The Righteous person

Psalm 1: 3

And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does he prospers.

An idea came to me today that I believe we will enjoy. Let’s take a trip, you and me, a journey of songs, as it were. Beginning today let us sojourn through the Psalms. Each day I will send you a verse out of a psalm beginning with Psalm One and continuing until Yahweh says, “Halt.” There are 150 Psalms. I do not intend that we do them all but perhaps we will do a couple of weeks’ worth. We’ll see but through this little adventure, I think we will get a better flavor of the Psalms. Sometimes you need to not bounce around so much in reading the Bible because you get a truer sense when you hang out in a book for a while. So, let’s jump in and see how we like this. Send me your comments. It might even be fun for you to anticipate which verse I will send the following day and who knows, if you send me your favorite verse in advance, well, maybe that will be the pick for the next day. So, tomorrow we will look at a verse from Psalm two. Which verse do you like?

Today’s verse is such a fun one. The psalms begin by characterizing the difference between a righteous person’s experience and a “wicked” person’s life. The righteous person is firmly planted. You can stop right there and shout. What image do these words paint in your mind? Being firmly planted means that the storms of life do not cause you to topple. You are not that tree that gets blown down in the storm. You have the ability to bend and flow with the wind all the while your roots, which run deep, firmly grasp the earth. They don’t strain to hold onto life in the tempest because you are simply rooted. You are so grounded that the winds of change or even turmoil do not disturb you.

You are firmly rooted near streams of water. That means that no matter how dry the season, or how infrequent the rain, you are planted at the stream where your roots do not have to search for water. You always have an ample supply because you are constantly resupplied by the flow of water past your roots. Go deeper in your celebration that you are planted by the stream because the stream represents the Holy Spirit of God. Meditate on that a little while.

You always produce fruit when you are supposed to. You are steady and reliable. Everyone knows they can look to you for fruit. You shall not wither and die. Your leaf remains young and supple. You provide shade and nourishment for all who come under your boughs.

Lastly, the piece de resistance, everything you do prospers. Write that one on a 3 X 5 card. Heck, make a poster of it. That is some good news, at least to all who believe it.


2 Corinthians 5: 21          NIV

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Isn’t this just amazing?? God took the sinless Jesus and turned him into sin for us. The He took the righteousness of Jesus and gave it to us. Wow! Jesus was righteous, who would argue with that but in this substitutionary miracle we became the righteousness of God. So how does this work? 
Well, the key words are “in him”. Those who are “in” Christ have become the righteousness of God, but what does this really mean? We are all saved, does that mean we are all righteous? Does that mean we all act like we are righteous? Can you be saved and not be “in” Jesus? 
Righteousness means that we have right standing with God. It does not mean that we always act right, that we always do the things we ought to do. It also does not mean moral conduct. If you look up the word righteousness in a dictionary you will get that idea but it takes Jesus out of the equation. It is a worldly view. Jesus took (became) our burden of sin so that we could stand in the presence of God clean and pure. It is not about anything we have done or will do. You can’t act righteous. You can only “be” righteous and that is entirely about what Jesus did for us.

I am listening to a song as I type these words and the lyric speaks directly to this miracle of righteousness: “For now there is no condemnation, I am under the blood of the lamb.” That is the key, Jesus’ blood paid the price of our sin that we can stand sinless before God. That is just amazing to me. Knowing how we behave sometimes, God worked out this plan for us to be able to be with Him sinless and whole. The key is being “in Christ” and thank God for our savior.

Glass half ______

Romans 8: 29

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

So, is your glass half empty or half full? I find there are two very distinct classes of Christians. There are those who are fully cognizant of their faults and short comings and those whose eyes behold who they are in Christ.

Half empty glass Christians are very focused on their failures and even their sins. Half full glass Christians, while aware of their imperfection, choose to focus on the one who is perfect. Can we one day be all too aware of our faults and the next be fully persuaded about Christ’s victory in our life? Sure but I find that people tend to reside in one philosophy or the other.

I want to encourage you to see who you are in Christ and abandon the glass half empty approach to Christianity. The glass half empty people constantly look at their mistakes, their faults and their weaknesses. “Let the weak say, “I am strong!” (Joel 3: 10 Amplified). There are two problems with the theology of constantly looking at our weakness. First, it is not Biblical. Though we know we are weak, though we know we are flawed we are supposed to declare “I am strong” because our strength is in our Lord.

The other flaw in this approach is that it is self-centered instead of being Christ centered. We are supposed to have our eyes on him, not on ourselves. We have to get us off of our minds and put our thoughts on Jesus and the glory of what he has done for us. The scripture says that we are the righteousness of God in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5: 21). Why are we calling ourselves wretched and sinful when God calls us His righteousness?

Sometimes this theology even goes so far as to harp on our sins and sinful natures. Well, isn’t that why God sent a savior? We were lost with no power to save ourselves but when Jesus went to the cross he took our sins with him and nailed them to that tree. Jesus took the sin of the world and crucified it. Of course that doesn’t mean that we never fail but it does mean that we have been redeemed from the curse of sin, we have been restored to our right place with God and our sins have been washed by the blood. If we are saved, and we surely confess that we are, then our sin debt has been paid. We have been redeemed. We are no longer sinners but rather saints. To call ourselves sinners when Christ paid the price of our sin with his life is to throw his sacrifice in his face. It is like saying, “Hey Jesus, your sacrifice wasn’t good enough to clean me. I am a special kind of sinner.”

I know some adopt this posture as a form of humility but in truth, it is a false humility because it is obsession with our image of ourselves. True humility is to take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on our Lord and savior. Our thoughts and words should echo scripture and his great victory which we won for us.

You are the precious, redeemed, restored, sanctified, righteous child of the most high. Let your mouth talk about what Jesus has done instead of what you have done and you will find that your glass isn’t half full. It’s overflowing.

The Well Rooted Tree

Psalm 1: 4 – 6

4 The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

This is the second half of the first Psalm which we read yesterday and it contrasts the consequences for the wicked with the results of the righteous.  Rather than being a living, strong, regal tree firmly planted in good soil, the wicked will have no root.  Any little wind will blow them this way and that and they will have no staying power.  Any success they find will blow away because it is not rooted and grounded.  There will be no substance and they will not be able to stand on the last day. 

The unrighteous spend their time foolishly and they greatly suffer as a consequence.  Let us spend our time in pursuit of the lovely one and let our life find deeper meaning and purpose.  Let us shine before men because the “son” shines on us.  Pursue the Lord with all your might, forsaking not your relationship with the Father and His Holy Spirit.  All heaven and earth shall be your prize.  Do not forsake the God of your youth.  Call upon Him now while he is near.  He will answer.  Draw closer to Him than ever before.  Riches and glory are in Him and most importantly so are peace and love.  Find that for which your heart seeks.  It is all in Him.