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The Righteous One

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

     It is great to be together again as we look into the Word of God. The title for the lesson is, “The Righteous One,” and our text is taken from the first epistle of John chapter two and verses one through six. Listen to the Word of God.

     My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ the righteous one.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says: I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him, whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.  This is the Word of God. May he add his blessing to the public reading of his Word.

     As born again believers, we are no longer under the condemnation of sin, no longer slaves to sin, no longer slaves to Satan. We do not even have to sin. We do, but no one forces us to sin. It is our choice.  And we should be sinning less and less as we grow, as we mature spiritually in our sanctification, process of sanctification with the help of the Holy Spirit of God.  For example, as the Holy Spirit imparts the fruit of the Spirit of self control.

     The apostle John’s strong love for his spiritual children is evident in his tender words and caution and counsel. In 1 John chapter two and verse one it reads, in part: My dear children.  This is the way, the tone of a tender hearted father who addresses his children not talking down to them, but instead full of affection and concern. And God our Father desires to address his children, including us, in the same way. I write this to you so that you will not sin. The apostle John wrote to them and he write to us, by extension, to challenge us, to encourage us, to consistent holiness, that we would not let sin reign in our mortal bodies.  We should not be in bondage to sin.

     He goes on to write: But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ the righteous one.  Not only do believers have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us, to guide us, to direct us into holy lives, but we also have a defense attorney, an advocate, an intercessor in heaven at the right hand of God that has the Father’s ear, so to speak, even Jesus Christ the Son of God.  Since saints, born again believers, still sin we still have a prosecutor, an accuser, Satan, who greatly desires to fill us full of guilt, fill us with shame and to destroy our faith and our hope.  However, genuine Christians, by the grace of God, through faith, have had our condemnation lifted. We in Christ have been declared not guilty, pardoned through obedient faith in Christ Jesus and by his atoning work upon the altar of the cross on our behalf.  Our Redeemer and Savior has already suffered our penalty. He took the wrath of God. He appeased the wrath of God on the cross at Calvary in our place.  And we cannot be tried again for this case, for our case, our individual case is no longer on the docket. It is finished, once and for all for us who are in Christ Jesus, who have been converted, justified, declared righteous by the blood of Jesus applied to our sin slate by the grace of God through obedient faith. Our sin has been paid for in full, effectual for those who receive God’s pardon through having received Jesus Christ in saving faith as the Lamb of God offered his body and blood as a sacrifice on the cross on our behalf. Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father and he remains our intercessor, our mediator because his death fully satisfied God’s wrath due to our sin.  So even though believers still sin, our intercessor defense attorney always wins acquittal for those who remain faithful to him. And our faithfulness is proved, validated, verified in that we are diligent confessors of our sin, not desiring to abuse God’s grace by indulging in unconfessed, habitual sin. Because Jesus Christ is the righteous one, who was and is absolutely sinless himself, he never ever loses a case regarding any one of us who remain faithful in him. We are eternally secure and safe in Christ Jesus as we persevere in the faith in Christ Jesus. 

     In 1 John chapter two and verse two it says: He is the atoning sacrifice or propitiation for our sins.  Christ could never make his case for believers as our divine defense attorney if he had not turned the wrath of God from sinners to himself, thus winning our pardon, our redemption.  Jesus Christ made satisfaction or appeasement for our sins to fully satisfy, placate an absolutely holy and just God who must punish sin, whose wrath was on the sinner until we were and our redeemed in Christ Jesus by his blood.  Jesus Christ is our mercy seat Savior. Every sin ever committed by every person will be punished in one of two ways.  Either an absolutely holy God’s wrath will be satisfied when all unrepentant unbelievers suffer eternally in hell or, number two, all repentant believers are pardoned because God’s wrath, which still was appeased and is appeased by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross on our behalf.  Either way God’s wrath for sin must be paid for, no exceptions. God is love.  However, God also is holy, holy, holy and a just God and justice must prevail regarding sin to an absolutely holy God.  Sin cannot go unpunished. 

     In the last part of 1 John chapter two and verse two it says, in part: And not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.  This statement has led many to believe in the universal salvation for everybody, Universalism. However, this is a false doctrine. This is a false teaching.   This is not true. The whole counsel of God reveals many that even most will suffer in an eternal hell for everlasting punishment. The savior’s sacrifice potentially is for all, for the world. But Christ’s sacrifice is only effectual through individual, personal repentance and faith as baptized believers. The whole world, therefore, here is generic in meaning. Mankind in general, but not referring to every single individual.  Whosoever are the ones that will be saved. Whosoever believe and repent. Christ’s death, in itself, had unlimited, infinite value only because Jesus Christ is God in bodily form and fully human who never sinned, the sinless one, the second, the last Adam who perfectly obeyed God in every moral and ethical way.

     Therefore, his, Jesus Christ’s, one atoning sacrifice in his blood was more than sufficient to pay the penalty for all sin of all mankind, once and for all. 1 John chapter two and verse three says: We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  A pattern of obedience proves saving faith. Therefore, if there is no pattern of obedience, there is no saving faith.  We need to remember that this does not say: We think or we hope or we wish. No. It says: But we know. There is certainty. There is surety. There is assurance that we know him, the Lord, Jesus Christ in saving faith because we obey him.  A pattern of an obedient life to God’s commands should prove to us, as we mature, as we understand this better, as we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, should prove to us that we are genuinely born again believers and have assurance of that fact, of that reality that we belong to God, that we are no longer alienated from God, no longer enemies of God, but, in fact, friends, even family of God, sons and daughters, adopted into the family of God by the blood of Jesus on our behalf. And so we can have assurance of our salvation. This is one of the tests of our maturing, genuine saving faith. 

     In verses four and five we have the test personally applied to us.  First, negatively, the man who says: I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar.  The negative test. Secondly, we have the positive test in verse five. But if anyone obeys his Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.  This is how we know we are in him. Those two words in English “in him” refer to a personal, intimate, saving relationship. It is not about a ritual. It is not about a rule or a regulation.  It is about a relationship in Jesus Christ as our Savior and our Lord.  And as we grow and mature in that same relationship, we should have growing, in fact, real assurance of our salvation in Christ Jesus for his work on our behalf on the cross. 

     Satanic deception is bad enough.  But self deception, claiming to know him but living habitually, patternistically, a disobedient life is a farce. It is not a born again believer. It does not describe a born again believer.  Of course, we may backslide for a season, but eventually we repent, we confess our sin.  We have godly sorrow for our sin. We come to our senses.  And we live for the Lord. He died for us that we may live for him.  Obviously there is the possibility for the believer to commit apostasy and then when we apostatize we no longer desire to confess and repent, no longer desire to live for the Lord, no longer desire to have Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. That is when we know that we have committed apostasy. There is no longer even the guilt. We seek to live by the flesh, have gone back to the world.

     However, God demands godly conduct.  Belief must be backed up by behavior, holiness, not worldliness. We are not saved by obedience.  But the obedience points back to saving faith and we are saved through faith. We are saved, actually, by the grace of God but it is through faith. 

     In verse six it says: The test of genuine faith is exemplified in our perfect example, that is Jesus Christ, where it says: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.  Notice must. This is a mandatory, not optional. We walk or we live as Jesus did. That is, we are over time in the process of our sanctification, we are striving and struggling to be conformed to the likeness of Christ in his character, growing in the mind of Christ. We can never in this life be sinless, perfectly sinless, but we can live a pattern of habitual holiness. And God knows if we are striving and struggling to live as Jesus would want us to morally according to Scripture. Ours is not a temporary, shallow, superficial profession of faith. Ours must be a permanent, deeply committed, deeply convicted commitment to Jesus Christ, because our faith is genuine. Therefore, we continue to confess our sins and strive to sin less and less, because we genuinely love our Lord whom is our Lord and master.  He does exercise lordship over us and we obey him. 
     If this is our mindset and our lifestyle, this should be a powerful proof to us of assurance, of certainty of our salvation in Christ Jesus and also a powerful witness to the world.

 

      David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.

 




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33