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Building up believers and the New Testament church

The Righteousness of Faith


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23). Take these traits that Paul says are the fruit of the indwelling of God and compare them with the Ten Commandments. Can you match them up? They are in a completely different realm. They are so far beyond the things mentioned in the Ten Commandments that they cannot even be compared.

Christ came to give us life. This much should be clear. What is the fruit (evidence) of this life? Is it not the righteousness of God flowing from the heart? If Christ has given us life and He dwells within, is that not the answer to our question? If the very presence of God is dwelling in a man's heart, what more can we (or God) ask for? Can there be any lack?

Someone might argue that since God commanded the Sabbath in the Old Covenant, if a person is moving in faith before God, he will then keep the Sabbath as God commanded. That argument may sound good, but I come back again to this: what was the purpose of the Sabbath in the Old Covenant? Was it not that man had to be given rules to obey because he did not have life? The Sabbath was made for men who did not know God. Now that faith has come (Christ has come, life has come) the need for the rule of the Sabbath day has ceased. Now Christ has become our Sabbath rest, and as we abide in Him we will experience a far greater rest than keeping the Sabbath ever brought.

Will this work out in time set aside for communion with God? Of course it will, but not just on one day of the week. It will work out in time set aside for God every day, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the night, sometimes in the middle of the night, and sometimes all day. It will be according to the leading of the Spirit. We are under His control, and the fruit of that rest will not be just in outward things that could be observed or judged under the Old Covenant. Life will flow from an inward rest that the Old Testament Sabbath could not even begin to bring (or judge).

The whole focus in the New Covenant is living the life of God. That is what we are called to do, and that is why Christ went to Calvary. He paid the price for sin that He might give life to whomsoever He will. Have we partaken of life? If not, we are still in our sin, and keeping the law will not bring us out of our sin. If we have partaken of life, then we have been brought out of death and sin into a right standing with God, and nothing more can be added to that. Let us not go back into bondage again. If we do, Christ will profit us nothing. If we live by the law, we will die by the law, and we will stand before God on our own merits. And if we have broken even one point in the law, we are lawbreakers and will be pronounced guilty before God and cast from His presence forever (see James 2:8-13).

Brothers and sisters, I trust these few words are enough to point us to Christ. He is God's answer. Everything we need is found in Christ. Let us not be robbed of the simplicity of this salvation. It is not complicated, but it is a straight and narrow way. There is only one name given under heaven by which we can be saved, and there is only one way we can enter into that one name: by faith working through love. Let the Lord show us the way of life, and let us not listen to other voices.