"'Is not My Word like a fire?' says the LORD"
Holy Brethren: This is Part 6 of a study about prayer.
Our last lesson focused on the Apostle Paul’s strong exhortation to the Body of Christ:
Put on the WHOLE armor of God to stand against the wiles of the devil!
The mighty impenetrable breastplate, called righteousness, protects the spirit of man, the new creation in Christ. Righteousness defines who you are and will affect your prayer life. This is the subject of this lesson.
What is it exactly?
Vines dictionary says it is the character or quality of being right or just; it was formerly spelled ‘rightwiseness,’ which clearly expresses its meaning. I like to say it this way: “Because of Jesus' Blood, I have the right to stand before God, my Father, without shame, without guilt, and without condemnation, just as if I had never sinned."
Can righteousness be earned by doing good things for people?
No. Why not? Because it is a spiritual gift. See Romans 5:17.
Jesus acquired it when He became God’s sacrifice for man’s rebellion, which began in the garden with Adam.
Righteousness is part of our salvation package, given to you and to me when we believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was raised from the dead, and we asked Him to be our Savior and Lord. This is the righteousness of faith which results in God’s free gift of life. Read Romans 10:4-13.
It is impossible for man to obtain righteousness by his own deeds.
It is impossible for man to obtain righteousness without Christ Jesus.
We can never buy God’s favor, love and acceptance by our works. It is because of our great love for God that we do good deeds, desiring to serve Him.
Years ago, I saw a true story in the movie theater about a missionary in South America. The man, suffering with pain and exhaustion, carried a large heavy bundle on his back as he slowly climbed to the top of a steep mountain as penance for his sins.
Oh Saints, let’s give thanks to the Lord who suffered and paid the full price for our redemption rights. And thank God that we have the scriptures, and read them, so we know right from wrong and truth from error.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
PUT ON THE NEW MAN
Many people, even after they are saved, continue to identify themselves with the first Adam and the sin nature. This is not correct and a good illustration of the missionary in South America.
Our identity is in Christ Jesus, the second Adam. His birth changed everything. Let’s hear what the Lord says to us today in the year 2014.
“Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
“Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’
“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’” John 3:2-8
“And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 15:45-46
“This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:2-3
What are we saying then about righteousness?
It cannot be earned by your own efforts!
If you are working to achieve the right to stand before God with a list of your accomplishments, it is like wearing a moth-eaten rag before Him. This will affect your armor.
The breastplate is only impenetrable when it is from the Lord, because it is His armor, not yours. Without a breastplate, your spirit man is defenseless and a target for the enemy’s darts.
“… put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:23-24
Who puts on the new man?
How do I put on the new man?
Study and meditate the scriptures located in the epistles written to The Church. This is mainly where the new man’s credentials are located. A list of “Who You Are in Christ” scriptures can also be located on this website. Click on this link: Who You Are Scriptures
You must know who you are in Christ to be able to discern the lies of the devil.
If we follow Jesus and His Word, we have no fear because He has made us more than conquerors through Him. In our last lesson we learned that God’s Word is systemic, but only as it is planted continually in the heart.
JESUS: OUR CHAMPION
The following example from God’s Word shows us how to defeat the devil.
Jesus had heard the Word of truth concerning His identity: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” See Matthew 4:17.
Ah, but someone that is unseen also heard this.
- “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
- “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
- “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’
- “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.’” Matthew 4:2-11
Jesus released the most powerful weapon in all the universe: the Word of God!
Questions: The Strategy of a Thief
Jesus’ experience in the wilderness reminds me of the same trap the devil used on Adam and Eve to take mankind captive. See Genesis 3:1. Notice how the devil used the word “if” to tempt Jesus and also ridicule the integrity of His Father. You’re not the only one the devil hates.
Lies, condemnation, accusations, shame and guilt over past mistakes are all tactics the devil uses against The Church to remove our righteousness. Why? So he can steal the power of our identity in Christ, and thereby have supremacy to steal, kill and destroy.
The Word of Almighty God is always the answer. Your righteousness is a gift that has already been paid for, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” See Hebrews 10:19-23.
PRAY FOR YOUR STATE/NATION:
The Church of Jesus Christ
Copyright © 2013 – 2014 Prayer with Purpose; prayerwithpurpose.org