Filthy Sheep Wool: A Deadly Self-Defence

The human heart can cause the mind to conveniently forget our own unrighteousness as a self defense mechanism when we feel hurt or wronged .  Seldom do we see how we contributed to a situation. We even feel what we call “righteous indignation” if we think we did not deserve something. We tend to desire vengeance for our pain because this feels righteous to us.  We think we are pretty good people. We judge others on their actions but appeal to grace and mercy for our own failures because we judge ourselves by our intentions (regardless of our motives).  Is this because the old nature can imagine the potential wickedness in our neighbour? Or is it the moral law written in the heart that demands justice? Do our hearts deceive us into thinking we are innocent?  Does iniquity honour the desires of self above righteousness?

There is hope in Scripture: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:6 NKJV.

Another well quoted Scripture states” “…we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” – Isaiah 64:6 NKJVIf human beings are innately so wicked, why does God desire relationship with us?

Please pray that the LORD through His Holy Spirit will enable us to receive what His Word says. There is only one true teacher and that is the LORD. The LORD uses humans to spread His Word and it is the Spirit of the LORD that does the work.

Definitions for Our Righteousness and Our Iniquities

These definitions are provided as a reference when reading about righteousness as it pertains to God, humanity and the enemy. The outline today is as follows: (1) The Righteousness of God in Creation; (2) The Righteousness of God in His Character (3) The Righteousness in Permitting Choice & Judging It; (4) Our Righteous Reponses from the Fruit of the Spirit; and, (5) Additional Scriptures on HOW We Can Righteously Respond.

Our Righteousnesses (Strong’s Definitions H6666) – צְדָקָה tsᵉdâqâh, tsed-aw-kaw’; from H6663; rightness (abstractly), subjectively (rectitude), objectively (justice), morally (virtue) or figuratively (prosperity):—justice, moderately, right(-eous) (act, -ly, -ness).

  • Note:  The root word H6663 is צָדַק tsâdaq, tsaw-dak’; a primitive root; to be (causatively, make) right (in a moral or forensic sense):—cleanse, clear self, (be, do) just(-ice, -ify, -ify self), (be turn to) righteous(-ness).

Unclean (Strong’s Definitions H2931) – טָמֵא ṭâmêʼ, taw-may’; from H2930; foul in a religious sense:—defiled, infamous, polluted(-tion), unclean.

Our Iniquities (Strong’s Definitions H5771) – עָוֺן ʻâvôn, aw-vone‘; or עָווֹן ʻâvôwn; (2 Kings 7:9; Psalm 51:5 7), from H5753; perversity, i.e. (moral) evil:—fault, iniquity, mischeif, punishment (of iniquity), sin.

  • Note:  The root word H5753 is עָוָה ʻâvâh, aw-vaw’; a primitive root; to crook, literally or figuratively: —do amiss, bow down, make crooked, commit iniquity, pervert, (do) perverse(-ly), trouble, × turn, do wickedly, do wrong.

As Filthy (Strong’s Definitions H5708) – עֵד ʻêd, ayd; from an unused root meaning to set a period (compare H5710, H5749); the menstrual flux (as periodical); by implication (in plural) soiling: —filthy.

The Righteousness of God in Creation

The truth is all that God created was good and perfect at its origin.  He created living beings capable of having relationship with Him for His pleasure (and to be mutually satisfying).  He allows freedom to operate as individuals within the parameters He sets for them in His creation. We should all long to be reflections of our Creator because He is good; it is righteous to want to be holy because He is Holy.  That said, it is essential for us to remember that the creation cannot be the Creator.   Being made in His image, we have an innate desire to govern, to have relationships, to express emotion, etc.  Looking at the word ‘govern’ biblically, we understand its meaning is to rule over, to sit upon, to constrain under the will of its ruler.  There is nothing wrong with individuals wanting this type of authority because the desire itself is God given.  And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” – Revelation 5:10 NKJV.

The Bible states that it is God who appoints authority (Romans 13:1-3) and it is for His purposes (even evil rulers – consider the LORD permitted the enemy to be the prince of the power of the air for a time (Ephesians 2:2; John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11).  Iniquity perverted the “ruling” desire by introducing the pretense of being autonomous (having the right/power of self-government; existing/capability of existing independently without God). It is impossible for creation to be autonomous since all of creation is sustained by God; He is the life source. 

  • Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV
  • He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, – Colossians 1:15-19 NKJV
  • The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. … And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, “Let all of God’s angels worship him.” … But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil”…. He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands.” – Hebrews 1:3-10 NLT

Scripture tells us the devil originally, named Lucifer, was created perfect and was so taken by his own perfection that he desired to ascend to a place higher than God’s throne and be like God.    

  • You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. – Ezekiel 28:13-15 NKJV
  • “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. – Isaiah 14:12-15 NKJV
  • And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. – Luke 10:18 NKJV

Till Iniquity (Strong’s Definitions H5766) – עֶוֶל ʻevel, eh’-vel; or עָוֶל ʻâvel; and (feminine) עַוְלָה ʻavlâh; or עוֹלָה ʻôwlâh; or עֹלָה ʻôlâh; from H5765; (moral) evil: —iniquity, perverseness, unjust(-ly), unrighteousness(-ly); wicked(-ness).

Note:  The root word H5765 is עֲוַל ʻăval, aw-val’; a primitive root; to distort (morally):—deal unjustly, unrighteous.

Note: Note the differences between references to the enemy (H5766 & H565) versus the fallen man (above H5771 & H5753). Is there are reason the Old Testament Hebrew uses two different words for iniquity?

  • And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. – Revelation 12:7-10 NKJV

The entire context of the earlier mentioned Scripture from Isaiah should be reviewed. 

  • For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him. You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. You are indeed angry, for we have sinned–In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. Do not be furious, O LORD, Nor remember iniquity forever; Indeed, please look–we all are Your people! – Isaiah 64:4-9 NKJV

When the prophet Isaiah wrote these words by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit upon him, the nation of Israel was already divided under two Jewish leaders; by the northern and southern kingdoms. Isaiah’s message from the LORD was first of rebuke; then of the Promise of the Christ – Emanuel – and His Kingdom (Isaiah 7:1 – 12:6); then of judgement for rebellion against the Lord’s ways (occurred already); and finally culminating with the prophetic message of everlasting deliverance for the righteous and judgment of the unrighteous (Isaiah 58:1-66:24)

The children of Israel were unrepentant and idolatrous.  Since the fall of humanity, people have longed to be self-ruling and self-adoring without the LORDSHIP of our transcendent God who has moral laws. The children of Israel, who God loved and loves, were no worse than humanity is overall today.

There is a distinction between the seal of the Holy Spirit sent by God the Father upon believing Jesus Christ is the risen Son of God. This is know as the Spirit within and every believer has this at the time of salvation.

The Spirit upon is an anointing which manifests in may ways. For further reading on spiritual gifts that are available please read 1 Corinthians 12 and note the purpose for the same.

Isaiah, having seen a vision of the LORD (Isaiah 6), had just a glimpse of the awesomeness of God. When he offered that prayer for help (Isaiah 64:4-9), Isaiah understood when mankind “remembered” to adhere to God’s moral code (including repentance after failing), God was pleased. This speaks to God’s graciousness and mercifulness and His understanding of our current condition. In contrast, Isaiah admitted the people’s best deeds were coming from a guilty people and likens that to the impurity of soiled menstrual cloths (refer to above definitions – filthy). Implicit within Isaiah’s prayer is humanity’s “forgetfulness” which produces an absence of fear of the LORD.

People either become more casual or mechanical about anything that is familiar to them because they wrongfully think the familiar is common. This can be applied to how people treat each other or even worship. The LORD Almighty longs for intimidate relationship with His creation and this should never be treated as “common” or “routine“. Be assured, if the LORD revealed His glory to you right now, your body would tremble in awe (Revelation 1:17). There is nothing common about our LORD. We simply need to meditate on who He is. When we read His Word and reflect on His goodness in our lives, we will remember.

  • Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, – Isaiah 29:13 NKJV 3

If you remember one thing from this blog, remember this:

Above any duty or service you can perform for our Saviour, The LORD desires your Respect and adoration of Him as preeminent in your heart which will naturally result in obedience and communion with him.

The Righteousness of God in His Character

Only the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is righteous. We cannot be righteous because we are not impartial nor innocent; but we can have righteousness fill us. And from this, we can do righteous deeds unto Him. That’s part of God’s righteous plan for us.

When the Word of God informs us that we become the righteousness of God – in Christ – through Christ’s sacrifice, it means we are positionally righteous because we are in Him and He is in us. Without Him we are not righteous; sanctification does not make us more righteous. Sanctification purifies our motivates; it helps us be holy. With purer motives we can do the work He ordained for us to do unto Him out of love for Him; not as a way to earn righteousness. God declares us righteous because Christ’s shed blood that covers our sin is completely sufficient. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. – 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

Righteousness is Stong’s Definition G1434 – δικαιοσύνη dikaiosýnē, dik-ah-yos-oo’-nay; from G1342; equity (of character or act); specially (Christian) justification:—righteousness. Reviewing G1342 δίκαιος  díkaios, dik’-ah-yos; equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively):—just, meet, right(-eous).

We know we are not impartial in our hearts. He is impartial in observing His divine laws. His goodness and righteousness is not changed by emotion.

We can not earn God’s righteousness because righteousness is part of God’s character. God commands us to be holy in this life because we can be holy. While there are 17 different words for ‘holy’ in Scripture, there are two definitions that have the same meaning and are applicable for the verses that command us to be holy (in the two covenants/testaments):

  • because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16 NKJV
  • ‘Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. – Leviticus 20:7 NKJV

Note the use of awful (full of awe) the Stong’s Definitions. While the word ‘awful’ is colloquialized in some languages today, it is not horrible unless one is afraid of the that which inspires the awe. Awe is an overwhelming feeling of reverence and admiration produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful.

Strong’s Definitions G40 – ἅγιος hágios, hag’-ee-os; from ἅγος hágos (an awful thing) (compare G53, G2282); sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated):—(most) holy (one, thing), saint.

Strong’s Definitions H6918  קָדוֹשׁ qâdôwsh, kaw-doshe’; or קָדֹשׁ qâdôsh is sacred (ceremonially or morally)  and is from H6942 – קָדַשׁ qâdash, kaw-dash’; a primitive root; to be (causatively, make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally):—appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy(-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify(-ied one, self), × wholly.  In Hebrew Scripture it used in the following manner: sanctify (108x), hallow (25x), dedicate (10x), holy (7x), prepare (7x), consecrate (5x), appointed (1x), bid (1x), purified (1x), miscellaneous (7x).

Therefore, God is the only one righteous and His goodness/grace extended to mankind is His righteous works. He has fulfilled and is fulfilling what He declared. He sees us as the product of His work and therefore He has declared us to be His righteousness, His righteous work. He has commanded us to be holy/set apart and consecrated to Him. His Word/His Son is righteousness revealed. He says what He means and means what He says; there is no deceit in Him. His righteousness is seen in His keeping of His Word. Praise God, He said He no-one can ever snatch/pluck us out of His hands! John 10:28-29.

  • The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. – Psalm 19:7-9 NKJV
  • The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works. – Psalm 145:17 NKJV
  • But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD. – Jeremiah 9:24 NKJV

By believing God, He credits our belief in Him as righteous. When we believe God (His character, His Word/His Son) righteousness is imputed to us as it was to Abraham (Romans 4:22-25 NKJV) . We are appointed to righteousness; appointed to God; appointed to be kings and priests unto God.

One of God’s names is Jehovah Tsidkenu which is translated as the LORD our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16).

Our righteous LORD gave the law as a way to show mankind how they broke His laws (transgressed) which resulted in broken relationship. Knowing that humanity would not be able to keep the moral law (ten commandments), additional laws for repentance and reconciliation were provided. Our gracious LORD loves us so much that He provided the way for fallen humanity to remain in relationship with Him righteously.

  • Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.”
  • Tsedek (tseh’-dek), from which Tsidkenu derived, means “to be stiff,” “to be straight,” or “righteous” in Hebrew. When the two words are combined – Jehovah Tsidkenu 
  • What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” … Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. – Romans 7:7, 12 NKJV
  • And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” … Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. … What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. … But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. … And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:8, 13-14, 19, 23-24, 29 NKJV

Leviticus mainly outlines God’s prescribed methods of worship in the tabernacle which is God teaching the children of Israel how to be able to commune with God in their state. It also contains laws pertaining to maintaining the physical body and celebratory feast days honouring God’s provision. Moses provided instructions on how both leaders and non-leaders were to seek forgiveness through offerings/sacrifices when a commandment of the LORD was unintentionally violated.  It becomes clear that there is general pattern for how the LORD generally prescribed reconciliation:

  • first sin had to be dealt with (either a sin offering or guilt offering);
  • then the commitment of the worshiper to God (burnt offering and grain offering); and,
  • then the fellowship/communion between the LORD was to be established (the fellowship offering). 

Feast Days are a Holy Convocation

Convocation is מִקְרָא miqrâʼ, mik-raw’; and is defined in Strong’s Definitions (H477)- something called out, i.e. a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place); also a rehearsal:—assembly, calling, convocation, reading.

The feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost/Feast of Weeks have had New Testament fulfillment as “types”. There may be more to these feasts in the coming years. Very exciting: Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles

Notice once the penalty was paid and cleansing complete, the people could join the celebratory feasts. In Isaiah’s time, the adherence to God’s laws were either not followed or combined with other religions/idolatry. This was not new to humanity; it was a result of the the fall. Does disregard for God’s Word or compromise with the world sound familiar in our culture today? We should love all people and disagree where beliefs do not align to Scripture because love tells the truth.

  • How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? Selah But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD. – Psalm 4:2-5 NKJV

This sacrificial system was a picture/foreshadow/type of what our LORD completed for us at Calvary by being the righteous and perfect sacrifice.  While the sacrificial system for the children of Israel under the ceremonial law is not applicable to the Church, (Ephesians 2:8 E; Romans 3:24) adherence to the moral law of God remains (Exodus 20:3-17) as is the concept of humility, repentance, and purity as true spiritual worship.  

  • you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:5 NKJV
  • God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24 NKJV
  • For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. – Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. … I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past. … I said in my heart, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” ECCLESIASTES 3:11, 14-15, 17 NKJV

These Old Testament sacrifices temporarily appeased God’s wrath against man’s unrighteousness so that God could bless them instead of consuming them. God prepares the way; all we have to do is follow. With the final atonement completed by our LORD Jesus Christ, we now have the Holy Spirit within us who helps us apply the law of God to our daily lives in obedience to Scripture (Matthew 22:37-40) . Our righteousness remains as filthy rags, yet hidden in Christ we become the righteousness of God in Christ. What a thought! As the LORD works within my heart to reveal its hidden things, I know I am nowhere near perfect/righteous in of myself, and yet I am being perfected by Him. In fact, none of us can be perfect in the body.

The Righteousness in Permitting Choice & Judging It

Was the LORD good and righteous to place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden?  If God is omniscient and He is purposeful in His creation, then what was the purpose of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

  • And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. … Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” – Genesis 2:9, 15-18 NKJV

The Godhead had expelled Satan from his role as the cherub that covered and he now ruled the air with those who followed him (Revelation 12:7-10), but God had given authority of the earth to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28).  Our loving LORD established protective boundaries that included one safety restriction, namely to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  This restriction was given by God who walked and talked with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8).  If they believed and remembered God’s character and His Word, they would have remained innocent of evil and would have obeyed (Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:6-7). Did you notice the tree if life was also available? They decided to disobey God and doubted the consequence; they were deserving of death (Hebrews 3:12; Titus 1:15; Revelation 21:8).  True obedience is obeying God’s Word without needing to know why; it’s believing God; it’s trusting God.  We learn the fear of the LORD by understanding His character – we gain understanding of the LORD through His Word (Job 28:28; Psalms 19:9; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 9:10).  When we understand His unchanging character, we trust Him.   

God’s purpose in permitting the testing and the fall of humanity was:

  • to demonstrate His goodness in creating beings who had the freedom of choice within God given parameters (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Corinthians 3:6; John 6:63; 1 Corinthians 15:45; Psalms 51:12; Romans 8:2, 15-16); and,
  • to glorify His name because of His matchless redemptive love that is completely righteous in the legal judgment of humans and angels (Revelation 5:13; Isaiah 6:2-3; Matthew 6:10, 13; Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 20:10).

Satan’s rebellion against God stemmed from his pride and desire to leave the boundaries God had established for him.  In the garden, Satan possessed the serpent and set out to create doubt in humanity about God’s command by engaging in conversation questioning the Word of God.  I am seriously cautioned within me to heed this profound warning about arguing with the Word:

When a human being’s sinful heart seeks to fulfill its intentions above that which God commands, it gives itself consent to rebel against His authority by (1) questioning the validity of the Word, (2) the legitimacy of the penalty, or (3) the interpretation of God’s intention. 

  • Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” … Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1, 4-5 NKJV

Both the enemy and the fallen heart of man seek to dethrone God as The Supreme Authority and exalt their own desires – and – both hope that the penalty will be less than what God has stated (wickedly wanting to manipulate God’s grace).  Praise God for the liberty we have in Christ, and still, there is no licence to sin.  (Romans 6:1-14).  If we are going to reign with Him as kings and priests unto God, we need to be able to willingly submit the seat of our affections to the LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ.  Praise God, we have the Holy Spirit as our helper and if we fail, we can boldly approach the throne of grace because of our Great High Priest in heaven (Hebrews 4:14-16).  Grace is the strength we need to live a holy life now.

Christ used the example of sheep to characterize humanity’s need of Him, the Good Shepherd. (Matthew 10:16; Matthew 18:12-13; Matthew 25:32-33; Matthew 26:31; Mark 6:34; John 10:2-4, 7-8, 11-16, 26-27). There is no offense here because He is referred to as the righteous Lamb of God. Generally, sheep are intrinsically dirty because they have no ability to clean themselves. The very lanolin oil they produce traps dirt particles and microorganisms in their wool; their wool is their defense against temperature extremes. Without a shepherd sheering the wool, they are doomed to die from overheating, infections, or predators that prey on their immobility caused by the weightiness of their wool. Friends, we are unrighteous and unable to clean ourselves but our Saviour cleansed us from unrighteousness imputing His own righteousness and He seats us with Him in heavenly places.

Aren’t you so very thankful that the incarnated Christ was tempted (Matthew 4:1-1) in every way we can be tempted (lust of the eyes, lust of flesh and pride of life) yet He overcame the deceiver by the Word of God. Notice when the enemy approached Christ to deceive Him, the enemy misapplied the Word of God (quoting from Psalms) as a way to give licence to sin. Christ quoted from the book of the law/Deuteronomy to defeat the temptation.  This verse should be committed to memory:  “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. – Revelation 12:11 NKJV

The enemy is the accuser of the saints and the father of lies (Revelation 12:10; John 8:44) and he knows that his rebellion is without excuse because:

  • God created humans lower than the angels and He permitted free choice to obey or sin, yet some are drawn to willingly obey the LORD;
  • God permitted humanity to be tested by the enemy – humanity’s fall was initiated by the devil’s temptation whereas Satan tempted himself;
  • The Son of God became the Son of Man and did not succumb to the temptation to exalt Himself above the will of God;
  • God paid the penalty of sin (which was death) when He incarnated the fullness of His nature into a human body so that the payment was “kin” to humanity;
    • Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come–In the volume of the book it is written of Me–To do Your will, O God.’ ” – Hebrews 10:5-7 NKJV
    • Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; – Colossians 2:8-9 NKJV
  • God redeems human beings who freely accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God; He seals and sanctifies them by His Holy Spirit;
  • God’s plan allows redeemed humans to take responsibility for our iniquity by confessing our errors to the LORD and submitting to His Lordship. We know we cannot be God;
  • God’s declaration of salvation is and has been righteously fulfilled.

God is fully righteous to judge the enemy and those who follow him – and – save those who bow their hearts willingly to serve the LORD. The accuser of mankind tries to use mankind’s failures as evidence to excuse himself and challenge God’s love for us. God’s love, righteousness and wisdom is perfect and He has set a date to pronounce righteous judgement.

If you have not confessed Jesus Christ as your personal LORD and Saviour, please visit  https://desiringfruitfulness.ca  and scroll down to the “THE WAY to Reconciliation with God” section for steps on how this is possible.

  • For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. – Isaiah 61:11 NKJV
  • Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. – Revelation 19:7-8 NKJV
  • After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” – Revelation 7:9-12 NKJV

Our Righteous Reponses from the Fruit of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit helps us to overcome the temptation to give into the idolatrous nature of mankind.  This nature has a tendency to forget the goodness and love of God, and to focus on prideful desires. There are plenty of “good” desires that aren’t God’s desires for us. The Holy Spirit gives us the fruit of His Spirit which includes self control under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  The fruit of the Spirit enables us to be joyful regardless of circumstances and God blesses us in ways this world could never afford. Rather than try to wash filthy rags, allow the LORD to give you a robe of righteousness. Washed rags are still rags.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. – Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV

The Holy Spirit helps us to show grace to our fellow human beings; to forgive as Christ forgave us; to yield our thinking to the moral will of God and to do so we must obey Him when He speaks to our hearts. When we have been wronged, we have no right to retaliate in any way.  Our righteousness is as filthy rags so we put on the righteousness of our God (Ephesians 4:24; Ephesians 6:14).  Our LORD has provided Scripture that frames our behaviours.  If your response does not glorify God, then you are responding from the flesh, from filthy rags.

  • And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17 NKJV
  • Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV
  • Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.’ – Deuteronomy 32:35 NKJV
  • Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:19, 21 NKJV

Additional Scriptures on HOW We Can Righteously Respond

Responding Righteously When Wronged

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. – Colossians 4:2 ESV

Correlating Scripture

  • In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer. – Psalm 109:4 NKJV
  • Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, – Luke 18:1 NKJV
  • rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; – Romans 12:12 NKJV
  • praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints– – Ephesians 6:18 NKJV
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; – Philippians 4:6 NKJV
  • in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV
  • “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41 NKJV
  • “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. – Mark 13:33 NKJV

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison– that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. – Colossians 4:3-4 ESV

  • and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, – Ephesians 6:19 NKJV
  • “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. – Revelation 3:8 NKJV
  • I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, – Ephesians 4:1 NKJV
  • “Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. – Matthew 10:26 NKJV”
  • Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. – Matthew 10:27 NKJV
  • “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, – Acts 4:29 NKJV
  • Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 NKJV
  • But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV
  • For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? – 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NKJV
  • for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:20 NKJV

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. – Colossians 4:5 ESV

  • So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12 NKJV
  • “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. – Matthew 10:16 NKJV
  • For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. – Romans 16:19 NKJV
  • Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. – 1 Corinthians 14:20 NKJV
  • See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. – Ephesians 5:15-21 NKJV
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5 NKJV
  • Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. … But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. – James 3:13, 17 NKJV

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. – Colossians 4:6 ESV

  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. – Colossians 3:16 NKJV”
  • And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NKJV
  • I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O LORD, You Yourself know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth From the great assembly. – Psalm 40:9-10 NKJV
  • With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth. … I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed. – Psalm 119:13, 46 NKJV
  • Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. – Ephesians 4:29 NKJV
  • ‘And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt. – Leviticus 2:13 NKJV
  • “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. – Matthew 5:13 NKJV
  • “Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.” – Mark 9:50 NKJV
  • And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, – 1 Peter 3:13-18 NKJV

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