean by it, that He can always do what seems exactly well for Him. Therefore many Christians also think that we can never be sure what God’s will is. But that is not true. God must stick to His word that was written down in the Bible. What He does and says today, must agree with the Bible. If we recognize this and deal accordingly, our life becomes considerable simpler with God, because the big insecurity about God’s will is removed.

Did you miss part 1 and/or part 2 of this series?

© 2008 Das lebendige Wort – www.daslebendigewort.org

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