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Building up believers and the New Testament church

The Righteousness of Faith


So if the work is all of God and what He can do, what is our part (if any)? Do we just wait for God to do what He must do, and in the meantime go about our daily lives? I think we know that is not the attitude God is looking for. In John 6, Jesus used the feeding of the five thousand to point the people to the true bread. He said they must labor for the food which endures to everlasting life. "What shall we do?" the people asked. "Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent'" (John 6:29). Brothers and sisters, this is the door into the riches of God's grace. But even though we know it so well, so often we turn to something else and thus do not experience the miracle power of God's grace. Our place is to believe God. Our place is to come diligently before the throne of grace and ask God to do what only He can do. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

This is the crux of the matter. Do we really believe we need God, or are we sufficient in ourselves? I am not speaking about mental assent, but a heart-felt need: being fully convinced that apart from Him I am nothing and can do nothing. It is a heart matter, not a head matter. It is realizing that my efforts to please God mean nothing. It is only what God can do in me that counts. If I really sense my need, it leaves me prostrate before God, coming to Him and knowing that my only hope lies in the mercy and grace of God. This is the attitude of heart that opens the door into the riches of His grace.

When we come to God with this attitude, we will find He is there to meet us. He does not fail. Usually the last thing a man will do is come in humility, acknowledging his desperate need of God. But if the root of sin is pride, then the root of righteousness is humility. Humility lays aside all pretense, all excuses, all self-sufficiency, and comes as a pauper before God. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:3-6).

How does God do the work? We do not know. Can we understand the depth of our hearts? Do we reason with God and tell Him what to do? Jesus said that unless we become as little children, we shall not enter the kingdom of God. A child does not reason. He comes to his father with utmost confidence that his father will meet his request. He never considers that his father might not have the resources to accomplish what he asks. He just comes in simplicity. This is what God is looking for in each one of us. This attitude puts us in a place where God can do His work. He comes within, and in so doing brings His righteousness--so that we may now enter into fellowship with God.