Yesterday we began to look at true righteousness and holiness. Here is the passage that we quoted; Eph 4:22-24 “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, (23) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (24) and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Notice the phrase true righteousness and holiness. In order for Paul to speak of true righteousness and holiness... he must have been aware of false righteousness and holiness.
True righteousness is the righteousness of God or, more accurately stated, it is imputed or accredited righteousness. One of the interpretative rules for understanding the scripture is called the rule of first mention. This rule is especially instructive with the term righteousness. The first mention of the word righteousness in the bible is found in Gen 15:6 “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Here we see that God accredits, accounts, imputes righteousness to people who believe what he tells them. God made a promise to Abraham. Abraham believed God’s promise. God then, accredited righteousness to Abraham based upon his faith in God. Imputed righteousness is very important in true transformation and true holiness. Imputed righteousness is the foundation of our trust in God.
Paul said this about Israel; Rom 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. (2) For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Israel was ignorant of the way God declared Abraham righteous. Being ignorant of God’s righteousness is in reality, not understanding imputed righteousness. Seeking to establish ones own righteousness is practicing self righteousness. I could say what Paul said about his fellow Jews today about most of evangelical Christianity. I wish that they could be saved; I wish they could rest in God’s righteousness... His righteous provision. I wish that they would rest in the righteousness of God. If they would trust in imputed righteousness it would make them truly love God with an incredible, indescribable love. This love would then be spread abroad to others. Any obedience, any good works, any brotherly love would be the result of spiritual transformation brought about by believing in God’s love. The saint, resting in imputed righteousness is set free, given peace that translates into love works that are the result of faith.
It is not that God does not desire transformation in his children. He most definitely does and, he has provided for that transformation in the gospel. One must believe the gospel no matter what.... no matter what one sees in fleshly behavior on any given day or at any give period of time. Transformation is a process that *will* happen over time if faith in the gospel remains all the time. Resting in and trusting in imputed righteousness is the foundation of transformation. If the world needs to see anything in these times it is the love of Jesus being manifested in transformed saints that exhibit true righteousness and holiness.