~ Matters of the Heart ~
Instruments of Righteousness
The word “righteousness” represents any conformity to a standard, whether that standard has to do with the inner character of a person, or the abject standard of accepted law. When speaking of a person, it means someone who is upright or virtuous, displaying integrity, purity of life, and correctness in feeling and action.
So righteousness as a Christian is conforming to the standard of Christ in our inner character and the standard of the law the Father found acceptable: Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. If we do these two laws we have fulfilled the word of God and the standard He set for us.
The Old Testament speaks of the man whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is completely conformed to the righteousness of God. This is not something we have on our own, but only in complete agreement to the will of God. This being said, righteousness has to do with the competition of relationships, with men or God.
Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable perfect will of God is. We are not to adjust or adapt our self to the same patterns of the world. But rather we are to be “transfigured” with a supernatural and glorified change in our appearance like Jesus on the Mountain of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9). When we understand God’s benefits and fully agree to grow in completeness of His mind and moral character we can become a full man, one of full age being called perfect…or mature in Christ.
The first time the word righteousness appears is in Genesis 6:18. God was speaking to Noah, saying He would establish His covenant with him, his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives. The word covenant is the same word as righteousness. (Gateway Bible) Genesis 15:6 says of Abraham, “and he believed in the Lord; and He (The Lord) counted it to him for righteousness.” Abraham’s faith was considered righteousness because he agreed to the will of God. It was not that Abraham was righteous in and of himself but that he yielded and trusted himself to God and God considered that righteousness.
Dead to Sin
Romans 6:11-14, 22 says: “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under the law but under grace?”
Alive in Christ
If we are to consider ourselves as dead to sin and alive in Christ, then Christ should now reign in our mortal bodies. Mortal meaning liable to die, mortal (-ity) (Greek 2349), so we are no longer to long for the things of this world but seek to bring Christ’s Kingdom upon the earth. I’m not saying we give up living life, I’m saying give up living for yourself and what pleases your flesh. So what does it mean to be instruments of unrighteousness that can lead us to sin? I’m going to break the words down for a better understanding.
Instruments of unrighteousness that leads to sin:
- Members: a limb or a part of the body.
- Instruments: to be busy about, an implement or tool. Especially, offensive for war, armor, weapon.
- Unrighteousness: injustice, the quality, by implication the act morally, wrongfulness of character, life, iniquity, unjust.
If we act out of offense/sin we are allowing it to rule in our flesh and we become a slave to death all over again. Our body/flesh begin to war as a offensive weapon and creates a military attack against the righteousness of God and now fear sets in and our faith wavers in Jesus and God’s promises.
Next month we will talk about Instruments of righteousness and what that looks like and how we can create a military attack against our fleshly desires and sin.