Links Daily Devotional

Links Daily Devotional editor Jeff Hopper talks with Links Players president Jeffrey Cranford about the light of Christ that is his righteousness in us.

A Bible study for today’s devotion is available for printout as a pdf file. Click here.

Threads of Righteousness, Lesson 5

…that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe, as you hold out the word of life… (Philippians 2:15-16, NIV)

I recently played two excellent golf courses, both of which featured large, undulating greens. Because many putts would change tiers, you had to be adept at reading the greens at both levels. What will this putt do down here? Then what will it do when it goes over the rise?

The Bible can sometimes require similar reading. The same word can represent more than one meaning. Indeed, our topic at hand—righteousness—exists in Scripture on more than one level. Those who are saved in Christ are done so by the righteousness of Christ. Only his righteousness counts before the judgment of a perfect God. We must cling to that righteousness if we are to enter eternity with Christ.

However, the Scriptures also speak of various people being righteous in the way they lived their lives. Abel, Job, Noah, Asa, Simeon, Joseph of Arimathea, and Cornelius the centurion are among those deemed “righteous” or “upright.”

Even an imperfect measure of righteousness, then, can be noteworthy, standing out against “a crooked and depraved generation.”

For followers of Christ, this righteousness is made increasingly possible as Jesus himself establishes his reign in our hearts. This is done through a combination of our surrender to his lordship and his desire that we would reflect who he is. To surrender is to forsake those affections and sins that establish themselves in opposition to a life of worship and obedience. These are normally remnants of the life we lived before we gave ourselves over to Jesus. It is “only natural” that he should want to replace them, but his work is quite often supernatural in its enactment. God works in us as only God can!

Contrasted against the sinful nature is life in the Spirit. Paul wrote specifically of this separation in Romans 8 and Galatians 5. We cannot ignore the difference, thinking there is a “soft righteousness” toward which we give a reasonable effort while God forgives all else. Yes, our effort is important (2 Peter 1:5). And yes, God forgives our transgressions (1 John 1:9). But we don’t honor Christ by coasting along. There is work to be done, evidence to be given of the word of life that dwells in us and trains us in righteousness. Let’s take up that work!

Jeff Hopper
October 3, 2014
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