I am made righteous

I Have Been Made Righteous: A Joint Post

He presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:26 HCSB

From Susan:

Decisions are horribly hard for me. The bigger and more life-impacting they are, the more I wrangle with myself about them.  I weigh both options endlessly, exhausting myself.  Why?  Because I want to do the right thing.  When the right decision is obvious, I don’t struggle. But so many times, it’s not obvious.  Should I seek a job?  Or not?  Should I pursue this job … or that one?  Get involved in that ministry, or focus on the other one? Move here or there?  What is right?

I faced such a decision last week. And as I sat in my brown leather arm chair, worrying if I was doing the right thing, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart: You are already righteous.  I made you righteous.

It stunned me a little. Here I was, weighing several options about how to move forward, tying myself in knots over them, letting guilt jerk the knot tighter, trying to figure out what was right – and the answer was before me the whole time.  I could not find righteousness in a particular course of action or in the “right” decision, because I myself could never be “right” on my own.  Ever.

Even though I was/am decidedly a mess, Jesus declared me righteous. He gave me His righteousness the moment I chose to believe he’d died for me and rose again.  He gave righteousness to me, because I could never achieve it on my own.

And in that moment, sitting my armchair, it was such a relief. It freed me to make a decision without guilt.

How does Jesus’ declaration that you are righteous free you?

From Jen:

I’m a perfectionist on a lot of things. I hate it when I’m wrong. I hate it when I fail to do something correctly. I hate it when my house isn’t clean. Some call me type A. I’m not—not really. I’m type Pharisee. I like to know the rules so that I can present myself as a good girl. For people like me, failure in one aspect of life is failure in all aspects of life, and that is devastating.

I think, at the heart of this, is pride. But also there is a deep desire to be acceptable.

We recently walked through Jesus’s illustrations of new patches on old garments and old wineskins filled with new wine. To be honest, going into it, I didn’t really get His parable. I thought, Jesus, you’re going to have to explain this one to me if you want me to teach it to the kids, ‘cause I’m out wandering in the pasture on this one. You know what? He did. Isn’t that like Him?

Pharisee types like to patch up their own holes, even if it means ignoring the fact that a brand-spankin’ new patch won’t fix and old, torn garment. They like to use what they got and fill it to the brim to make it look like it’s the real thing, even if it means ruining the good stuff to keep up appearances. Pharisees use the patch-up method of good works to gain approval.

But patched-up messes aren’t the same thing as righteous people.

Declared righteous means I don’t have to do the mending anymore. Good thing too, because I can’t patch up my old, broken heart. Underneath all the outward goodness, there’s still a broken heart inside. But God, in His tender mercy, has generously given me something so much better. He has given me a new heart and has declared me righteous because of His son.

So now, instead of being held captive by my Pharisee tendencies, I am free. Because I am declared righteous, I am accepted and approved. My heart beats whole and I am free to offer Him the works of love and sacrifice of praise that I couldn’t give before.

I am God's Daughter

I am God’s Daughter: A Joint Post

All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ – seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:14-17 HCSB

From Susan

Math was a complete mystery to me as a kid. A=Bx3/2.64? Huh? My dad was a brilliant electrical engineer. While I did not inherit is math prowess, I had something better – the man himself. He would return from a full day of work and forego the comfort of his armchair to sit at the kitchen table and tutor me. And when I wept in frustration? He comforted, and not just about math. I cried on my father about boyfriends, social slights, which college to choose and which jobs to take. In every case, he was patient and gave me sound advice. When I got my driver’s license and promptly wrecked the car, the first person I wanted to call was Daddy, because I was completely confident I’d find not fury but compassion.

Now contrast that with the picture of a slave. Her master gives her tasks and rules, not for her own benefit, but for her master’s. And she does them trembling, knowing that if she does not, the whip awaits.

These verses tell me I am God’s daughter, not His slave. He wants me to know that, deep in my bones, my spirit testifying with the Holy Spirit. When I make a wreck of something in my life, I can have complete confidence that if I take it God, I’ll find compassion and not fury. I can be assured that the tasks and rules God has given me are for my own good, not simply for His comfort and pleasure. God is my patient tutor, helping me “grow up” to be more like him, even while I cry about it. God is my Daddy. I am his daughter. What does that mean to you?

From Jen

Quite a contradiction, isn’t it? This post about being a daughter, not a slave on a blog entitled “the free slave.”

It seems that our God has a thing for contradictions, though. Three in One? The least shall be the greatest? The virgin birth? The King of the universe put to death on the cross?

And the free slave. Daughter of that risen King. Indeed, what does this mean?

To me, it means I kneel before Him, taking the humble position of a slave, and He lifts me up, graciously calling me ‘beloved.’ It means that I am no longer afraid of the wrath that abides on sinners, because he has adopted me and given me a spirit that cries to him ‘Daddy!’

Like Susan, I have a close relationship with my earthly dad. He’s been my hero since he taught me how to play catch—so long ago I can’t remember how old I was. When I was lost, my daddy came to find me. When I was in trouble, I knew I could go to him. When I was on the verge of making a bad decision, he faithfully pointed out the better path. I now tell my daughters “there wasn’t any way I would have married your daddy if mine hadn’t approved.” He was and is still that important.

Some, however, don’t share this connection with their dads. It’s hard to relate to a good Heavenly Father when the earthly one wasn’t much to look up to. But this word in Romans—this ‘abba’—it is the name for God the Father that we see Jesus using in his most soul-wrenching prayer. In that scene we at once see the love of the Son for His father, His trust, and His submission.

Love. Trust. Submission.  All because I get to call God “Abba.” Daddy.