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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Righteousness: What is it?
Date Posted: October 2, 2016

Justified by faith?




In 1 Samuel 24, Saul tells David that David was much more righteous than he because “you have repaid me with good, whereas I have repaid you with evil.”

Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.

When comparing the wicked with the righteous, what characteristics come to mind? I see the wicked act with only self in mind motivated by power, prestige, and profit, always acting in ways that God abhors. The Bible even describes body language then describes what God abhors:

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:12-19

I can’t help but think about Paul’s comparison of the wicked to righteous believers led by the Spirit in Galatians 5.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:19-25 (Emphasis mine.)

Against such things there is no law. Why is that? Paul tells us plainly that if we are led by the Spirit we are not under the law. Why not?

Here’s a better question: Why are the 10 Commandments written in the negative? Thou shalt not…

Would you agree that humans have a propensity for the “do-nots?” Our nature leans toward lacking self-control. That is basically why we sin. We have no self-control to resist temptation. The need for self-control is because of the laws of man, or so authorities would have us believe. This is why we have law enforcement, and according to our wise forefathers, it is why we have a president: To keep the law of the land.

But walking in the Spirit and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit gives us a supernatural self-control that stems from the holy righteousness of God Almighty. That self-control keeps us from acting aganist our baser nature that loves doing the "do-nots." I love this part! The Holy Spirit dwelling in us abhors the do-nots and, if we just relinquish control, will give us the power to overcome temptation, all of it.

Therefore, submitting our whole self to God’s control actually infuses power surges into our daily living that would short circuit the world’s power grid.

Why don’t Christians plug into this supernatural power system that God designed before the first human walked the earth? Personally, I think all deep-down, true-blue believers do plug into it. It is the righteousness at work on the mission fields, in churches, in business, and in personal living that happens to come to the attention of the media on occasion. It’s just that righteous living isn’t regarded as abnormal or newsworthy. Now isn’t that a twist?

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Biography Information:

Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews check out Gina's book reviews at Upon

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