Righteousness does not come from performing the requirements of the law. Anyone who begins down that road does not deserve our time. That was Paul’s response to the attempt to subject the believers to the bondage of the law. He prized the liberation Christ purchased more than all his ancestral treasures. There is no terror more despised than humans wielding laws that authorize exclusion, and death.
Righteousness did not come to the kingdom of Israel since succeeding generations failed to erase the need for sacrifice for sin. Christians do not have to apologize for rejecting practices and beliefs that have nothing to do with the salvation of the world. The happy – righteous – people are those whose sins are forgiven. If someone misses the fact that the righteous are first of all a forgiven and forgiving people he or she cannot avoid living in terror and the delusion that God’s kingdom is founded on the laws given to Moses, while Moses says Christ gets the last (and first) word on what humans need to know and do. People who talk about God’s law as definer of what is good and lovely are fear-mongering juveniles, who take pleasure in the prospect of undermining the peace and joy that the right way is expected to bring to home, church, and school.
Living in terror and delusion
Some happiness is completely bogus and short-lived. Happiness that comes from getting things despises God’s gift as aummed up in which we have to remind ourselves are not consumable. God’s priorities focuses on the spiritual security of those he has saved. Is it not telling that the sermon on the mount does not promote happiness based on clinging to the ancestral heritage? The generation that departed Egypt under Moses’ leadership was not a happy one. The hundreds of years of prostituting themselves and finding a marital relationship with Baal and the asherah is a most unhappy sight. But there is a view of happiness or blessing that meets the essential human need for forgiveness.
The blessedness of forgiveness
The self-righteous and the deluded will disavow that God imputes righteousness not sin.
just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:Romans 4:6
No one ever stopped sinning and everyone needs to hear from God, for instruction, correction and assistance. The poor, sick, and sinful will be with us until the end of the age, and it does not follow that Christ confirmed his gift of redemption by giving the Holy Spirit to those who had put their faith in God’s son only to terrorize them with ‘do not ever sin again’. So why does anyone want to get away with saying that they have been successful in keeping all of God’s instructions. Thankfully talk is not the measure of that covenant.
The guy who thinks he has pleased God apart from grace is likely to be unproductive and likely to be deriving a happiness from his selective and partial obedience. In any scenario, this happy guy is likely to be a victim of disinformation by comparing Christ with any of the heroes and witnesses in the biblical record. Seriously though, whoever we choose to name as predecessor to the Incarnate Word is going to fall into the category of thief and robber.
Nothing more or less
When righteousness is not what the community agrees on we have an insoluble dilemma. All of the glowing talk about obedience and loyalty fall flat and end up in the sewer. God’s righteousness, as promised to Jerusalem is not credit earned. Was not Abraham concerned that God was involved in snuffing out the lives of innocent people and was not Jonah insensitive to the right to life of the Ninevites? It is a spicy ball of nothing when we say, for example, that we are followers of God but we dare not step over the line from our human customs into the realm of divine character. There is no day that God does not work so we can forget trying to make the prohibitions regarding the sabbath primary kingdom business. If righteousness does not come, even indirectly, from the law, there is no work that anyone can perform in sync with Christ, who just happens to be in glory with no task related to the levitical priesthood. and is ahead of his followers, enjoying his rest.
It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us.Deuteronomy 6:25
There is no escaping what amounts to success for Christ’s ancestors. Neither taking possession of the land of Canaan, nor establishing the highly significant priesthood, nor the celebrating of annual festivals are wholesome types of the ultimate measure of success. Even though a festival, for example, may result in a revival or a reorientation the standard of righteousness was full compliance with EVERY COMMAND. “All of this commandment” could not be clearer. The number of Christians who are eager to prove the purity of their beliefs or the maturity of their practices amounts to a majority. The simple odds that the majority holds the right view are extremely low and runs against the grain of Messianic revelation. The Exodus and the wilderness journey, if we are interested in biblical precedents, also point to the survival of only a few: only two men (and their families?) made it from Egypt to Canaan. One does not have to do any math to know that only one in four individuals who have “received” the message of salvation will eventually end up being productive. Three quarters of the people hearing the gospel will fizzle out – until the next time the seedsower scatters seeds in their neighbourhood- not be saved. Our Lord himself points to the hard fact of the small generational harvest of souls.
Chosen, Few, and Little,
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.Matthew 7:13-14
For many are called, but few are chosen.”Matthew 22:14
God’s gifts and the persistent fear
Lies persevere because their producers depend on terror and threats. The liar’s method is kill, steal, destroy, and, by all means, deceive. When they have no power to shun, eject, slander, censure or silence Christ’ followers they turn to murder. This has always been the case. Warmongers will try to glorify the wars they have fought but the reasonable and the wise seem to have perished from the earth, and the rising generation scarcely gets a chance to rid itself of the baggage of the previous, which is still a great deal of empty traditions and power games. People who are converted by strong arm methods and compunction will not make it to Yeshua’s safe arms.
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.Isaiah 54:14
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.Luke 12:32
The spiritual heritage
Our spiritual security is not going to come from anything other than the Spirit Himself, who we all confess is also the author of the words preserved for us in Scripture. No vision, inspired storytelling or comment rises to the level of apostolic teaching. The best we can do to avail ourselves of the protection is to draw as near as possible to the teaching without the possibility of faulty communications slipping into the stream.
Many believers get baptized and join a church after a gospel worker tells him or her what he thinks they need to hear, and too often without the goal of attaching the believer’s faith to Christ. Typically an evangelist introduces people to Christ as saviour. The practice in our times is a combination of demanding lifestyle change which means gathering information about the individual: their employment (unemployed are 3rd class citizens), their food and clothing (both irrelevant for kingdom purposes), and their past Fear drives the agenda. We should not think that fear is forbidden, because fear is the natural response to God, even by good and just people.