The Principles of the kingdom of God (2) The Principle of Righeousness
Primary Texts: Romans 3: 21-31
This is the foundation – the very core of the kingdom principles. It is like a visa into the Kingdom of God. See Hebrews 1:8. The scepter is a staff or rod held in the hand by a king as a symbol of authority. It is like a mace which is the symbol of authority of the House of Representatives and the Speaker. Without the mace present the House cannot legally sit. The authority of the Kingdom of God is righteousness and from it comes every other thing that is done in or associated with the Kingdom.
When we speak of righteousness, the first thing that comes to the natural man is good works and good living – no heavy drinking, smoking, stealing/cheating, adultery; donating to charity, almsgiving. In the scriptures, the Pharisees and Scribes were prime examples of such kind of people. They obeyed the laws of Moses to a fault and, even in the process, added their own laws, all in a bid to be accepted by God. They had rules, regulations, and traditions mostly stemming from the Laws of Moses, which they adhered to religiously. No wonder they were always in conflict with Jesus. See Luke 11:42; 18:11-12. Yet Jesus told us that to make Heaven, our righteousness must exceed theirs – Matt. 5:20. Also see Isaiah 64:6. This is so because their righteousness is not the type that God demands.
But what kind of righteousness must we have that will exceed theirs? After all, they were too “good”. We must have the righteousness that God approves and demands from us – His own righteousness. That is what Paul meant in Romans 3:21 and then specifically used Abraham as an example in Romans 4:1-5. Abraham believed God’s word and it was reckoned to him for righteousness (Gen. 15:6). We are all unrighteous in God’s sight and for us to be made right with Him, and an entrance given to us into His kingdom, God must reckon His own righteousness to our account through our trust or faith in Jesus (Romans 3:22-26 esv.). Also Gal. 3:26.
This originates from grace, and is through the redemptive work of Christ, and is appropriated by faith (Romans 3:24, 25, 28). The word, Righteousness is synonymous with the word, Justification. When God imputes His righteousness on us, we are justified before His presence – Rom. 3:26. Justification has been defined as the judicial act of God whereby He justly declares and treats as righteous the one who believes in Jesus Christ (Scofield). The justified person is told by the judge that nothing is laid to his charge again because his debts have been paid in full. This produces peace with God – Romans 5:1. We are no longer enemies to Him. Prior to this time, we were enemies to God because of sin and unbelief.
Positional and Practical Righteousness
1. The foregoing tells us of our position in Christ.
2. However, remember that it is essential that we live as residents of the Kingdom of God when we come therein. See Eph. 2:19.
3. Consider II Timothy 2:19 and Ephesians 6:14 (part of the Christian’s armor).
4. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it – Matt.5:17
5. Therefore, being righteous before God on account of faith alone in Christ does not give us justification to live as we please. See Romans 8:1-4.