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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The Righteousness of God,
The Fulfillment of the Righteous Requirement of the Law


< Romans 8:1-4 >

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”



Romans 8:1-4 tells us what kind of faith those who are in Christ have. The secret of this passage is that we can meet, with our faith in the righteousness of God, all the demands of the Law.

What, then, is the faith that believes in the righteousness of God? This is the faith that has received the remission of sins by believing in the baptism of Jesus and His blood, through which our Lord took away all the sins of the world. We can therefore win over sin by believing in Jesus, who has fulfilled all righteousness by pursuing the righteousness of God, as our Savior. This is the faith that follows God’s righteousness and our victory in faith.

First of all, Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” Those who dwell in Jesus Christ by believing in the righteousness of God assuredly have no sin. Such a faith is based on the baptism of Jesus and His blood that have fulfilled all the righteous requirement of the Law. Faith in the righteousness of God is the most pivotal faith to the born again saints. How else can mere mortals become sinless? And yet with their unwavering faith in the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ, their sins have all disappeared. This is because Jesus took upon on His flesh all the sins of the world through His baptism, for the sake of those who believe in the righteousness of God.

Romans 8:3 tells us that God sent “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin,” and that “He condemned sin in the flesh.” By condemning sin in Jesus’ “flesh,” in other words, God the Father passed all the sins of the world onto His only begotten Son. This Word of truth is revealed in Matthew 3:13-17 (a much more detailed discussion on this subject can be found in my book, “ Have You Truly Been Born Again of the Water and the Spirit?”). Those who believe in this truth have no sin, because God has forgiven all the sins of the world with His righteousness.



“O wretched man that I am!”


The passages from Romans 7:24 to 8:6 contain two very contrasting themes. One of them is a discussion of the problem of sin, in other words, the disobedience to God due to the lusts of his own flesh, and the other is a discussion of the solution to this problem of sin that he found in Jesus Christ.


Romans 7:24-25 says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” Paul cried out that he was a wretched man when he looked at his own flesh, but he thanked God because he was delivered from his flesh through Jesus Christ. We can also realize that even Paul served the law of God in his mind, but in his flesh he served the law of sin.

Paul confessed that his flesh was following the law of sin, unpleasing to God, instead of living a life pleasing to Him. And yet he said that in his mind he still followed the law of the Spirit of God. Sandwiched between these two laws, Paul felt wretched and desperate, but he nevertheless declared victory of faith by thanking God for delivering him from his sins through his faith in Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the righteousness of God.

Paul could give such thanks only because he believed that Jesus Christ has atoned all his sins as well as the sins of all mankind. To take upon these sins of the world, Jesus put into His body all the sins of the mankind by being baptized by John. And by being judged of sin on the Cross, He has saved all those who believe in Him from all the sins of the world. This is why Paul declared in Roman 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” That there is no condemnation means that there is absolutely no sin in those who believe in the righteousness of God. Those who are in Christ Jesus by believing in the righteousness of God can never have sin in their hearts. They may be weak in their flesh, but they have no sin whatsoever.

In contrast, condemnation means the existence of sin, that is, the state of being condemned. When someone does something wrong, we usually call it a sin. But it is because he does not believe in the righteousness of God that he is a sinner. Yet above passage tells us that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

This declaration is not, however, based upon the so-called Doctrine of Justification, which the world’s religions claim to stand for. ‘The credo of being regarded as righteous by faith’ means a hypothetical claims that God considers someone righteous even though he is not actually righteous and has sin in his heart just because of his faith in Jesus. But this is mistaken. How can God lie and call a sinner to be without sin? This He does not do. He would instead call such a sinner by saying, “You are facing your certain death from your sins; believe in My righteousness shown in the gospel of the water and the Spirit!”


Nowadays many people try to rationalize their mistaken faith and earn the righteousness of God by sticking to such doctrines. But this kind of faith is very wrong and dangerous. Were Jesus not the God of truth, He could perhaps call a sinner His follower. But you must realize that Jesus, the Truth, does not call a sinner righteousness and sinless. Calling a sinner righteous and sinless is impossible before the righteousness of God, His justice and holiness.

You must realize that your deliverance from sin comes not just by believing in Jesus, but by believing in the righteousness of God, which then becomes yours. Even if you believe in Jesus, God will not call you righteous if you do not know and thus not believe in the righteousness of God. But today’s reality is that such doctrines as the Doctrine of Incremental Sanctification and the Doctrine of Justification are accepted by many as the orthodox Christian doctrines. But few realize that such so-called orthodox doctrines can actually prevent one from knowing or earning the righteousness of God. By believing in these doctrines without realizing that they actually are against the righteousness of God, many people have failed to receive the righteousness of God, as such doctrines have ended up becoming their own stumbling blocks.

If you want to be a true Christian, you must measure yourself with the Word of God to see whether you are truly in Christ or not. And to do so, you must hear, see, and understand the Word of the water and the Spirit. Ask yourself, “Is my faith in Jesus a correct one? When I say that I believe in Jesus, am I not just practicing religion? Am I straddling halfway, neither in nor out of Jesus?” It is now time for you to receive the righteousness of God by believing in it and to dwell in the faith of truth that “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”


In Ephesians we can often encounter the passage, “through the redemption that is in Jesus.” This means that God has predestined and selected us in Christ Jesus to save us from all our sins. Those who have been atoned by the righteousness of God in Jesus and have entered into Christ are those whose sins have been completely blotted out. Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by our Lord, therefore, face no condemnation in Jesus Christ. When one believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he becomes the one who has received the righteousness of God in the Lord and who preaches this gospel.

Those who believe in the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ and who have entered into His open arms have no sin. This is the truth and the correct answer. Because Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross have made all the sins disappear for those who are in Christ by believing in the righteousness of God, it is impossible for them to have sin. Those who are in Christ therefore truly have no sin. This truth—that there is no sin for those who are in Christ—is the answer found in the Word of the water and the Spirit, and as such, there is nothing complicated about the problem of sin. When you believe in the righteousness of God revealed through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you too can become truly righteous. Know and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has the righteousness of God in it. You will then become a righteous saint who dwells in Christ.


Suppose that we are facing a very difficult problem. If we really want to find a solution to this problem, we must continue to search for the answer regardless of the difficulties and troubles that we might face. Similarly, those who believe in Jesus and yet have not entered into Him must search for the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

Some people think of Christianity just one of the many religions of the world, and try to find the solution to their sins by coming up and believing in such doctrines as the Doctrine of Incremental Sanctification. But they will soon realize that neither such doctrines nor their own righteousness can cleanse away their sins. They will instead discover that their problem of sin can easily be resolved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

If you want to be a true Christian, you must receive the righteousness of God by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in your heart. But the religious people try to earn the righteousness of God by measuring up to such doctrines as the Doctrine of Incremental Sanctification and the Doctrine of Justification, in their attempt to resolve all their problems of sin with their own works. Such faith comes to rely on the prayers of repentance, which ultimately cannot deliver them from their certain destruction because they become more and more sinful whenever they see their sins while resort to such prayers.

But those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, though they may be weak in their flesh, have resolved all the problems of sin by believing in the righteousness of God. Those who have received the righteousness of God by believing thus have no sin in their minds, and as such there is no condemnation against them.



Because the righteousness of God is in Jesus


Verse 2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” God has given man two laws, the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus and the law of sin and death. As Paul tells us, the law of the Spirit of life has freed us from the law of sin and death, from all our sins. You must realize and understand this truth spoken by Paul to receive new life. This truth applies equally to everyone in this world.

We, too, have been set free from the law of sin and death by believing in the law of the Spirit of life; otherwise, we would have reached our certain destruction under the law of sin and death. But by believing in our hearts in the righteousness of God in Jesus—that is, the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross—we have received His righteousness, come under the law of the Spirit of life, and received eternal life prepared for us. Where can you, then, find the gospel of the water and the Spirit that can forgive all your sins? This is in the baptism that Jesus received from John and the Cross on which He shed His blood. The righteousness of God, in other words, is found in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.


What, then, is the gospel of the righteousness of God that sets us free from the law of sin and death? It is the gospel that our Lord was born onto this earth, was baptized by John at the age of thirty to take upon all the sins of the world on Himself, was crucified on the Cross, and arose from death, all to deliver us from our sins—this is the gospel made of the righteousness of God.

God, knowing that mankind was bound to commit sin because of its weakness, has planned to save all the sinners from their sins by giving them the gospel of salvation that can set them free from the law of sin and death. This is precisely the gospel of atonement found in Jesus’ baptism by John and His blood on the Cross. By believing in this gospel, all men can be freed from the law of death of their sins—this righteousness of God is the law of life that has delivered the mankind from all its sins.

God gave to man the Word of the Law and has set that any failure to live by His Law would be a sin. At the same time, God has also set a law that can deliver sinners from their sins. This law of salvation is the truth hidden in the righteousness of God, the law of grace that gives eternal life to all those who believe in it. The law of atonement that God has set for the mankind is the law of faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit—that is, Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the    Cross—and this faith is the law of life that can clothe them the righteousness of God.

Who, then, can turn against this law of life? Anyone who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by God will be delivered from all the sins of the world, and by this faith he/she will receive the righteousness of God.

How has God given you the law of the Spirit of life? By sending His Son Jesus to this earth, born from a virgin, by putting all the sins of the world on Him through His baptism by John, by having Him die on the Cross for the wages of these sins, and by resurrecting Him from death—eliminating, thus, all the sins of world and making Jesus the Savior of the sinners. To all those who believe in this truth God has given forgiveness and new life, and this is the law of the Spirit of life that He has given to us.


What, then, is the law of sin and death? This is the commandments that God has given to the mankind. The Law set by God details His commandments on “do’s and don’t,” and any failure to deviate from these commandments would make it a sin, whose wages of death should be paid by punishment in hell.

Thus everyone was placed under the law of death, but Jesus Christ has delivered us from this law of death with His baptism and bloodshed on the Cross. There is no one but Jesus who can save sinners from their sins, and there is no other way but by the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Him that can deliver us from all our sins. You must therefore know and believe how Jesus came to this earth to save you, and what the righteousness of God is.

Nowadays, however, there are many who profess faith in Jesus and are in highly detailed knowledge of the Law—that is, the law of sin and death—and yet are completely ignorant of the gospel of the water and the Spirit that has delivered them from all their sins. Many still continue to believe in Jesus with this ignorance. From this we can see just how long the gospel of the water and the Spirit has been hidden. This gospel of the water and the Spirit is different from the gospel that contains faith only in the Cross. Many people place great importance only on Jesus’ blood on the Cross, but the Scripture tells us that Jesus bled on the Cross because He took upon all the sins of the world when He was baptized by John, not when He was crucified.


You must realize that this difference in knowledge makes all the difference between going to heaven and hell. It may look like a minor difference, but these two understandings profoundly differ from each other, entailing fundamentally different consequences. This is why when you wish to believe in Jesus as your Savior, you must center your faith around the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Only by doing so can you be delivered from all your sins. And yet all too often many who profess faith in Jesus nowadays continue to remain ignorant of the righteousness of God.

Such people try to stand before God as whole by attempting to commit as few sins as possible and by trying to be sanctified for themselves. But the righteousness of God is not something that can be attained by man’s own thoughts, efforts, or works. Only by believing in the truth of atonement hidden in the truth of the water and the Spirit can one attain the righteousness of God. The faith of those who try to sanctify themselves by following the Law is a foolish faith. There is no one who can follow all the requirements of the Law.



By condemning sin in Jesus’ flesh


Verse 3 says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” We can find out from this passage just how detailed Paul’s witnessing of the law of the water and the Spirit is. Here, Paul tells us how God the Father placed all the sins of the world onto Jesus: “By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”

What does it mean when it says that God condemned sin in the flesh? It means that God the Father sent His only begotten Son to this earth, had Him be baptized by John to place all the sins of the world onto His body, and thereby cleansed all the sins of the believers forever. This is why it says that “what the law could not do… God did.” God blotted out all the sins of the world by placing them on His Son. And by having Him die on the Cross and be resurrected from His death, all the sins disappeared.


This is the gospel of truth that saves you, and this gospel is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. What our Lord said to Nicodemus in John 3:5, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God,” is precisely this gospel. This gospel that manifests the righteousness of God was revealed when Jesus was baptized by John, bled on the Cross, and arose from death.

Matthew 3:15 says, “But Jesus answered and said to him (John the Baptist), ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.” This passage bears witness to the righteousness of God and its manifestation in Jesus. When Jesus came to the Jordan River from Galilee and tried to be baptized by John the Baptist, John refused to do so at first, asking, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus ordered John in severe tone by the following passage, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”

What, then, does “to fulfill all righteousness” mean? It means that Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of the world through His baptism received from John. When Jesus came up from the water after His having been baptized, the heavens were opened to Him and the Spirit of God descended like a dove. Then “a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” God was pleased by Jesus’ baptism through which He took upon Himself all the sins of the world. Here we see all three Persons of the Triune God together, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who have decided to save the mankind from its sins and to fulfill this promise.


The Scripture tells us that the heavens were opened to Jesus when He was baptized, and that a voice from the heaven declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” That is to say, God the Father was pleased by the fact that His Son took upon Himself all the sins of the world at once by being baptized by John. Because Jesus was thus baptized, and because by His baptism all the sins of the world were placed on His body, He fulfilled all righteousness by being crucified on the Cross and rising from death again.

In other words, Jesus was baptized by John to fulfill all the righteousness of God. He then died on the Cross. This baptism and this death were meant to fulfill all the righteousness of God. Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of the world with His baptism, and this is how He could bleed on the Cross. And by resurrecting from death, He fulfilled all the wills of God.

“All the righteousness of God” means the act of delivering the mankind from all its sins. To fulfill this righteous act, Jesus took over the sins of all people with His baptism and bled on the Cross. All the righteousness of God was fulfilled by the most just and proper method. The baptism, blood, and the resurrection of Jesus are what fulfilled the righteousness of God, and this righteousness of God has made us sinless, placing in us the very righteousness of God. The Triune God planned this, Jesus fulfilled this, and the Holy Spirit bears witness to its righteousness even as now. You must believe in the Word that God sent “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”


Ask yourself. Ask yourself if you think you can really follow all the commands of the Law perfectly for the rest of your life. You will, of course, do your best to follow them, but you will never be able to live by the Law completely. When you break the smallest detail of the Law, you are breaking all of the Law (James 2:10), and this is why everyone without exception ends as a complete sinner under the Law.

You may be sincere in your desire to follow the Law and do your best, but the righteousness of God that He demands from us is never attainable by following the Law. You must realize that the only reason why God gave us His Law is so that we may come to recognize our sins. Because we are weak in our flesh, no one can follow the Law of God to its fullest extent.

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This is why God, to deliver us deep from our sins, sent His Son to this earth and had Him be baptized by John to take upon everyone’s sins. By having Him baptized in His flesh, in other words, all the sins of the world was placed on His flesh. This is why the Scripture tell us that God “condemned sin in the flesh” of Jesus, and this is how God has made us sinless.

We must know and believe in how God has made our sins disappear. By having His Son be baptized by John, the representative of the mankind, God placed all our sins on Jesus. He then had Jesus carry all the sins of the world to the Cross, and, to pay their wages in our stead, bleed and die on it. And by His resurrection from death, He opened the way to redemption for all those who believe in it. God has thus planned and thus carried out our salvation from sin.


We must therefore believe in our hearts that the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross were meant to be our atonement. Those who believe in the righteousness of God must surely believe in Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross.

You, too, must believe accordingly, to receive the remission of all your sins and to be perfectly justified and be sinless. You must correctly understand how God has made your sins disappear, and follow His will and believe in it before God, rather than believing in your own efforts.

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