Commentary on "The Fruit of the Spirit is Righteousness"
Day 3: Monday, March 8, 2010
In this lesson, the author discusses the “do-it-yourself righteousness” quoting Romans 10:3:
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”
The author goes on to say that it is impossible to have “do-it-yourself” righteousness. He says that there is nothing we can do to make ourselves righteous before God and we are utterly dependent upon Christ for our righteousness. He continues by saying, “What makes them holy before God is what Christ has done for them, not what they do.”
At a glance, the lesson seems straightforward, with no noticeable problems. It’s interesting to note, though, that the accompanying E.G. White Notes contradicts what the author said.
“Many today claim to obey the commandments of God, but they have not the love of God in their hearts to flow forth to others” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p.279).
So if “do-it-yourself righteousness” is impossible, then why is the obedience to the commandments of God an issue?
Let’s continue to look at the E.G. White Notes for this lesson:
“Faith in Christ will be the means whereby the right spirit and motive will actuate the believer, and all goodness and heavenly-mindedness will proceed from him who looks unto Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith...By beholding Christ, you will become changed, until you will hate your former pride, your former vanity and self-esteem, your self-righteousness and unbelief. You will cast these sins aside as worthless burden, and walk humbly, meekly, trustfully, before God. You will practice love, patience, gentleness, goodness, mercy, and every grace that dwells in the child of God, and will at last find a place among the sanctified and holy” (Selected Messages, bk.1, p. 388).
Notice the order. Faith in Christ actuates the believer. Goodness and heavenly-mindedness will proceed from him. By beholding, we become changed and will over time begin to practice the fruit of the spirit. Then, “will AT LAST find a place among the sanctified and holy.”
Faith in Christ does not “actuate” the believer. It cleanses the believer from sin. Justification happens immediately. The Holy Spirit indwells us, and at the moment of belief, we begin to live out the fruit of the spirit. Sanctification works over a lifetime, but we are declared “holy” at the moment of belief and faith in Jesus.
It is true, “do-it-yourself” righteousness is impossible. It will wear you out and it will rob you of eternal life. Ask yourself, “Am I trusting EVERYTHING to Jesus? Is there any part of me that is trying to earn favor in God’s sight?” If you are struggling with trusting God fully in this area, I challenge you to trust God with everything. It is by grace, through faith, we are saved, not of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8). If this is not true of your experience, I ask that you surrender all your efforts and sin to Jesus right now.
GO TO DAY 4
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