Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why I Drove Home Smiling on a Freezing Wednesday Morning!!

I should explain a little bit about depression - anyone who has suffered from it will know that one of the manifestations are that basic, every-day events become unusually difficult to cope with and deal with. For me these past few months - for some reason - those basic, every-day events have been the arrival of the post and telephone calls. I know that sounds odd! But it was mainly thanks to the constant stream of letters arriving from Acorns Children's hospice trying to persuade me to come back to work and then launching various "disciplinary" procedures for various reasons. Each letter was recorded delivery so it became rather standard to wake up each morning to the postman ringing insistantly because the letter had to be delivered by 09:00! When I was advised to stop accepting the letters they then started ringing - hence the paranoia.

So with that in mind - I drove to work last night and began listening to Rob's second sermon in the wonderful series; "Established in Righteousness" that he preached on the 11th January 2009. And he said this;

"Having a receptive attitude means living with a confident expectation of good coming into your life. Every day I have got to discipline my mind to stop the negativity, the foreboding, the sense of dread, the sense of this coud happen or that terrible thing could happen - I have GOT to live with a spirit of receptivity, a confident expectation of God that I have come into fulness of grace and from that fulness of grace I AM receiving one blessing after another!".

I just couldn't stop laughing as I felt so loved by God through His Holy Spirit! I have lived in dread for the last few months - fearing the postman or fearing a phone call. Even this week after having two court summons served on me (one is for an error of payment made by my previous employer - who then failed to update my new address - and the other from an overly zealous council who are demanding the rest of the year's council tax!) - the truth of God's word just brought such joy!

Rob quoted Proverbs 10:6;

"Blessings are on the head of the righteous".

I think traditionally (like most of the other verses in the Bible I have wrongly interpreted through my mix of law and grace lense) I always thought that "righteous" meant someone strong in good works who serves God well - that is the person God will bless. And looking at my past few months - a legalist might conclude that I am clearly NOT righteous! Interestingly enough I noted that even famous commentator Matthew Henry wrote of Proverbs 10:6; "Those who are fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, are likely to be rich in faith, and rich in good works". Doesn't sound very full of faith and sure of his interpretation does he?

Rob on the other hand reminded us so clearly that having received the imputed gift of Jesus Christ's righteousness - that promise applies to US! That blessings "crown our heads!". That there is nothing we can EVER do to earn the blessing that the Father is about to pour out on us - should we just accept that He is waiting to pour it out BECAUSE He loves us so passionately! No other reason! Nothing we have done or will do or are doing! Just because! And the reason I was confusing so many commuters by driving along smiling like an idiot on a horrid frosty morning is because I think, I THINK that the penny is starting to drop!

I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ and just as by the disobedience of one man - Adam - I was condemned to judgement so by the OBEDIENCE of the one Man - Jesus Christ - I am saved, justified, declared righteous FOREVER, glorified, seated and reigning as a co-heir in heavenly places! Now THAT'S the best news you can get to start the day off!

24 comments:

lydia joy said...

Cute photo, very cute!!

Dan, I too am enjoying this series Rob is in. I love how he explains what faith is. Faith is believing that God is good all the time, that He wants to bless us, that He loves us fully and accepts us, that He sees us a perfect..........do we believe this? We have been given such a powerful position and inheritance in Him! We are indeed righteous - He said it, not me! So when we see the Scriptures about the righteous, that's us!!
And may I clarify, that we have been imparted a gift of righteousness, not imputed - those under the law in the old covenant, had imputed righteousness everytime they offered sacrifices for their sins. We have had the gift imparted, it is permanent, it's how God sees us, because of Jesus one time sacrifice that was pleasing to God!! We are not just declared righteous, we are given His righteousness, we have the very life of the Jesus within us - we are indeed the righteousness of God in Christ - !!

jul said...

Dan, what if God was more interested in you being holy than happy? lol, as if there were a difference!

Lydia, I think you might be mixing up impute and impart, however, I personally believe that we get both. Imputing is transfer type deal, we are just give righteousness, from Jesus (means to assign as a characteristic, credit). Imparting is like him sharing his righteousness with us (it means to transmit knowledge or skills, to bestow upon or grant a share of). The reason I believe we are also imparted righteousness, and I think Rob said clearly in a message a while back that we are not imparted righteousness, is that we have the Spirit living in us and he is the source of any good works/manifiestations of righteousness. We are declared righteous, given righteousness as a gift, regenerated and living out in light of our righteousness which is his righteousness. The legalists are all hung up on the second part but they don't get the first part which is a recipe for disaster. But now that I'm confident in the first, I can acknowledge the second...finally!

But I'm only acknowledging that God is transforming me by the renewing of my mind, my part. as in justification, is believing the truth he reveals to me. So sanctification while is has been done is still happening (i.e. he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy). Some have called this the 'already and the not yet' but I think it's the already and the now! We do know that the main issue with being made holy is NOT our sin, because Jesus dealt with our sin already (and in thessalonians it say when he returns it will not be to deal with sin but death, to give us our immortal bodies).

No the issue of being made holy is growing in faith, of learning to fix our eyes on Jesus and Jesus alone. As we do that we will run the race and easily throw off entanglements.

OK ok, what's wrong with me? Why am I babbling on and on? Sorry Dan! Hahaha, too much sugar for breakfast!

lydia joy said...

Julie, funny I was just coming back to clarify that I think indeed we do get both imputed and imparted righteousness, but you beat me to it! I was too hasty in my response...but I just felt it is important to see that God declared it so, that we are righteous but He also imparted us the gift through giving us the very life of Jesus Himself as our new nature!! I just thought it was important to see the permanancy of it and the "betterness" of having both, because in the old covenant under the law, they didn't get both......

okay sugar high girl, can you just clarify one sentence for me that you wrote......."The reason I believe we are also imparted righteousness, and I think Rob said clearly in a message a while back that we are not imparted righteousness, is that we have the Spirit living in us and he is the source of any good works/manifiestations of righteousness"

I think I am following you, but partly I am not...........maybe I need some more sugar!

jul said...

Ha~! Lydia, I just came back to say I'm not sure I believe what I wrote! If Rob was differentiating between being imparted in the Old Covenant and being imputed in the New, then I agree with him. I guess the imparting thing seemed more temporary, it was giving us a little peice until a time when our whole being would be utterly transformed. In the Old they had a share of righteousness, but in the New we ARE righteous, a big difference.

I guess my point was that it's obvious that those of us who ARE righteous will manifest righteouness more and more in our lives as we mature in our faith. If you have a believer not manifesting much righteousness my concern is not to deal with their sin but to make sure they know their sin has been already dealt with!

anyway, thoughts have been on 'sanctification' lately, wonder why. Ryan's book will be out soon though, should be good!

lydia joy said...

Julie, this is cracking me up.....I think we have different ideas of what impute and impart mean.......impute is to credit or attribute, impart is to bestow, to pass on, to transmit. Okay, now that that is cleared up, I guess I thought it was imputed in the old, and imparted in teh new through Christ's union with us, what do you think, not trying to be nitpicky here ............yes, I can't wait to read Ryan's book!!

lydia joy said...

Oops duh, you already defined them........we are quite the interesting duo this morning!!

Dan Bowen said...

Hmmm fascinating discussion - thanks girls!! I must confess I hadn't really seized on the difference between "imputed" and "imparted". But I am really glad you flogged it all out while I was sleeping!! Sooo ... should I be adjusting the post or not!?

lydia joy said...

Dan,
I still don't think we have total clarity. My thoughts were based on the fact that in the old covenant, when the people brought their offering of an unblemished lamb to the priest, and they laid their hands on the lamb, their sin was transferred to the lamb and they had to keep doing this again and again to get cleared of their sin for a time, it was never completely taken away.
Now, I am realizing I may have been confused earlier.....bear with me. In the New Covenant, Jesus became our sacrificial perfect lamb and our sins were imputed to Him permanently and His righteousness was imputed to us permanently! So they had temporary imputed righteousness, we have permanent - ! Okay so that is my first clarification, as I see it, but I am willing to be wrong...
But that leads me to wonder what is imparted righteousness - hasn't Jesus imparted us His very life, His very spirit, or bestowed upon, transmitted to, passed on to us! Am I making any sense? We have both imputed and imparted righteousness. In the old covenant, they only had temporary imputed righteousness,in the New Covenant we have both completely eternal imputed righteousness and imparted righteousness!!
But Julie is saying they only had imparted righteousness in the old covenant, so maybe I am missing the meaning of imparted altogether....but for some reason the way I see it is we have been imparted new life - but again, maybe I am misunderstanding what imparted really means? Julie sees imparted as temporary..........so what are your thoughts Dan? I am seriously willing to be wrong here......I just might need further thoughts to help me see it!!

lydia joy said...

Ultimately I agree with Julie, I just am confused about the meanings of the words, impart/impute........sheesh!! Glad I don't need to have natural intelligence or be a scholar to have faith in Jesus and have all the wonderful benefits of the cross given to me!!

Dan Bowen said...

Okay let's get back to a few dictionary definitions because my head is spinning (I've only had one cup of earl grey tea!!);

im·pute

1. To relate to a particular cause or source; attribute the fault or responsibility to:

2. To assign as a characteristic; credit

im·part

1 : to give, convey, or grant from or as if from a store

2 : to communicate the knowledge of

So I think there is a degree to which both terms can apply to the wonderful gospel of grace. But "impute" seems to be the major term here. You mention the Old Covenant sacrifices Lydia - and that is the type by which we understand what happened at Calvary.

On the Cross, God the Father laid His hand on the sacrificial Lamb and "attribute the fault or responsibility to" Jesus Christ!

So from that definition Jesus Christ hung at Calvary and TOTALLY and 100% took the responsibility for ALL our sins EVER committed! Sin was "imputed" to Him. There was nothing He could do to avoid the wrath and punishment of the Father falling on Him.

Now just so there is nothing we can do to avoid grace and blessing and love falling on us because we are in Him and have His perfect righteousness ... yes, imputed ("To assign as a characteristic") AND imparted ("to give, convey, or grant from or as if from a store") BECAUSE of the obedience of the One Man Jesus Christ!

Does that make it any clearer?

lydia joy said...

Sorry you had to wake up to my confusion......I went back to my dictionary and then to the thesaurus and to Vine's Expository and I now have more clarity on the meanings of the two words. So forgive me please for mixing it all up!

jul said...

So here's a question: If we have righteousness imputed to us, do we need it to be also imparted? Or does being righteous trump having impartations of righteousness?

Or or or, maybe we are first imputed righteousness then the Spirit works to impart to us the knowledge of that righteousness???

Dan, I hope you are now on your second or third cup of tea haha!

jul said...

Ok , that was more than 'a' question...

joyfullydia said...

Julie, hearing it said like that helps my slow and dull mind grasp it better...........! Both matter, we need to hear God say it, because His word is true, since He declares us righteous, we can't argue with that! But we need to see that it has been imputed to us also. We need after having righteousness imputed to us the Spirit imparting the knowledge of our already complete gift of righteousness - thankfully, He convicts us of our righteousness and we "reknew" our minds with this truth, ............I won't bother to explain to you how I came to my prior confusion of impart/impute, but regardless, I have enjoyed this discussion............

Dan Bowen said...

"If we have righteousness imputed to us, do we need it to be also imparted? Or does being righteous trump having impartations of righteousness?"

I don't think it's two seperate events - I think it's one flood of glory!! When that moment of justification occurs - "God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon ME" - when that moment occurs, I think (and I am open to correction) but His glorious righteousness is both imputed and imparted to us.

I don't know - does it really matter? As long as we get it and we've GOT it - it's ours!!

lydia joy said...

"Does it really matter!!"

Haha, all this ridiculous clarifying.......You are right Dan, we have already been given the WHOLE deal - Jesus Himself, He is our very life, our spirit is one with His!! Yahoo!!! No more old man, new natures fully of righteousness, joy, peace, power!!

LRH said...

Just out of interest....

http://www.ccel.org/node/4123/18197

I. The doctrine of "imputed righteousness" teaches that God graciously charges to the account of believers in Christ the righteousness wrought by Christ. It is at length expounded in Romans 3:21-4:25. Here we are taught that the righteousness wrought by Christ during the days of His incarnation is imputed to, or charged to the account of, believers by God in justification. The justified acknowledge Christ to be not only "Jehovah Our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6) – but also their only righteousness (Psalm 71:16). And they pray to be "found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith" (Philippians 3:9).

It may aid one in understanding this doctrine if he will ever bear in mind that in justification righteousness is imputed, not imparted. And justification does not make one righteous, but merely declares him to be so. And the imputation of righteousness does not change one inwardly and subjectively, this being the work of sanctification, not justification.

II. The doctrine of "imparted righteousness" teaches that God bestows righteousness to believers. Some theologians use the term imparted righteousness to identify the righteous nature imparted by God to believers when He regenerates them. They thereby become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). This "divine nature" (not God's essential nature) is the new one placed in men in regeneration, and which is ever in conflict with the old Adamic nature. It is the "seed" of God placed in man which "cannot sin" (1 John 3:9).

III. The doctrine of "infused righteousness" teaches that God justifies in accord with a righteousness merited by Christ instilled into the believer and maintained by good works. This doctrine, especially prominent in the Roman Catholic Church, accords with its doctrine of justification by works. It posits the believer receives both imputed and infused righteousness, the latter becoming his inherent righteousness, and one is justified on the basis of what he personally does with it.

joyfullydia said...

Just curious, is #2 in the above comment suggesting I have 2 natures, a divine one and an old Adamic one?

Dan Bowen said...

"And justification does not make one righteous, but merely declares him to be so".

That's some interesting points LRH - thanks. However I think considering the fact that it is God Almighty making the declaration that I am righteous - that seems to me to be a more powerful, more glorious and more potentially life-changing state than if I am righteous by my own works. I'll go with the declaration and believe that declaration will begin to work itself out in my life by making me righteous!

Correct me if I have misunderstood that.

LRH said...

Dan

'I'll go with the declaration and believe that declaration will begin to work itself out in my life by making me righteous!' - I agree wholeheartedly with that! Could the outworking of believing this declaration be termed 'sanctification'?

joyfullylydia

the definition above does seem to be suggesting 2 natures - though I only posted it for reference in this discussion - I agree that we are new creations with a singular transformed nature, not some kind of schizoid-christian!

lydia joy said...

LRH ~ so glad you clarified! I was a little upset by that part :)

LRH said...

Sorry guys!

BTW I'm a long time reader of your blogs and have been a bit rude in gate crashing this thread with no introduction! I may have commented once ages ago... but anyway hello to you all! I'm on a journey of discovery about grace, righteousness and God's unchanging love and have benefitted greatly from what I read on your collective blogs. Slowly letting the truth seep into my spirit... the bit by bit revelation God is bringing me has been so exciting!

lydia joy said...

LRH ~ No worries, you were not rude at all!! It is great to meet you and to know you are on a journey into grace, into Jesus loving arms!! Hope to see you around more!!

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

I loved John Steven's comment which I then put up as a post.

Even the act of talking about this stuff gets a bit clinical...but we have to do this to make sure we've really got it. Or like good wine, it's a bit like slooshing it around the mouth to make sure we've got all the hidden bits.

All i know is this that once we've heard the voice of God on something...in this case righteousness....it really is similar to Genesis chapter 1...Let there be light...or let there be whatever!!! In other words you know it's as good as done. It's on its way. Our believing it acts like an incubating chamber...or a womb...but it is the very Power of God that works this stuff in us. It's cool how faith works. It might be a bit mysterious but it's real.