At the risk of overlooking some liberating truths, the basics of following Christ can be reduced to 3 Rs.
1. Righteousness. The gospel reveals a righteousness that comes from God and is received by faith from first to last (Rms 1:17). This kind of righteousness can be distinguished from self-righteousness which is based on the Satanic idea that “I can make myself godly.” Self-righteousness makes us conscious of our faults and shortcomings and leads to a false humility (Col 2:23). True humility comes from gazing at the cross and realizing “I don’t deserve what Jesus has done.” It’s true. You don’t. That’s why it’s called grace.
What do are we to do with His righteousness? We’re supposed to seek it (Mt 6:33), receive it (Rms 5:17), get clothed in it (Is 61:10), wear it like armour (Eph 6:14), walk on it (Ps 23:3), grow in it (Is 61:3), and preach it (2 Pet 2:5).
2. Repentance. The central challenge of the gospel is “repent and believe the good news” (Mk 1:15). What does the good news reveal? The righteousness that comes from God. Merely knowing about the way of righteousness is not enough. Jesus rebuked the chief priests and elders because “John showed you the way of righteousness but you did not repent and believe” (Matt 21:32).
What is repentance? It is agreeing with God. It is choosing to say “Jesus is Lord” and then living as if that were so. Romans 12 says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. The faster we agree with God, the faster His reality becomes our reality.
I used to pray for healing because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Now I pray because I really believe Jesus wants to heal the sick and He wants to do it right now while I’m praying. Sometimes I begin by reminding myself, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I believe it!” And guess what, I’m seeing more healings than ever before.
3. Resurrection power. Philippians 1:11 says “be filled with fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.” If the fruits of self righteousness are dead religious works, then the fruit of Christ’s righteousness is resurrection power. Resurrection power is frequently connected with righteousness and repentance in the New Testament:
- Php 3:9-10: “I want to be found with His righteousness. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection.”
- 2 Peter 1: Righteousness comes from God (v.1); grace and peace be yours through knowing/agreeing with God (v.2); His divine power has given us all we need (v.3).
- Romans chapters 1-5 is a discourse on the gift of God’s righteousness; Romans 6-7 is about dying to sin and repenting. Romans 8 is concerned with life through the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead.
This sick and dying world needs the sons of righteousness to rise up and start operating in Holy Spirit power. Resurrection power brings dead things to life. It turns sinners into saints. It opens blind eyes. It makes the lame leap for joy. It brings healing to broken marriages. It obliterates cancer and liberates the depressed.
If we want to see the power of God in our lives, we need to start agreeing with Him that we have indeed been made the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:21). We need to throw off religious formalism that masks pride and unbelief. We need to curse our self righteousness and honour the gift of His righteousness. We need to stop calling Jesus a liar and start agreeing with Him saying “yes, I will do these things and greater things still.” We need to pray with conviction, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up.” (Acts 9:34).