What is Sin and what is Righteousness?
Is sin defined as adultery, masturbation, stealing and other such vices or are these things the fruit or acts of sin. To flip the question over, is love, giving, going to church, reading your bible and praying in tongues the definition of righteousness or are these the acts or fruits of righteousness?
These are pivotal questions. If correctly answered,the truth will cleanse us of what is dubbed “sin consciousness”. The following piece of writing will attempt to define these two.
Scripturally speaking, there are two testaments and both define the above mentioned terms differently. How come? What is a testament? According to Websters’s 1828 dictionary, a testament is defined thus:
TEST’AMENT, n. [L. testamentum, from testor, to make a will.]
1. A solemn authentic instrument in writing, by which a person declares his will as to the disposal of his estate and effects after his death. This is otherwise called a will. A testament,to be valid, must be made when the testator is of sound mind, and it must be subscribed, witnessed and published in such manner as the law prescribes.
A man in certain cases may make a valid will by words only, and such will is called nuncupative.
2. The name of each general division of the canonical books of the sacred Scriptures; as the Old Testament; the New Testament. The name is equivalent to covenant, and in our use of it, we apply it to the books which contain the old and new dispensations; that of Moses, and that of Jesus Christ.
In effect a testament is a legal instrument and shows those who inherit what has been bequeathed to them. For believers in Christ, the Old Testament via the law of Moses defined sin simply as breaking the Law of Moses or breaching the commandments of God. In the New Testament however, Jesus came and fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17) for us so we cannot break it any longer.
In the NT, Paul defines sin differently. He defines it as anything we do that “…is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). We also know that FAITH works through Love (Gal 5:6). This means if we give millions of Pounds sterling or Euros to God’s work and speak with the tongues of angels and fast for 365 days in a year, and do all manner of “GOOD” things but we do it without faith that is motivated by love, all that “good” work is useless before God according to 1 Cor 13.
In the NT, all of that which may have made a person in the OT in good standing is not sufficient if it is not done out of faith motivated by agape. In the absence of faith and love, our best efforts are like filthy rags before God. So if Rom 14:23 and 1Cor 13 are true, then righteousness is not speaking in tongues or praying or doing good stuff. Rather these acts are just the fruit of righteousness as Gal 5 teaches us.
Righteousness in the New Will is much deeper than mere good or holy acts and adherence to rules and regulations. It is the very nature of GOD (that energizes us to do those good things). Also unlike the OT, righteousness in the NT is not earned y men but given freely as a gift from God.
Rom 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
His righteousness which is his nature energizes us to do the “good” that comes from the tree of life and not the “good” that comes from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The former counts in heaven. The latter is death.
Likewise sin is not stealing, killing, cursing or doing bad stuff. Rather sin is the nature of the serpent that Eve introduced into the human race when she took in that corruptible seed of the word of the serpent/dragon/satan/devil etc. Words are seed of life or death (Mark 4:14).
Realize this, we (the called out ones who are born of His Seed/Word) are not of the Human race. We are a new creation, a new species (2 Cor 5:17). The seed (sperm) that gave birth to us contains the very DNA or nature of its source which is God, just like the seed of a cow contains the nature of a cow. God’s Seed/Word contains His nature which is righteousness.
Seeds according to Jesus in the parable of the sower are words and words according to the same Jesus are spirit and life OR spirit and death (Luke 8:11, John 6:63). We are products of the seeds we ingest. That’s why Jesus called the devil the father of some guys in John 8:44. How did the serpent become a father? Through sowing his seed/word which those pharisees imbibed. It is important what we listen to and what we take into the reproductive chambers of our hearts. How were we born again? By hearing the Word of God and accepting it (receiving his seed). Eve took in the words of the serpent and condemned her descendants to death for many millennia because the word she took in was spirit and death. This continued until another seed named Jesus (the seed or Word of God which is spirit and life) came and destroyed sin forever, got planted and gave birth to us John 12:24. Sin was not just beaten. It was annihilated. It never resurrected. The entire NT is a celebration of this victory.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.
What exactly dis Jesus do to sin?
Rom 8:3 AMP For God has done what the Law could not do… [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev. 7:37.]
To be mindful or conscious of sin is to not recognize what transpired on the cross. Put differently, GOD puts before us life and death and tells us to choose life. It is impossible to be focus or set our minds on both at the same time. We cannot be conscious of sin and righteousness at the same time. We must choose one side. We only have one mind and it can focus on one thing at a time. If we focus on righteousness, sin will be far from us. Its like darkness and light. Light exists. Darkness doesn’t. It is simply the absence of light . It does not have substance of its own so we are better of focussing on light. Understand what Jesus has done to sin.
When Moses shadowed the cross, how did he do it. Let’s listen to Jesus: “And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness,so the Son of Man must be lifted up” (John 3:14). When I first read this many years ago, I was offended because I did not understand why Jesus was likened to a serpent by Moses. But after seeking the Lord he explained that he created man to live forever but man allowed himself to be stung by death. The sting of death is the sting of the serpent. The Serpent is the devil and its sting/poison is sin. This poison is strengthened by the Law.
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
If Jesus therefore came to fulfill the law, he has thus taken out the strength of the poison of sting i.e sin. If the strength of sin has been nullified, then satan’s sting is no longer harmful. Why then do believers still fear a serpent with no power in its sting? Not only does it not have power in its sting but its head/covering/authority has been crushed at Calvary by the seed of the woman i.e. Jesus Christ (Gen 3:15). Why worry or be conscious about the sting of such a defeated foe? Instead why not spend our energies on focussing o the new nature.
So back to Moses and the cross … “And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up” (John 3:14). Moses had to lift up the brazen serpent on a pole so that whoever would look at it would be cured of the sting os the serpents which had stung them. This was the shadow. What was the reality? The reality is, in the garden of Eden, man/humanity was stung and sin was introduced into the human race. The venom was sin and this sin was strengthened by the law. To cure humanity of this venom, GOD sent his son into the world. This son was GOD’s seed and perfectly righteous unlike fallen humanity. God made this son to become sin or the serpent.
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
This serpent was then lifted on a pole at Calvary and whoever looked at this brazen serpent on the cross is cured of this venom i.e. sin. This is what after the cross Apostle Paul wrote:
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2). If we are truly free, then sin can no longer excercise dominion over a believer.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
1Jn 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
To be sin conscious is to be under the law and to be righteousness conscious, continually receiving this free gift is to be under grace.
Once man was infected by the venom of the serpent i.e. sin, he lost eternal life and started to die physically. From never dying, man started to die at 900 years and it progressed till men are now even dying before they reach puberty. The byproduct of being infected by this venom is death but what is the gift of GOD i.e. righteousness?
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The wages of sin is death. That is the byproduct of being infected. After the infection has been neutralized on Calvary, life or Zoe has been restored. This is why Jesus came.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Jesus came to restore what was lost in the garden but many believers today still choose to live conscious of the wrong things.
Let us recap. The serpent had bitten humanity and humanity was dying. God’s solution for God to perform a war upon the serpent to settle this sin issue once and for all. So he performed one of the most majestic, glorious and yet humbly powerful acts ever. Remember Jesus was born of Mary through the Holy Spirit. So Jesus from birth had in Him the nature of God i.e. righteousness. Humanity had the nature of the dragon/serpent i.e. sin. On the cross, he performed a divine exchange where he took our sin upon himself forever and gave us the righteousness of God forever. In fact, He did not just take our sin which is the venom. HE BECAME SIN. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2Corinthians 5:21). Born again saints do not have righteousness. They are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. He became the very symbol of what had been man’s weakness and inability to follow God—sin. Hence spiritually he became the serpent that Moses lifted up. And if only humanity which had been bitten by the serpent would look at Him on the cross, we would be healed. That is why without confession and agreement with what he has done for humanity; there can be no remission of sins. God made him our sin and KILLED it forever on the cross. God forsook him on the cross because he became sin and God will have nothing to do with sin. If you are looking for sin, it does not exist any longer if you are born again because “… through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”(Romans 8:2). It’s a done deal. We are free. Free people should focus on life and not sin. We have this life in us now. It is who we are. No wonder Apostle John could write 1Jn 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Someone may argue that, then why do people still kill and do bad stuff if sin is done away with? The answer is answered by the scriptures… “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children” (Hosea 4:6).
Ignorance (lack of knowledge) keeps us from the knowledge of the truth and it’s only the knowledge of the truth that can set us free. If you put a dog chained up for many years, it becomes used to that state and it is accustomed only to move within the circle of its bondage. The day you remove the chain from its neck, it will not run outside its comfort zone or the zone of its former captivity. Though it is physically free, it is mentally still bound. This is the sad story of much of humanity to this day. The battle is in the region of our minds. This is where we must allow the Word of liberty to take root and be established and to displace lies. A lie is anything that is in disagreement with the truth of God’s Word no matter how real it seems to you. Please indulge me with one last story. If one of the princes of the UK for some strange reasons ended up being born in an African village and grew up there estranged from the royal family and never knowing his roots, how would he behave? The answer is just like the other villagers. When the Queen of England sends messengers to free him and bring him to England to live as a prince, how will he behave?
I submit to you that it will take time, patience, new knowledge(truth) and wisdom for him to embrace his freedom and what freedom truly means. If he truly apprehends the responsibility that comes with freedom, he will rule with such nobility, class and influence BUT if he misunderstands the responsibility that comes with freedom, he will end up making a shipwreck of his freedom by recklessly over indulging in his new found wealth. He may marry a thousand women and drink schnapps from morning till night. But is this the purpose of his new found freedom and wealth? NO. It has a greater purpose but his light I small. He needs greater light. His misbehavior does not mean freedom is bad. It simple means he did not understand the reason for his liberty. The wisdom of God is moderation and spirit directed purpose. We are free but it does not mean we walk around misbehaving purposelessly. That is waste of resources and according Jesus own parables, he is not pleased with waste of any resource including our very lives. We must study the Word and exhibit a higher nature, a higher life that is full of the reign of His Word and responsible for the gift of liberty bestowed on us. In the words of the bible, let us not belittle the grace of God, instead, let us take advantage of it and live lives worthy of sons of God who carry his nature and name. Let’s develop a righteousness consciousness and throw away a sin consciousness. If we operate by love, we will automatically end up doing the will of God because we will not let our actions harm others.
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace (Rom 6:4)
This is God did not give us in the NT another set of 10 or 300 commandments. He just gave us two which summarize the entire scriptures. If we adhere to it, it’s stronger than any number of commandments and will keep us on the path of righteousness.
(37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
(38) This is the first and great commandment.
(39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The law and the prophets refer to the entire old testament.