Lies Against God’s Righteousness & Justice

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
February 15, 2009

Spiritual Warfare Part 9; The Belt of Truth Part F
Lies Against God’s Righteousness & Justice

 

Introduction

We are continuing in our series on Spiritual Warfare this morning with a look at another of the ways in which Satan lies and seeks to slander God’s character. The first piece of equipment in our spiritual armor, the belt of truth, is designed to protect us from falling for Satan’s aspersions on God’s character. We have already covered his lies about God’s existence (See: The Belt of Truth: God’s Existence), God’s infinite nature  (See: God’s Infinity), God’s truthfulness (See: God’s Veracity) and His wisdom (See: God’s Wisdom). Two weeks ago I addressed the issue of Satan’s lies and slander against God’s holiness (See: God’s Holiness).

This morning I want to expand a little on the difference between holiness and righteousness in its practical application in our lives as I also examine Satan’s lies against God’s righteousness and justice.

Holiness vs. Righteousness

Remember from the previous sermon that both the Hebrew (qodesh) and the Greek (agioV / hagios) words for “holy” have the same two meanings: 1) “be set apart” and 2) “to be separated unto.” The holiness of God is according to the first definition. God is holy because all his perfections set Him apart from all His created works. His infinite perfections in relationship to time, space, knowledge and power separate Him from everything created as the only eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and sovereign being. There is nothing that exists that compares to God in any of these areas. He is therefore by definition, holy, for His attributes set Him apart from everything else.

God’s holiness also characterizes every one of His moral attributes so that each of them are also holy. They are set apart as similar too, yet different from those same characteristics which man dimly reflects. God is intrinsically righteous, just, truthful, wise, good, loving, merciful, gracious, patient, longsuffering and faithful. None of these attributes arise from another source nor can they be improved because He is already perfect in them. That separates them as holy. Our reflection of these attributes arise from outside ourselves and can be improved. God is even perfect in those characteristics which we tend to think of as negative such as jealousy, anger and wrath. We view them as negative because they usually arise in us for sinful reasons, but that is never so with God. His holy jealousy values perfectly what should be valued and zealously guards the proper situations and relationships and never arises from suspicion, fear or envy. God’s holy anger is always completely free of injustice, wrong application, inappropriate levels or mis-timing. Every attribute of God is always in absolute proper harmony with every other attribute and applied perfectly in everything.

God is holy because He is “set apart from.” Anything else that is holy is so because of the second definition of “to be separated unto.” Things become holy when they are set apart unto God and His service regardless of any intrinsic value. We are holy to the degree that we are set apart unto God and His service. It is crucial to understand this point in order to understand the difference between holiness and righteousness. While holiness will produce righteousness, righteousness will not produce holiness. Why? Let us consider the definition of righteousness and contrast it with holiness.

Righteousness (tsaddiq & tsedaqah in Hebrew & dikaioV / dikaios and dikaiosunh / dikaiosun in Greek) means to be virtuous, upright, faultless, guiltless, someone who is observant and keeps the laws of God and men. It is someone that does “right” as opposed to doing “wrong.”

Again we find that God is intrinsically righteous because He is absolutely virtuous, upright, faultless and guiltless. In addition, He is the perfect law giver and the standard of each of these characteristics. True righteousness cannot be known apart from God. Man on the other hand must either achieve righteousness by keeping the law or have it judicially attributed to him. Though many want to claim innocence for either themselves or others, all men are guilty before God. All have sinned and are falling short of His glory (Romans 3:23). There is none righteous, not even one (Psalm 14:1; Romans 3:10). Even man’s deeds which he deems to be righteous are filthy before our righteous God (Isaiah 64:6). Apart from God’s intervention, man has no hope of become righteous and approved by God.

But notice the difference between what it means to be holy and what it means to be righteous. God is holy because His attributes set Him apart from everything else, and He is righteous because He is the perfect standard of virtue and therefore faultless and guiltless. We are holy to the degree that we are set apart unto God and we are righteous to the degree that we keep God’s standard. Therein lies a huge difference for us and why we are commanded to be holy for God is holy (1 Peter 1:16), but we are not commanded to be righteous.

When it comes to righteousness, we are commanded to hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6); “pursue righteousness” (Romans 9:30; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22), be trained in righteousness by God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16); “practice righteousness” (1 John 2:29; 3:7), “live to righteousness” (Titus 2:12; 1 Peter 2:24), present the members of our body as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13), be “slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18), and be filled with the “fruit of righteousness” (Philippians 1:11).

The pursuit of holiness is the pursuit of God Himself. We seek to separate ourselves unto Him, which of course means that a separation from what is not unto Him will happen automatically because you cannot go two opposite directions at the same time. Paul described this in Galatians 5:16-17 saying, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” The pursuit of God results in also keeping the Law.

The pursuit of righteousness is the pursuit of a standard of behavior. It is an effort to develop virtue and therefore become faultless and guiltless which would result in the approval of the law giver. That law giver should be God and the standards of behavior should be those He has set by His commandments, but often, even for those are striving to gain God’s approval, the standard they actually pursue is lower and from another source. This is where Satan’s lies come in. God demands perfection which man cannot achieve, so the standard must be lowered to something he thinks he can achieve. The result is self-righteousness and legalism instead of imputed righteousness by God’s grace through faith. That can happen just as easily in fundamental churches as it can in the liturgical main-line denominations and cults.

No one can be saved by the righteousness which is in the law (Galatians 2:16, 21; 3:11-21; James 2:10) or by their own deeds of righteousness (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). In order to enter heaven, our state of righteousness before God must exceed that of the Scribe and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20) and that is why it must be imputed to us through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 4:5; 9:30; 10:6,10; Philippians 3:9). That is why the “righteous man” lives by faith (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11) instead of works. This is where the difference between holiness and righteousness becomes vast.

In the pursuit of holiness I seek to separate myself unto God and one of the first steps in that pursuit is to receive the imputed righteousness of Christ by God’s grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ resulting in salvation from sin. Otherwise my sin, past, present and future, will continue to separate me from God and I cannot bridge that chasm. Salvation from sin allows me access to God (Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-22) and brings about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life. These in turn allow me to begin to live according to the commands and precepts of God’s word as I walk in His spirit by which I become more righteous in the practical terms of my behavior. We call this process sanctification. In the pursuit of being separated unto God, I become separated from the world as I become conformed into the image of Christ. Righteous character is the result of the pursuit of holiness. That is the true relationship between holiness and righteousness.

In the pursuit of righteousness, the person seeks to achieve the standard by which they have defined righteousness. To whatever degree that standard is less than God’s standard, they will fail in gaining true righteousness. In addition, because that effort cannot pay the penalty of their past sins, even if they could by some means achieve perfect obedience to their standard in the present, and even if that standard was God’s standard, they would still remain separated from God by their previous sins. They could not be holy. The reality is that their standard will not be God’s standard, and since it is a standard other than God Himself, even success at achieving it will not bring about true holiness. The pursuit of righteousness does not achieve holiness, but the pursuit of holiness does result in righteousness.

Satan’s Lies Against God’s Righteousness

We are to stand firm against the schemes of the devil by being girded with the belt of truth. What then are some of Satan’s lies and slander against God’s righteousness that can cause us to move away from truth and stumble and fall into sin?

Substituting Righteousness for Holiness. The first and foremost lie in this area is what I just discussed above in making righteousness and holiness synonymous. Understanding the difference between them and their proper relationship is your defense against this lie. God is our creator and a person with whom we are pursing a relationship in humble submission to Him in all things. That is why we are to pursue holiness. God is not a philosophical talking point or a theoretical ethical standard by which we achieve some form of righteousness. Satan’s lie against God in this is very apparent in the writings of philosophers, ethicists and in many religions. Their concept of god is theoretical instead of real. Their standard of righteousness changes with their evolving concept of this theoretical ideal.

Consider the changes even in our own nation among the philosophers and ethicists by which human life is no longer of unique value because it is made in the image of God. The value of human life floats with whatever is politically expedient at the time. Abortion, the murder of unborn babies, is considered a sacred right under a theoretical right to privacy for the woman. The unborn child is reduced to a thing, so much extraneous tissue to be disposed of in any manner at any time convenient to the mother, or better yet, let us find a way to harvest that tissue for the benefit of already born humans, and besides, it might help our economy, and so the push for embryonic stem cell research. Oregon and Washington State both have laws allowing medical euthanasia of humans. Congress is following suit in a manner, because a provision in President Obama’s so called “Economic Stimulus” bill includes establishing health regulations that would limit health procedures for the elderly based on economic instead of humanitarian considerations. I suppose a lot of money could be saved for the young and healthy if the sick and elderly are quietly killed off or allowed to die. Many of the main-line supposedly “Christian” denominations no longer see a moral problem with homosexuality and other sexual perversions, except us “Bible thumpers” are not acquiescing to their demand for the full acceptance of their practices by our society. All of these immoralities and what God calls abominations can be traced back to Satan’s lies about the nature of God as a holy being and therefore the standard of all righteousness.

Substituting Religions Standards for God’s Standards. The second major area in which Satan lies about God’s righteousness is the substitution of God’s standards for a standard established by some religious group. This was an area of major conflict that Jesus had with the religious leaders of His day. The Scribes and Pharisees thought they were achieving the righteousness of God through their codification of the Mosaic Law, but in doing so they changed the law to their own standard. That is why Jesus was so pointed with them over and over again. That is why He told His followers that their righteousness must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees if they wanted to go to heaven (Matthew 5:20). The rest of the Sermon on the Mount exposed their false standards. That is why Jesus pronounced woe upon woe on them for their perversions of God’s standards in Matthew 23. They were hypocritical blind guides who cared about the minutia such as tithing spices and ignored the greater things of God’s law such as justice, mercy and faithfulness.

Things have not changed much since then in the religious world. Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy eclipsed Biblical Christianity in the first millennium replacing it with an ever increasing amount of traditions and rituals. The Reformation began well, but many of the churches that started then have also added in their own traditions and rituals that replace Biblical truth. That is largely due to their rejection of the Bible as the source of truth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as liberalism gained control. Even among fundamental churches which claim to be Bible believing and preaching it is easy to find churches with Covenants that have replaced God’s standards of righteousness with their own standards of legalism.

Consider some of the warnings that Paul gave to the early church to combat these lies against God’s righteousness and having His standards replaced with man’s standards. Paul warns in 1 Timothy 4:1-5, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 [men] who forbid marriage [and advocate] abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Do you know of any religious groups that forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods? Roman Catholicism is the largest group that forbids marriage of their religious leaders, but there are other smaller groups that do the same. The forbidding of foods seems to be the more common “doctrine of demons” that Paul mentions here that infiltrates churches. It is obvious in cultic churches such as Seventh Day Adventism and other groups which advocate Old Testament dietary laws, but this shows up all over the place. We had quite a struggle in this church with legalists a decade ago who demanded abstention from wine instead of just giving strong Biblical cautions against it such as Proverbs 20:1“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.”

The standards of righteousness set by various religious groups can be very diverse. Some are extremely strict with long lists of taboos. Some of these groups even seem very close to the truth because many of their standards are actually developed from study of the Scriptures. However, they, like the Pharisees of old, always end up going beyond what God says in some areas while redefining the standards into something they think the can actually keep. Others religious groups can be very liberal with only a few things considered to be wrong and most things considered some shade of gray. The philosophy of situational ethics sets the standard of righteousness for many groups.

It is also not uncommon to find religious people who are licentious. They set up a false standard of righteous that allows them to do just about anything they desire and by which they accuse those who give them Biblical caution as being legalists. We have seen people use Paul’s phrase from 1 Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all men,” as justification for their pursuit of worldliness. They neglect not only the context of the passage but all the other things Paul wrote concerning holiness and righteousness including being a “slave to righteousness” (Romans 6:19), to mortify your flesh and put off the old man and put on the new (Colossians 3:5-10), warnings to those who please men instead of Christ (Galatians 1:10), to be separate from unbelievers, lawlessness and darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14-17), and any real consideration of the good of weaker brother (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8 & 10). James 4:4 tells us that friendship with the world is hostility toward God and 1 John 2:15-16 adds that we not to love the world nor the things in it for to do so shows the love of the Father is not in them. These folks claim to be religious, some of them even claiming to be evangelical Christians, yet their standard of values is often in direct opposition to the Scriptures themselves. Such groups are properly labeled as licentious.

The legalists and the licentious are in many ways opposite of each other, but in reality there is no substantial difference between them except the standards of righteousness used by each. The legalist uses a strict standard and declares himself righteous by supposedly meeting it. The licentious person has a very broad standard that includes just about anything he would like to do and he also declares himself to be righteous because he is meeting his standard. Both are using standards other than God’s perfect standard of righteousness. While the legalist tends to be more judgmental and condemning of those that do not meet his standards, the licentious individual is not really that substantially different even here. Because his standard is much broader he is more accepting of others, but he will just as quickly judge and condemn others when they do not meet his standards. Both have substituted their own standard for God’s, they just vary on the particulars of their standard.

Religious legalism and religious licentiousness are both cured by the pursuit of holiness which in turn produces true righteousness according to God’s standards instead of those established by men. The exposure of the lies contained in their false standards also exposes their sin of self-righteousness and their desperate need for God’s grace and mercy.

Substituting Personal Standards for God’s Standards. Satan’s third way of slandering God’s righteousness is when people set up their own standards of righteousness for themselves. The quest to find a standard of righteousness that is somehow related to God by looking to some religious authority is abandoned in favor of the individual determining for themselves what is right and wrong. This is a fundamental belief of humanism which has become foundational in our secularized society. Tolerance, which is now being redefined as a synonym for acceptance, becomes the supreme virtue because it allows everyone to do what is right in their own eyes. We already know from the book of Judges what the result of that will be. How much worse it will be when there is not even an attempt to tie their standard to anything transcendent to their own experiences. Man becomes his own standard of right and wrong. Man replaces God with himself. That brings us right back to Satan’s lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden, “your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Eve did not become like God, and her new knowledge of evil condemned her. Changing the definitions of good and evil will not bring protection against God’s justice, which is the next area in which Satan slanders God.

Lies Against God’s Justice

To claim that God is not just in all His dealings is also to claim that God is not and righteous and therefore not holy. Satan once again wants man to think that God is similar to man instead of man being a dim reflection of God.

The first claim the devil makes against God’s justice is his attack on God’s righteousness. It is the standard of righteousness which sets the law upon which justice must be based. The effort to replace God’s standard of good and evil with something man has developed is so that man can somehow justify his sin and think himself to be righteous. If the substitution is believed, then God can only be just if He meets man’s standards. True justice is turned on its head with man judging God instead of God judging man. Such is the self-deception of man that he believes this is proper, however, the reality is the opposite. God is just and will judge man according to His standard of righteousness. Man stands condemned before the holy, righteous and just God that created him.

Another common slander against God’s justice is that He is unfair. They judge God as having a flawed standard of righteousness because some are saved and others are not. They then think this gives them a basis to reject God outright, or at least reject what God has declared concerning eternal punishment in hell. Correlations to this lie change the basis of salvation from hell to whatever the individual wants it to be. Satan’s lies lead to man putting himself in the position of judging God about what is right and wrong and what the results should be. Forgive me if I find this whole line of thinking quite ludicrous, but how does a charge against God’s justice justify the rejection of God or that such a charge will somehow protect you against Him applying His standard of justice to you whether you like it or not? If God exists, and He does, then it would seem more logical to try to figure out His system of justice and fit within it before you are crushed by it even if you think Him to be a tyrant, which He is not.

Some people believe God can be fair and just only if He saves all people. The result of this thinking is universalism in which by some means all people will eventually be saved. This idea is increasing even among some who claim to be evangelical Christians. That is a false compassion and very dangerous ground to be walking for two reasons. First, it requires God to abandon His stated laws and their consequences therefore making Him unjust. Second, it means that Jesus Christ lied in all His warnings about Hell, and in particular Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus states that both heaven and hell are eternal – “and these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (vs. 46).

Others believe that God should save all people who meet some certain criteria of behavior, but they want to be the ones that establish that criteria for they cannot meet the criteria God has already set. God requires a person to be holy and righteous (Hebrews 12:14). You either have to live a lifetime of moral perfection as defined by God’s laws, or you have to have righteousness imputed to you. Sinful people reject this standard as unfair and set up their own. That, in a nutshell, is the basis of all religious systems. Religious people strive to earn their own way to heaven according to their own standards of conduct. Paul says in Romans 2 that even this brings condemnation because they also fail at their own standards.

But despite their claims, people really do not want God to be fair in His justice. They do not want God to be impartial and conforming to the established rules and judging them according to what is merited. They want God to judge according to a standard changed to fit their own circumstances and they also want Him to show partiality by considering their effort and then overlooking their own transgressions. They do not want God to be fair and just even if He did use their standards, for they fail them too.

But there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11) and He will judge according to what each person merits. 1 Peter 1:17 tells us that God is the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work. Colossians 3:25 says the same thing. Revelation 20:12-15 describes the final judgment. “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one [of them] according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

If God’s Justice stood alone it would demand that all people be condemned to the lake of fire for a judgment based solely on their deeds would reveal their sin, and the wages of sin, any sin, is death. God is just in all His ways (Deuteronomy 32:4), but He is also loving, merciful and gracious, and out of these came His plan by which His justice could be satisfied and we would be made holy and righteous and thus able to stand before Him. That plan was Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ satisfied God’s justice by paying the penalty of our sin in Himself. He was our substitute. 1 Peter 1:18 states it, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God . . .” Jesus Christ also made us holy by transferring to us His righteousness, “He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Unless you have the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to you by God’s grace through your faith in Him and His work on the cross, you must face God’s perfect justice based upon your own deeds. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), but everyone else is condemned already because their deeds are evil and they have not believed in the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18-20). Jesus’s death on the cross was the perfect demonstration of God’s love which satisfied His justice (Romans 5:8). Will you stand before God in the righteousness of Christ, or in your own self-righteousness?

Beware! Satan’s lies are deadly. You must be girded with truth to withstand his schemes. Is your belt on?

The next sermon in this series is: (See: Spiritual Warfare Part 10; The Belt of Truth, Part 7: Lies Against God’s Goodness & Love )

KIDS CORNER
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Count how many times the words “righteous” or “righteousness” are mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about what it means that God is righteous and His command that we should pursue righteous.

THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Define holiness. What does it mean that God is holy. How can a man be holy? Define righteousness. What does it mean that God is righteous? What is the relationship between holiness and righteousness in the life of a Christian? Why are we commanded to be holy (1 Peter 1:16), but we are not commanded to be righteous but rather to hunger & thirst for, pursue, practice, live to, be a slave to righteousness? What is the result if someone pursues righteousness instead of holiness? What is the result of believing Satan’s lie by which holiness and righteousness are made synonymous? Why has the value of human life diminished so much in our nation so that abortion is considered a fundamental right and government policies place the sick, lame and elderly at increasing risk? Why did Jesus have such contention with the religious leaders of His day? Why did He say your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees in order to enter heaven (Matthew 5:20)? Describe how some churches have succumbed to the doctrine of demons in their standards of righteousness? Is this a danger for fundamental churches? Explain. What are the differences between legalism and licentiousness? What are their similarities? What is the standard of righteousness in human secularism? How has this idea affected our society? How is this related to the devil’s lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden? How is Satan’s slander of God’s righteousness also an attack on God’s justice? Why do people claim God is unfair in regards to salvation? Does their argument have any bearing on God’s existence or the necessity of obedience to Him? How is universalism an attack on both God’s justice and veracity? Do people really want God to be fair? Explain. If God’s justice was not tempered by His other attributes, what would happen to all mankind? How can a man be made righteous before God? Explain. Are you righteous before Him?

 

Sermon Notes – 2/15/2009

Spiritual Warfare, Part 9; The Belt of Truth, Part 6: Lies Against God’s Righteousness & Justice

Holiness vs. Righteousness

“holy” means to: 1) “be ___________” and 2) “be separated unto.”

God is _________ because all his perfections set Him apart from all His created works

God’s holiness also characterizes every one of His _______ attributes so that each of them are holy

Every attribute of God is always in absolute proper _____________ and applied perfectly in everything.

Anything else that is holy is so to the __________ it is “separated unto” God.

Holiness will produce _____________, but righteousness will not produce holiness

______________means to be virtuous, upright, faultless, guiltless; someone is observant & keeps the laws

God is intrinsically ____________ because He is absolutely virtuous, upright, faultless and guiltless

Man must either achieve righteousness by keeping the law or have it judicially ______________to him

We are commanded to be holy, but ______ commanded to be righteous

We are commanded to hunger & thirst for, __________, practice, live to, be slaves of righteousness

The pursuit of holiness is the pursuit of _______________ which results in righteousness – Gal. 5:16-17

The pursuit of righteousness is the pursuit of a standard of ________, an effort to achieve virtue, approval

Satan’s lies to change the standard of righteousness to something ______________God’s perfect standard

Self-righteousness cannot save, righteousness must be __________ to us through faith in Christ (Phil. 3:9)

Righteous character is the developed as the result of the pursuit of __________

__________to meet God’s standard is unrighteousness which separates from God & therefore is not holy

Pursuing righteousness ___________ achieve holiness, but pursuing holiness does result in righteousness.

Satan’s Lies Against God’s Righteousness : Substituting Righteousness for Holiness

God is our creator and a ______whom we pursue in humble submission in all things – pursuit of holiness

God is ___a philosophical talking point or a theoretical ethical standard by which to achieve righteousness

Secular philosophers & ethicists devalue human life because they do not recognize its relationship to ____

The unborn child, the sick, the lame, the elderly are reduced to whatever value those in _______give them

Satan’s Lies Against God’s Righteousness: Substituting Religions Standards for God’s Standards

This was the major conflict that ________ had with the religious leaders of His day (scribes & Pharisees)

Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy eclipsed Biblical Christianity in the _______ millennium

Theological ___________has eclipsed many of the churches started after the Reformation

Even fundamental churches have replaced God’s standards with the standards of their church __________

1 Timothy 4:1-5 – exposes some of the doctrine of __________ – which are practiced in churches today

Legalists are like the Pharisees of old that replace Biblical standards with their own _________standards

The licentious are like the Sadducees of old that replace Biblical standard with their own ______standards

The legalists & the licentious are fundamentally the same for both ______God’s standards with their own

Religious legalism and religious licentiousness are both cured by the pursuit of ____________

Satan’s Lies Against God’s Righteousness: Substituting Personal Standards for God’s Standards

All standards of righteousness are abandoned in favor of ________standards – a basic tenant of humanism

Man replaces God with himself – the same ________ Eve believed in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:5)

Lies Against God’s Justice

Satan’s first attack against God’s justice is his slander of God’s righteousness which is the _______of law

Another slander is that God is _____- as if that somehow negates His existence & obligation to _____Him

Universalism tries to make God fair, but it destroys justice and makes Jesus a ______(Matthew 25:31-46)

People who want to use their own standard of justice are still _____________by it – see Romans 2

People do not want God to be fair, just to be partial according to the _______they have set for themselves

God is impartial (Romans 2:11) and judges according to each man’s _________(1 Peter 1:17; Rev. 20:12-15)

If God’s justice stood alone, all mankind would be ____________ condemned.

The sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ satisfies God’s _______and expresses His love, mercy and grace

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Count how many times the words “righteous” or “righteousness” are mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about what it means that God is righteous and His command that we should pursue righteous.

THINK ABOUT IT!

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Define holiness. What does it mean that God is holy. How can a man be holy? Define righteousness. What does it mean that God is righteous? What is the relationship between holiness and righteousness in the life of a Christian? Why are we commanded to be holy (1 Peter 1:16), but we are not commanded to be righteous but rather to hunger & thirst for, pursue, practice, live to, be a slave to righteousness? What is the result if someone pursues righteousness instead of holiness? What is the result of believing Satan’s lie by which holiness and righteousness are made synonymous? Why has the value of human life diminished so much in our nation so that abortion is considered a fundamental right and government policies place the sick, lame and elderly at increasing risk? Why did Jesus have such contention with the religious leaders of His day? Why did He say your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees in order to enter heaven (Matthew 5:20)? Describe how some churches have succumbed to the doctrine of demons in their standards of righteousness? Is this a danger for fundamental churches? Explain. What are the differences between legalism and licentiousness? What are their similarities? What is the standard of righteousness in human secularism? How has this idea affected our society? How is this related to the devil’s lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden? How is Satan’s slander of God’s righteousness also an attack on God’s justice? Why do people claim God is unfair in regards to salvation? Does their argument have any bearing on God’s existence or the necessity of obedience to Him? How is universalism an attack on both God’s justice and veracity? Do people really want God to be fair? Explain. If God’s justice was not tempered by His other attributes, what would happen to all mankind? How can a man be made righteous before God? Explain. Are you righteous before Him?


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