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Righteousness and Holiness
by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of February 23, 2014
"Put on your new nature, created to be like God--truly righteous and holy." -Ephesians 4:24
By the grace of God and our faith in Christ, we are made righteous. And God’s righteousness—His faithfulness and truth—in our lives is our source of strength (Is. 51:7-9).
Holiness – Doing What’s Right
Doing what God has deemed righteous (the right thing, according to His judicious will) is our act of holiness. Yielding our will to God’s to manifest heaven on earth, according to His plan, is tremendously character building. And we are tested in the journey.
For years, one of my dear friends has done right by her aging, ailing mother. She cares for her diligently. My friend enlists people to pray for her and her mother regularly. She has cared for her mother’s needs after having seen her mother raised from the brink of death multiple times. She now spoon feeds her mother. She cleans her body. She takes her to church. She oversees her medical needs, even though she does not have legal guardianship. My friend monitors her mother’s care when she is at work in her day job. And no matter how resistant my friend’s relatives have been, my friend remains devoted to her mother and keeps her faith that God is not finished with her mom yet. She has seen miracles—both big and small—God’s hand steering the course of her mother’s life by His grace.
He Show Us His Grace
2 Timothy 1:9 tells us that "For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time—to show us His grace through Christ Jesus."
My friend has seen God’s grace show up for her and her mother countless times.
No doubt, my friend’s journey has been character-building for her. She has had to find patience in the longsuffering, not knowing how much longer she and her mother must endure. She has had to forgive family members who called in hospice to pull nutrition and hydration from her mother’s bedside table more than once. She has sat up with her mother in and out of hospitals. She has brought her mother home to care for her all by herself. She has gone to visit her at nursing homes. She has honored her mother when no one else would. She has done the right thing over and over again. She has done what Jesus would do. And her persistence inspires me to not give up in my own race of faithful endurance.
Establishing Trust in Him
Receiving our salvation through Jesus Christ is the beginning of a Christ-like life. The journey of holiness is one of the sanctification of our mind, will and emotions according to God’s will. To live out our Christ-likeness on earth, we must yield to Him. And we cannot yield if we don’t know Him. It is in these challenging times that we see God’s grace prove sufficient to us, His faithfulness and truth (righteousness) made manifest in our lives, restoring our mind, will and emotions to His foundation and establishing trust in Him.
Robe of Righteousness | Garment of Salvation
With Jesus, we can wear a robe of righteousness over our gown of salvation. In this way, God has allowed us to don His nature that we can sink into. Isaiah 61:10 tells us, “I am overwhelmed with joy in The Lord my God! For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.”
Awakening & Abiding
My friend knows that apart from God, she can do nothing. She is dependent upon His grace for everything she and her mother needs. God’s truth is that we all are. My friend has simply become more awakened to this truth. She is changed by it. God has used it to develop her character to be more like His. God has taken her deeper into her faith and knowing Him more intimately with each day. She knows that God is literally her and her mother’s lifeline.
What About You?
What race of faithful endurance are you running? What is happening in your life that provokes desperation in you? To whom or for what you do reach? How is God sanctifying you in the race? How have you seen God show up for you in your circumstances?
Always remember, "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8), and “God is able to raise people even from the dead..." (Heb. 11:19). The same dynamite-like power that raised Jesus from the dead resides in you. Nothing is too big for God. In His righteousness there is strength.