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What is Faith? – Part 1: Faith Righteousness

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Hi everyone, thank you so much for joining me on the Hope for Today broadcast. I’m your host Doran Wengerd – Founder of Wengerd Ministries

I’m beginning a new series today called “Hope in the Spirit”, and this is all about the foundation that our Faith is built on. We are Spirit – Soul – Body. I’ll be doing 3 sets of messages…

I want to talk to you today about being blessed by God’s righteousness, and not because of anything you can DO. The Good News of Jesus can be narrowed down to several Essential, Basic Truths, and today I want to discuss The Heart of THE GOSPEL.

Righteousness by faith (or Faith-Righteousness) is the cornerstone (or capstone) of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This TRUTH is the glue that holds all of the other truths of the Gospel together.

I want to read some verses in Romans to hear how God describes true righteousness being given to mankind.

Let’s begin by reading Romans 1:17, in the NIV vs 17 – “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

Now let’s read Romans 3:21,22 also in the NIV

vs 21 – “But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

Vs 22 – “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

Look at Romans 4:3 and 4:17 NIV

vs 3 – “What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

vs 17 – “As it is written: `I have made you a father of many nations.’ He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.”

Why did God call Abraham righteous? Because he believed God.

Can we make ourselves less righteous? No.

According to the Gospel, Jesus is the one who made us righteous. How do we receive the gift of righteousness? By Grace through Faith.

Look at how Paul describes the righteousness of the religious Jews. This is also how many people approach God today. They that if they somehow do things right, they will be more acceptable to God.

Let’s read Romans 10:1-4

Rom 10:1
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

Rom 10:2
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

Rom 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.

Rom 10:4
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Paul says that the Jews wanted to earn righteousness through their works; therefore, they rejected the righteousness that comes from God. Christ is the end of the law or any works we try to do for righteousness.

Now let’s back up a chapter and see where Paul clearly describes the difference between righteousness by works and Righteousness by FAITH. Most of us on this call today would be considered Gentiles, but we have just as much of a tendency to try to work for our salvation instead of receiving it FREELY by FAITH.

Let’s read Romans 9:30-33

Rom 9:30
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;

Rom 9:31
but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.

Rom 9:32
Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.

Rom 9:33
As it is written:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

AMEN!!

This is so clear! So, why is it so hard for people to accept it and receive it by faith?

This is why. The doctrine and TRUTH of Faith-Righteousness is the stumbling stone.

Look how the writer of Hebrews describes Faith Righteousness and how that relates to works.

Let’s look at Hebrews 6:1

Heb 6:1
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

The phrase, “not laying again” means here “Not continually laying it over and over or repeating the foundation”. He’s basically saying here that we need to rest in the TRUTH that our righteousness does not come from works, but rather it comes through Faith toward God.

He is talking about the TRANSFORMATION OF OUR THOUGHTS. The literal definition of the word repentance is, “to change your mind or change your thinking.”

This brings me to a few of my favorite verses in the Bible.

Let’s read Romans 12:1-2

Rom 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

Rom 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The word “transformed” means metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is change from the inside out.

– We have been made righteous. In order for that which is in my spirit to come out I must renew my mind and establish my heart.

Romans 8:6 says, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

The word “carnal” or to be carnally minded doesn’t necessarily mean SINFUL. It means however simply physical, or natural or to be naturally minded.

Look what 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says.

2Co 10:4
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

2Co 10:5
casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

This is not even talking about spiritual warfare with the devil. It is with our minds, thoughts and imaginations. Our warfare is to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

So, how do we “bring our thoughts captive” to the obedience of Christ?

First of all, we need to be acquainted with the New Testament, and that only becomes a reality when we take the time to read and study the New Testament.

Second, we are to bring vain imaginations like (temptations, rejection, righteousness by works, etc.) captive to what Jesus accomplished through His death, burial and resurrection.

Third, we need to change what we believe to line up with God’s view and opinions. If something is not Gospel, then do not accept it as reality. The Bible says we walk by faith.

Hebrews 11:6 says.

Heb 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (and can I add here…BY FAITH?)

New Testament faith is our response of trust to what God has done for us through the finished work of the Lord Jesus. Unbelief is not the inability to believe, but when what we believe does not line up with what God has done for us through the Lord Jesus.

When what I believe lines up with God’s opinion and the finished work of Christ, I am walking in faith, and that kind of faith is pleasing to God. We must realize here that every other way of gaining righteousness is not pleasing to God.

Not only that, every action we DO to achieve right standing with God has the potential to cancel out the very sacrifice of Jesus, because it cannot be of WORKS.

I want to read Ephesians 2:4-9 where Paul describes very clearly what happened when you believed.

Eph 2:4
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Eph 2:5
even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Eph 2:6
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Eph 2:7
that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Eph 2:9
not of works, lest anyone should boast.

When I trust in God through the finished work of Christ I have life and peace.

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

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