[省思] Do we please God by merely confessing, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ”?

Confessing Your Righteousness Pleases God

Every time you confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ”, God the Father is pleased. When you confess that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, it reminds Him of what His Son has done for you to become righteous.

Also, by making you righteous, God is showing Himself righteous — “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus”. (Romans 3:26)

Each time Jesus hears you confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ,” it brings much pleasure to His heart too, because you are laying hold of what He suffered and died to give you.

The Holy Spirit, who now indwells you to convict you of righteousness (John 16:10), also rejoices when you confess, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.” He is pleased when you flow with Him.

The delight of the Godhead is not the only thing you gain when you declare, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.” The Bible tells us that when you “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… all these things shall be added to you”. (Matthew 6:33)

Whether it is food, clothing or other necessities in life, “all these things” will be added to you. They will not just be given to you, but added to you as your inheritance when you seek first His righteousness.

You don’t need to use your faith for every single need in life. You just need to use your faith for one thing — to believe that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, and it will cause all the blessings you seek to come after you and overtake you!

Thought For The Day
Use your faith to simply believe that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, and the blessings you seek will come after you and overtake you! (read original article)

The above teaching is given by Joseph Prince, the leading pastor of New Creation Church, arguably today’s largest megachurch in Singapore. But after watching several of his sermon clips online, I have found that his teaching problematic. Not in the sense of being necessarily apostatic as we may detect at many other megachurch pulpits, but it is indeed dangerously unbalanced in the sense that it can lead to a crippled version of faith — it is not apostolic.

First of all, to say that we are the righteousness of God in Christ presumes that we are in Christ. No doubt here, the emphasis and focus here is Christ, rather than you/we/I — but the impression that Pastor Prince gave us is an unduly shift from the Christocentric emphasis to an anthropocentric one: to say « I am/we are » and « we make God happy ».

To retain our focus, what does it mean to be in Christ needs to be expounded.

Since the theme of “union in Christ” is so predominant in both Johannine and Pauline theology, it should be rightly said that we are the righteousness of God when and only when we are in Christ. God is pleased only when He sees the righteousness and obedience of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ (cf. Mat 3:17), not us- unworthy sinners apart from His saving grace (per John Calvin [1]).


[1] See DAVID GIBSON, “A Mirror for God and for Us: Christology and Exegesis in Calvin’s Doctrine of Election”, International Journal of Systematic Theology Volume 11 Number 4 October 2009, p.452: “In his discussion of ‘as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you’ (15:9), Calvin is adamant that the Father’s love for the Son ‘must be referred to us, because Christ declares that the Father loves him as the Head of the church – a thing extremely necessary for us’. Calvin uses two images to describe what this love of the Father means: Christ is ‘the pledge (pignus) of the divine love’, and ‘in him, as in a mirror (speculo), we may behold God’s fatherly love towards us all, since he is not loved separately, or for his own private advantage, but that he may unite us along with himself to the Father’.13 Calvin’s description of this love is sharply focused on the economy – it is a love of the Son, but it is a love with benefits for us.”

 

Moreover, the Bible does not teach us that we can please God by declaring our righteousness, imputed or whatsoever. On the contrary, the Bible does say that we please God by 1) Serving Christ with an attitude of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14;17-18), 2) Worshiping God acceptably with reverence and awe (Heb 12:28), 3) Doing good and sharing with others (Heb 13:16), and 4) Presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).

These are always in my sermons. To skip these important in-between steps is not preaching the whole counsel of God.

Next, to say that you are in Christ presumes that we first deny ourselves and curse our old ego to dead and that  we follow His commandments (1 Jn 2:3-4; 5:2-3). It demands true repentance and radical transformation! And this is what God demands! God holds dear our sorrowful spirit (Ps. 51:17) by giving His Holy Spirit as our Counselor. Only in this way we are freed from our guilt and are enabled to do good things.

That is to say, we please God by participating in and joining this union with Christ (that entails sacrifice and renouncing our sinful past as well as broken humanity), not by the mere declaring or confessing of it (cf. Mat 7:21).

In this way, a theology of grace will not corrupt/collapse into a theology of complacency.


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