the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM
The Kingdom of God is as enormous and awe-inspiring as God Himself.
God’s Kingdom is so vast and comprehensive that we can never fathom or
understand it’s power and glory apart from the spirit of wisdom and revelation
from God. Since the Kingdom of God
is the realm of His omnipotent power and universal dominion, we must know
God in a greater way in order to fully grasp the wonders and powers of that
realm. Perhaps it is because of its
transcendent nature that the church system rarely teaches anything about the
Kingdom of God, and when they do, they invariably either confuse it with the
religious systems called “the
church,” or place it out in some
future time or age. Yet, we need
more than diligent study and research to see
the Kingdom of God! To perceive His
Kingdom at all, we must be born of the Spirit and begin to put on the mind of
Christ. Without the wisdom and
understanding of the mind of Christ, the mysteries of the Kingdom will remain
hidden and veiled, lest the carnal-minded put forth their unclean hands to
illegally grasp and use the Kingdom for their devious purposes, thus distorting
its truth, diminishing its glory, and corrupting its power.
Many who read these lines can confess with me that the mighty seed of the
Kingdom, which is Christ, has been sowed within our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
That Kingdom seed is daily growing within us and is bringing forth the
increase of Christ the Lord in our experience.
The Kingdom of God shall continue to grow and increase, by the spirit of
life from God, until everything everywhere is swallowed up into God and He
becomes All-in-all. The very life of
God Himself is the power of the Kingdom of God within us!
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).
The Kingdom is here defined both negatively and positively.
We are told first what it is not,
and then what it is.
“The kingdom of God is not
meat or drink.” The blessings and
benefits of the Kingdom of God are not the outward fruits of the land of Canaan,
but the inward fruits of the Spirit of God in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.
“The kingdom of God is
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the
Holy Ghost.” The nature of
the Kingdom is the new wine Jesus
promised to drink with His chosen ones. “But
I say unto you, I will not henceforth drink of this fruit of the vine, until
that day when I shall drink it new
with you IN MY FATHER’S KINGDOM” (Mat. 26:29).
Luke records these words thus: “I will not anymore eat thereof, until
it be FULFILLED IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (Lk. 22:16).
And Paul says, “Who hath
translated us into the kingdom of His
dear Son” (Col. 1:13). And,
“The kingdom of God is not meat and
drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
The new wine of the Kingdom is wine of a new kind.
Wine out of a new vineyard. Wine
out of a new winepress. Wine of a
new character, a new sweetness, a new strength, and a new exhilaration.
The new wine of the Kingdom is the divine
life of Christ! He is now
pouring out His divine life into His elect and the fruit of the True vine is now
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost! I thank God for the privilege of proclaiming this message,
this word of the Kingdom that Jesus brought, and that today is quickened in the
hearts of God’s sons. Do not
forget how beautifully Jesus taught it, and do not fail to hear how powerfully
the Holy Spirit unfolds it in our lives today.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to
give you the kingdom” (Lk. 12:32). Today
the Father gives us a Kingdom which will never fade away — a
Kingdom which is righteousness, which is peace, which is joy; a Kingdom which is
incorruptible and undefiled, and which fadeth not away.
Fear not little flock! The
Father has brought this Kingdom into our experience by His Word and by His
Paul knew of a blessed plane of existence, a glorious sphere of life,
known as “the liberty of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:21).
He knew that there was another and better realm entirely beyond the
earthly realm where men dwell and toil under the unrelenting spell of natural
things, and beneath the weight of sorrow, limitation, fear, sin and death.
It is the realm where men are delivered from the bondage of this passing
world, and are translated into a heavenly land of life and immortality in the
spirit. The moment God is given the
throne of our life and is glorified in His sons, at that very moment, straightway,
we begin to dwell in God and glorification
begins its work in us. It is not
where we dwell in the natural that counts, but where our spirit dwells. If our dwelling place is in God, then we begin to live out of
the power of God which is the atmosphere of this new world.
Where grace is needed for any trial, we steadfastly draw upon His grace.
Where peace or joy is needed, it must flow forth from Him, for peace and
joy are the fruit of His Spirit within.
Where life and health are needed, we draw upon the life and power of the
resurrection, which He is, and which through Him dwells within us, that the Spirit
of Him who raised Jesus from the dead should quicken our mortal body by His
Spirit that dwelleth in us.
We know that Christ Himself from His riches in glory is the supplier of all
our need. Here in this blessed land of the Kingdom of Heaven we can
live as Jesus lived, who did always those
things that pleased the Father. In
like manner we also can follow His steps, doing only those things which are
given us of the Father, that sonship may
begin to manifest itself in us. Herein
is the righteousness of the Kingdom, not doing by laws, ordinances, regulations,
doctrines, or commandments of men those things we think please the Father, but pleasing the Father by doing only those
things which the Spirit of the Father instructs us to do.
It is a matter of life and nature, not of outward conformity.
Life on this high plane is THE LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD.
The liberty of the sons of God describes our position in the Kingdom of
Heaven. And it is into this
very liberty that all creation
shall, in God’s due time, find its place, as the apostle has said:
“In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than
nothing compared with the magnificent future God has in store for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of
the sons of God coming into their own.
The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses
to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited — yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and
decay, and have its share in that
magnificent liberty WHICH CAN ONLY BELONG TO THE SONS OF GOD!
It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all
created life groans in a sort of universal travail.
And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a
state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which
will mean that we have realized our full sonship” (Rom. 8:18-23, J. B.
Phillips). ALL CREATION SHALL HAVE ITS SHARE IN THE LIBERTY THAT BELONGS TO THE
SONS OF GOD! What a word that
is! Oh, Christ, what glory Thou
hast prepared for mankind! How
infinite is Thy love, how omnipotent Thy power, how all-inclusive Thy purpose,
and all Thy ways past finding out!
We are sometimes confused about this idea of freedom and liberty.
To some it means no limitations, nor restrictions, no holds — anything goes! I
have met men who thought that because they were “free” from the law that
they could therefore indulge their flesh and do any perverse or licentious
thing their carnal heart desired. But
there are two sides of liberty! The
apostle Paul reveals these two sides of liberty in Romans 6:14-18.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the
law, but under grace. What then?
shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his
servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto
righteousness? But God be
thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart
that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of
There is a freedom from and
there is a freedom unto. Should I drive on a highway where there is no speed limit I
am free from the law, free from any legal
limit on how fast I can drive.
Am I then free to drive as fast as I wish?
Should I then on bald tires and a wet road travel at 120 miles an hour
simply because there is no speed limit? By
no means! Though I am free from the legal
restraint of the speed limit, I am now limited by a number of other factors —
road conditions, visibility, safety and how fast the car
will go. There is no absolute
freedom anywhere in the universe! Absolute
freedom could not be a liberty that guarantees ones rights or secures ones
happiness — it would be anarchy.
When people live without any form of government it is called anarchy.
Some people believe that all forms of government are unnecessary.
They are called anarchists, and what they believe is called anarchism. An anarchist says that government or any kind of control
does more harm than good. He
believes that people will cooperate with each other and behave themselves
without rules of any kind. Anarchism
is as old as history. The Stoics, a
group of philosophers in ancient Greece, believed in a world without laws,
schools, or any force on the individual. Conditions
close to anarchy, however, have existed for short periods of time when a
government has just been overthrown, or after a great catastrophe, such as a
fire, flood or earthquake. History
proves that anarchy produces riots, looting, murder and every lawless
As a United States citizen I am not free, although I live in a so-called
“free country.” Nobody in the
whole world is a free man or a free woman.
We are called unto liberty and justice, but we are not absolutely free.
The impressive statue standing majestically in New York harbor is called
the Statue of Liberty — but it does not proclaim to those who sail past it,
escaping from some totalitarian regime, that in this land men are unconditionally
free. Liberty means to live in
a domain, an environment, a state of being wherein there are boundaries, and you
can freely move within those boundaries. When
a slave is set free he is released completely and forever from the bondage of
his former master, but as he goes out into society he discovers that he has
freedom from his past, but he is still
not free to do anything he pleases. He
is limited by his abilities and skills and by the availability of opportunity.
He cannot live anywhere he wants, and must be subject to the laws of the
land and the customs of society.
As a citizen of this country I am aware that there are boundaries, there
are restrictions and limitations. I
must pay taxes. There are speed
limits and stoplights. If I am a
felon I cannot run for the office of president.
Zoning laws do not permit me to build just any kind of house or put up a
business just any place I choose. THE
KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT ANARCHY! It
is a kingdom, a king’s domain, and in the Kingdom of God I am not free
from HIS LORDSHIP. As a matter
of fact, the better I know Him the more I come under bondage to Him.
Paul continually affirmed, “I am a bondservant
of Jesus Christ.” When you begin
to walk in liberty you recognize your boundaries.
Service men are often able to get “leave” for the weekend.
If they overstay their leave and fail to get back on time, there is a
penalty to be paid. And even while
on leave they remain subject to all the laws
governing men in the military. They
cannot abuse their liberty. They
have liberty but they still have to obey the rules and get back.
They are not free, but they do have liberty.
Salvation makes men free from sin and death, but the Kingdom of God is
not a realm of absolute freedom! The
Kingdom of God reveals a King in control. This
King has called us to be a people recognizing our liberty.
What happens when we go beyond the bounds of our liberty?
It is called trespassing. As you have walked along some street or road have you not
come upon a “No Trespassing” sign? You
have all the liberty you can want to walk all around that property.
You can stand just outside that property line and enjoy yourself to the
fullest. But the moment you step
over the property line you have trespassed. And so it is in the Kingdom of God! The Kingdom of God is first of all righteousness, and then peace,
and joy in the Holy Ghost.
The moment you step outside those boundaries you have trespassed!
Anything outside of the Holy Ghost does not pertain to the Kingdom of
God! Whatever is not of righteousness is not of the Kingdom but of the world.
It is a trespass. All that abides under the dark cloud of sorrow, despondency,
trepidation, depression, disquietude, fear or guilt is not of the Kingdom for it
lies outside the unspeakable joy that
is in the Holy Ghost. Frustration,
agitation, confusion, anger, and emotional outbursts are a trespass, for they
pertain to a realm outside the peace
of the Kingdom realm of God. The
Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Every precinct beyond these is trespass — you do not belong on that territory!
You have no right to be there! You
have entered another land, another country, another world without a valid
passport. You have been translated
into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, and you are a foreigner on any other
territory. You are no longer a
citizen of the realm of the flesh, of sin, of the world, of religion, or of
death. You do not belong there!
You have no right to be there. All
those realms are beyond the sphere of your liberty in Christ Jesus, the liberty
of the sons of God. If you subject
yourself to these it means bondage to a foreign power, to an alien domain. We cannot use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh.
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the
Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13).
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust
of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Ah,
there is the boundary of our liberty in Christ!
Liberty is in the spirit.
We are free to walk in the spirit and live in the spirit. We are not free
to walk in the flesh or live after the flesh.
The moment we step out of the spirit to walk after the flesh we have
trespassed beyond our liberty in the Kingdom of God.
Oh, the wonder of it! Oh,
the mystery of it! All creation
shall be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption and shall gain an
entrance into THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD!
All shall be the children of God and shall find their citizenship, their
residence, their eternal habitation in the righteousness, peace, and joy of the
Kingdom of God. All other realms,
above and beneath, shall be empty and desolate — eternally
uninhabited! Sin shall have no
slaves, death shall have no prey, hell shall have no prisoners!
What a hope!
SOULISH VS. SPIRITUAL
It is important to be able to distinguish between things that differ, for
appearances are not to be relied upon. Things
which seem to be alike may yet be opposite of each other.
A serpent may be like a stick, and a stone like an egg; but they are far
from being the same. Like may be
very unlike. Especially is this the
case in spiritual things, and without this understanding properly applied it is
impossible to discern the righteousness, peace, joy and power of the Kingdom of
God. Every heavenly reality may be
counterfeited, just as jewels can be imitated.
As zircons are wonderfully like real diamonds in appearance, so sham
graces are marvelously like the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Many men in false religions have a belief which is similar to faith, and
yet it is not the faith of the Son of God. Their
belief does not save, redeem,
quicken, deliver, or transform. Vast
numbers of people exhibit pious affections of love, joy, peace, righteousness
and power, but are quite destitute of the living presence and power of Christ Jesus the Lord.
They indeed have a soulish joy, a soulish
peace, or a soulish righteousness, but
not one that emanates out of a quickened
and regenerated spirit.
Every man is both soul and spirit, and each has its own set of
expressions and powers. Only the two-edged sword of the Spirit, which is the living
word of God, is able to divide and separate soul and spirit — distinguishing between what is
the expression of the soul and what is the manifestation of the spirit.
In this discernment between soul and spirit a man will need the mind of
Christ, or he will soon deceive his own heart.
I do not hesitate to tell you that many are already mistaken, and will
never discern their delusion till they lift up their eyes unto God on bended
knee, with a broken heart, and a contrite spirit, to humbly and earnestly seek
that wisdom which comes only from the heart of God.
Righteousness holds a very dominant position in the Kingdom of God.
It has a leading place of importance in the teaching of the King who will
allow no one to enter or rule in His Kingdom without a righteousness which
exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees (Mat. 5:20).
This same concern is uppermost in all those elect sons of God who shall
reign in the Kingdom. These hunger
and thirst after righteousness (Mat. 5:6) and seek first the Kingdom of God and
His righteousness (Mat. 6:33), knowing that in the Kingdom of God “the throne
is established by righteousness” (Prov. 16:12).
“Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a
sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).
The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness; then,
peace; and finally, joy, and all in the Spirit of God.
In the Kingdom of God righteousness is of supreme importance.
The very scepter of the King, Jesus, is a scepter of righteousness. The effect of righteousness is
peace. There can be no peace
where righteousness is not established. The
effect of peace is joy. There can
be no joy where there is no peace, but only confusion and every kind of trouble.
This order can never be reversed or rearranged.
Any joy that does not proceed from peace and righteousness is a carnal,
soulish, sensual joy. It can never
be the joy of the Kingdom of God! It
is a sham, a false joy, a mere pretense. Therefore,
the Kingdom of God with its marvelous peace, its wonderful joy and glory, is
rooted in the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and is being wrought in the
personalities of those who are becoming an integral part of God’s
Christ. The Kingdom of God is a glorious Kingdom of righteousness!
The Psalmist assures us that “The Lord shall endure for ever: He hath
prepared His throne for judgment. And
He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the
people in uprightness” (Ps. 9:7-8). The
deepest cry of every son of God is, “Give the king Thy judgments, O God, and
Thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He
shall judge Thy people with righteousness,
and Thy poor with judgment. The
mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by
righteousness” (Ps. 72:1-3).
As we look upon the sad earth today, it is plain for every eye to see
that, flowing from the corrupt minds of the corrupt rulers of every corrupt
government on earth, taught in the schools, practiced in business and in the
courts and propagated on every hand, we find the evil fruit of death manifesting
itself in lies, deceit, oppression, cheating, injustice, variance, murders,
adultery, uncleanness, drunkenness, perversion, idolatry, heresies, bigotry,
crookedness and sin of every kind. Everywhere
on the planet, in every nation under heaven, mankind is being overwhelmed by its
evil until the earth is filled with violence and the thoughts and imaginations
of men’s hearts are only evil continually.
Only with the mind of the Spirit may we imagine a world ruled by a
government such as is prophesied in the ninety-sixth Psalm, “Say among the
heathen that the Lord Reigneth: the world also shall be established that it
shall not be moved: He shall judge the
people righteously. Let the
heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness
thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall
all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for He cometh, for He cometh
to judge the earth: He shall judge the
world with righteousness, and the people with His truth” (Ps. 96:10-13).
Isaiah adds his prophetic voice, speaking of the many-membered Christ of
God, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him...and shall make Him of
quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the
sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness
shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth...and
righteousness shall be the girdle of
His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins” (Isa. 11:2-5).
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE
“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the
righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the
kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:20). The
righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees consists in following rules and
regulations that seek to govern actions in every conceivable circumstance of
life. The Kingdom requires a righteousness that exceeds that and is not founded on any rules or regulations imposed
from the outside. It must be a
righteousness of heart and nature. What
Is it obeying every little law, dotting your “I’s” and crossing
your “T's”? Is it when you
avoid every temptation to sin that comes your way, and live an absolutely
flawless life, pure in every thought and deed?
In my opinion that is a very negative definition of righteousness!
If you want a positive definition, look at the Gospel — the GOOD NEWS! Scrutinizing
everybody's life to make sure they don’t make one single mistake is definitely
news! It genders fear, intimidation, and condemnation.
Don’t look at what you shouldn’t do, look at what you should
do! If you are so busy doing what
you should, you won’t have the time,
energy, money, or will to do what you shouldn’t.
Righteousness is having the attitudes of Jesus.
How full He was of mercy, love, compassion, kindness, goodness,
forgiveness and graciousness! Righteousness
is saying, “What can I do to make a difference?
How can I help, lift, encourage, heal, restore, and bless mankind? How can I make the world a better and more beautiful place
around me? How can I practice righteousness?”
The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, it is not a matter of whether
you eat pork or drink wine, it is not a matter of whether you take communion on
Sunday, it is not external religion at all; it is not outward laws, forms,
rituals, traditions or observances; it’s not what you take off your face, what
you take off your ears, what you take off from around your neck; it’s not
clothes, make-up, or jewelry; and it’s not diet.
Then, what is it? Religion
is man trying his best to please God. Do
you know something? That is exactly
what religion was trying to do in Jesus’ day! It was trying its very best to please God! But except
your righteousness exceeds that of the
scribes and Pharisees, except your righteousness goes beyond all your sincere
and earnest efforts to please God, you
will in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven! There is a higher righteousness than that, a righteousness
that doesn’t arise from our own efforts or from outward conformity to laws and
commandments. It is the product of
the divine nature. “Everyone that
is born of God doeth righteousness,”
says the apostle John. He also says
that “God is love.”
In Isaiah 45:19 we read, “I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare
things that are right.” God is
righteous. That means He is always
right, He is never wrong. That
is what righteousness is — it is right-ness. God
is always right in everything He says and does.
He never makes a mistake. Sometimes
we wonder why God does things the way He does, and we may sometimes question
why; but He is never wrong, He is always right.
He cannot be wrong because He is absolute righteousness.
He acts out of divine wisdom, knowledge, understanding, goodness and
love. What a wonderful God!
What a marvelous Being to be able to trust in, to have as our God and
King, and to commit everything to Him, knowing He can never be wrong, He cannot
make a mistake, and all of His doings stream from His loving concern, from His
inscrutable wisdom, and His divine ability to do always and only what is best for
us. THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS HE IS
ASKING US TO SEEK. THIS IS THE
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS KINGDOM. THIS
IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS THRONE. THIS
IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF EVERY SON OF GOD WHO SHALL REIGN WITH CHRIST IN HIS
KINGDOM! What a goal God has set
before us! We must be like Him in all of our ways — that, precious friend of mine, is righteousness!
Why should men doubt the wisdom and love of God?
How dare they place a question mark after His beneficence?
Sometimes men’s doubts have arisen because they have listened to the
ambiguous oracles of nature, rather than the revelation of God in Christ Jesus.
Nature impresses men with the awful mystery, power and sovereignty of
God. The storm with its jagged
lightenings and rolling thunders, the proud mountains with their dizzy heights
mantled in snow, the heaving bosom of the ocean with its foam-crested waves,
yes, and the tiny violet on the hillside — these
eloquently proclaim a God of infinite power, wisdom and riches; but they do not
convince the unconverted heart of God’s infinite love.
The forces in nature that sometimes work for our good often turn about
and seem to work for our ruin and
destruction. The sunlight that
warms our fields to produce the golden harvests also beats down unmercifully
upon the earth and produces a dust bowl making thousands homeless and hungry.
The warm rains that help to germinate the seed that has been sown
sometimes come in ruinous abundance, producing floods in whose wake are
destruction, disease, despair and death. How
apparently contradictory! Possibly
in the midst of some tragedy you, too, are asking the question, “Is God
loving? Is God just? Is God righteous?”
“Why does God permit war?” you ask.
If He is a loving God, if He is all-righteous, why does He permit the
roar of bombers and the barking of guns to silence the joyous laughter of
innocent children? If God is a God of love and righteousness, why does He not
stop it all?”
We do not have the answer to many of the dark questions of life, for our
vision is so limited, and unlike God, we cannot see the end from the beginning.
Ah! If only we could see the
end — God’s glorious
end, then we would understand all the
“whys” and “wherefores” and how even all these things WORKED TOGETHER
FOR OUR GOOD. We do not have the
answer to many of the dark questions of life because we cannot fully understand
the wonderful interplay of God’s justice, chastisement, training, and mercy.
We only know that man has sinned, the whole planet is in rebellion,
mankind continually rejects the ways of the Lord and spurns the love of God, and
sin takes its awful toll, and all of nature is thrown into chaos in the process.
The ambiguous testimony of nature alone cannot supply you with an
adequate answer. Only those elect
saints who are spiritually enlightened can discern the love and wisdom and
righteousness of God, even in the adverse and fearful demonstrations of nature,
in the cruel and violent actions of men, and in the terrible judgment that
stalks through the earth. Ah, let
us turn from these oracles with their double and confusing answers and turn to
the only LIVING DEMONSTRATION of
the loving, wise, and righteous nature of God — a demonstration
that all the ages have not been able to contradict, namely, the great fact of
the incarnation; the deathless,
eternally glorious fact that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto
Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the
word of reconciliation...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” (II Cor.
5:19-21). “Herein is love, not
that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son...beloved, if God so
loved us, we ought also to love one another.
No man hath seen God at any time. If
we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and HIS LOVE IS PERFECTED IN US” (I
Jn. 4:10-12). Can words make it any
plainer that God’s love in Christ is given to pass into us and to become our
life? We shall then love God as He
loved us. And we shall then love
the world with the same love which God in Christ revealed upon the cross!
This, my beloved, is righteousness! This
is the righteousness, the right-ness, that exceeds
the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees! This is the righteousness by which God shall judge the world
through His sons! Hallelujah!
The righteousness of the Kingdom, therefore, can be experienced only by
the man who has submitted to the rule of God by the indwelling spirit of
holiness, and who has therefore experienced the nature and powers of God’s
Kingdom authority. It is by the
power of the inward reign of the spirit of HIS LIFE that the righteousness of
the Kingdom is to be attained! And contrary to what many preachers preach and most
Christians think, righteousness is not first of all soul winning, preaching,
prophesying, speaking in tongues, healing, casting out devils, establishing
churches, doing good works, nor any of the thousand and one other things
mistakenly imagined to be “fruit.” Righteousness
is, first and foremost, a state of being.
Righteousness is, above all else, a nature. Righteousness is not merely what a person does, but what he is.
It follows, however, that there is a doing
of righteousness which springs from the being
I have already pointed out that righteousness is RIGHT BEING...right
living, right attitude, right desire, right motive, right actions, a total
rightness in all things according to God’s standard and as an expression of
God’s nature. That is what God is
— righteous, right.
We are exhorted in the Word to seek and receive this same attribute.
And to be right doesn’t mean that all our doctrines must be absolutely
correct, or that we dress in a particular fashion, or that we don’t smoke,
drink or cuss, or that we observe certain religious traditions!
It means that you think, know, and act like God!
When you receive a new spirit, or right spirit, or Holy Spirit, you are
destined to right being and right doing; you are destined to righteousness.
David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). Ah, that is what we want!
The right spirit. That is
righteousness! Right being and
right doing are attainable on this earth right now because of the right spirit.
Who is the right spirit? Christ
is the right spirit, a new spirit, the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, the spirit
The gospel that Jesus preached was the gospel of the Kingdom.
He announced that He had come to found a Kingdom; He claimed the title of
King for Himself; and in the Sermon on the Mount He gave us the laws, the
principles, the very constitution of
that Kingdom. Well, what kind of a
Kingdom is it? Across millenniums
of time the answer of the great apostle Paul rings clear: “The kingdom of God
is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
There you have in one sublime statement the essence of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God is righteousness, or right-ness.
There is cruel wrong in this world of ours.
Man wrongs man, brother oppresses brother, nations war against and
oppress one another, bosses become hard taskmasters, taking advantage of
employees, pastors lord it over the flock and control and manipulate men’s
lives, husbands beat and abuse their wives, parents neglect their children.
The low realms of the earth are full of cruelty, maliciousness, violence,
lust and crime, and even in the midst of those who name the name of Christ there
is iniquity also. But the Kingdom
of God is righteousness and when His Kingdom comes tyranny, oppression, strife,
injustice and wrongs cease — men do right out
of the loving nature of the KING OF LOVE who reigns within. Forgiveness of sins does not secure such a transformation,
but when the Kingdom of God comes with power there is a mighty change!
Let one thing be abundantly clear — it is not just righteousness by man’s standard, not external obedience
to law, not outward conformity to society’s norms, not observance of
religion’s demands, not mere human goodness.
There is more than one kind of righteousness.
Paul says, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their
own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of
God” (Rom. 10:3). I tell you the
truth when I say that most of the “righteousness” taught by the church
system is a righteousness imposed and exacted by the traditions of the elders
and by the commandments of men. It
has nothing to do with the righteousness of God, being rather the religious
man’s own righteousness.
It is the same old righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees
accommodated to Christianity. The
righteousness of the Kingdom is found only in
the Holy Ghost. And it is found
there today, right now, for the Kingdom of God IS righteousness.
The Holy Spirit does not say that “the kingdom of God is righteousness
IN THE KINGDOM AGE.” Too long
preachers and believers have interpreted the Kingdom of God as a future,
physical, materialistic Kingdom, attainable only in some coming age.
God wants you to understand today that His Kingdom is not to be sought in
that realm. That would make His
Kingdom too cheap, materialistic, natural, worldly and earthly.
Oh yes, there are many
ages of the Kingdom yet to come, but all that the Kingdom is
IS IN THE HOLY GHOST! It is now,
and ever will be. When you enter
into the consciousness of God by the spirit you have stepped upon the territory
of the Kingdom. It is in
the Holy Ghost. Glory to God!
Righteousness is the work of the Spirit within us.
It is the result of the rising of Christ, “the Sun of righteousness,”
within us (Mal. 4:2).
When the Lord has fully transformed us and made us righteous within, we
shall then be clothed outwardly with “the robe of righteousness” which is
the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His love, holiness, power and
immortality. Then we, the body of
our glorious Head, shall be called, “The Lord our righteousness,” as the
prophet said, for we have been “made
the righteousness of God in Him.” What
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