Last week we began a new series brought to us by our guest speaker Barry Bennett. It certainly blessed the folk in our Upstream Home Churches around the world. And we trust our readers were also blessed. This week Barry shares how important A Righteous Heart is, how to receive it and what the benefits are.
We've already discussed how many Christians today are still living in fear, despite being born again, filled with the Holy Spirit and having access to the Living Word of God. We discussed the importance of being established, rooted and grounded on a firm foundation. Let's talk about being Established in Righteousness.
If righteousness is just a religious, theological concept to you then it's time to go deeper. You see, righteousness is key to being established which leads to freedom from fear and many other great benefits. But righteousness, in many religious circles, become something that we strive for and achieve by good behaviour. That's not true! Let's have a look at the Word.
Romans 5:17 says; For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
Righteousness is a gift. You can't earn it, you can't buy it, you don't deserve it! But you can receive it. And, if you understand how to receive that gift by faith, you begin to reign in life and become the victor, not the victim.
Barry writes, "I was afraid when I was younger. I had an inferiority complex, I worried a lot, I was terrified of public speaking, and yet today, all that is gone and speaking to thousands of people live in the room and potentially millions online is an abolsutely joy in my life. How? What happened? I got a revelation of righteousness in my life. 2 Corinthians 5:21 came alive to me when I was at my lowest point."
2 Corinthians 5:21 says; For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (Emphasis mine)
If you're born again, you have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. It's nothing you did outside of believing in Jesus. It's nothing you achieved by merit. It's a gift!
So, why does an understanding of who you are in Christ and your righteous nature make such a huge difference? Lack of peace, or fear, comes from an uncertainty that God loves you, is pleased with you and is for you. If you have a lack of peace in your heart, I'd suggest you get a revelation of righteousness. If you truly know in your heart that you are right with God, that you can stand before God Almighty without fear of condemnation or recrimination, then peace will flow like a river! And, you'll actually start to like yourself. Not in an egotistical way, but in a godly way; the way God thinks about you!
The peace of God in our lives is the place of true faith. Are you dealing with guilt from the past, condemnation, the feeling that God can’t use you because of your mistakes? Then receive the gift of righteousness right now. Let these verse penetrate even the darkest thoughts in your heart about yourself, or any thoughts of condemnation or judgement coming from God. If God isn't condemning you, why are you?!
Isaiah 54:14 says; In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
Fear shall be far from you, it will not come near you because you are established in righteousness. This is crucial. It's not saying that there is no fear. The world can throw plenty of fear at us all day every day if we let it. Like we discussed last week, there can be reports and events that strike fear into everyone. But if you're going to stand firm and not be shaken, you need to establish your heart and understand righteousness.
Isaiah 32:17 says; And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
The work of righteousness is peace! It's effect is a quietness and assurance. That's amazing! And, it lasts forever. If you're lacking in peace, you're lacking in a revelation of righteousness. Circumstances aren’t the problem. The problem is your heart. It doesn’t mean there is peace in your circumstances, but you have peace inside your heart and from that place of peace you can speak in faith. Quietness and assurance forever! Confidence with God…forever, because you’re established in righteousness. This will change your life.
But, like we said last week, if you're feeding on the world's news, movies, country songs(!) then you will be afraid, you will be miserable and have a serious lack of peace.
How does all this lead to great faith?
1 Timothy 1:5 says; Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.
You can’t have sincere faith if you feel guilty or condemned either by God or yourself or others. Establishing that you are the righteousness of God in your heart will produce great faith because fear, anxiety, doubt and unbelief are caused by lack of peace, a feeling of condemnation in yourself, pride and ignorance.
Hebrews 10:22 says; 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.
Full assurance of faith...having our hearts sprinkled, or released, from an evil conscience. Fear, condemnation and doubt are the enemies of an assured faith. If you want to have 'great faith' in your life, you need to root out those things and becoming established in righteousness is the first step.
Have that full assurance that you can draw near to God because you are made His righteousness. The gift of righteousness has cleansed you from the past, so see yourself as God sees you; righteous. It’s not that we haven’t made mistakes, but we’ve chosen not to live in the past and dwell on what's gone. God's not! Why are you? Let’s be established in the righteousness of God as His gift to us, so that while others are failing from fear all around us, we will be strong and established and have peace in the midst of whatever is going on.
You are loved.
Click on the image for an excerpt from
Barry's teaching to our Upstream Home Churches