Here's a litmus test ...
"We that receive the message of grace love to believe we are not self-righteous in any area. "Praise God I go to a grace church and I believe I am the righteousness of God that is in Christ Jesus! There is NO self-righteousness in me! No filthy menstrual cloths over my head!". Oh yere? You want to look me in the eye and tell me there is NO area in your life that you are not self-righteous in? Come on. Anyone want to do that today? Let's find out who has got self-righteous areas in our lives. I believe deeply at many levels that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus even when I have messed up and made a mistake - I am still the righteousness of God. It is a permament standing in Christ. Do I have any self-righteous areas in my life? Unfortunately - yes. Where? Not telling you!
Here is the litmus test - this is how you know which area you have self-righteousness in. Any area in your life where you have worry, anxiety frequently - that is an area where you are living in self-righteousness. Let me say that again. The pagans and heathens - most of these precious Hong Kong and expat people - 99% of people in this city take thought and worry. How do you know that someone is a heathen and self-righteous? Worry. Anxiety. What shall we wear? What's my image? How will I pay the bills? He said; "Take no thought!".
Any area you have anxiety or worry in - you are being self-righteous because in that area you do not believe you are the righteousness of God. Those who believe I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus have such a secure self-image and a trust in this Good Shepherd that they are not going to worry about going down".
Now lest anyone is getting twitchy and thinking Rob is being condemning - he isn't! I cannot recommend this sermon highly enough to you - "The Good Shepherd". Read it or listen to it - I don't care which. But I sat there at work last night typing with tears pouring down my face. Because it's just .... so .... easy! We are sheep! And we can put every ounce of all our trust in the Good Shepherd for EVERY area of our lives! My big problem is money, finances and debt. I was stupid with money in the past and am paying the price for it now - big time. And I frequently worry now that I am going to make it to the end of the month and pay day. And in our flat the 3 of us frequently joke that if we won the Lottery all our worries would be over.
Rubbish. Our worries will only be over when I get this revelation into my head.
But THIS Good Shepherd leads me beside restful waters, and takes me to fresh, new, green anointing, and leads me in paths of ever-unveiling revelation of His gift of righteousness to me and restores my soul - and all this for HIS glory! What rest! What peace! He even commented on the all-too frequent striving after "holiness" and "righteousness" that so much of the Church indulge in - involving them in getting up at stupid times in the morning, going without food for stupid amounts of the day, feeling bad and guilty for stupid lengths of time - all to no avail;
"The new anointing of the New Covenant is different to the old anointing of the Old Covenant. The old anointing reminds you of your sins. The New Covenant reminds you that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! The Old Covenant anointing reminds you of everything that is wrong with you. The New Covenant anointing reminds you of how perfectly right you are with God all the time because it is in Christ Jesus! The Old Covenant says "I will not remove the iniquity of the guilty" and imputes your sin to you. The New Covenant does not ever impute your sin to you but it is declared; "Your sins He will never remember!".
He leads me in pathways of ever increasing revelation that I have the righteousness of God as a free gift! For Romans 9 and 10:1-4 says Israel sought after righteousness according to the principle of the law and never gained righteousness. The Gentiles who did not seek righteousness obtained righteousness and then in Romans 10:2-3 says that Israel was zealous but their zeal was without knowledge and they did not submit to the gift of God's righteousness but sought to establish their own righteousness but those who look to Him will never be put to shame! WE have the righteousness of God and this Good Shepherd will keep leading you in that pathway of understanding the righteousness of God!".