Creflo Dollar - What to Do When Righteousness is Under Attack?
Well, if you have your Bibles, go with me to the book of Romans chapter 3 and we're gonna look at verse 20 through 31 in the New Living Translation. We've been talking about righteousness and we've been trying to convince people to understand that we are righteous because of Jesus, not because of what we do. If you subtract Jesus from the equation, we wouldn't be able to be righteous. But because of Jesus, we have been made the righteousness of God.
Well, this morning, I wanna talk to you about, you know, what happens when your righteousness is under attack. And what I mean by this is most of this is gonna be emotionally, internally. What happens when you declare, "I'm the righteousness of God. I believe I'm righteous because of Jesus," and then, you know, you just have all of this doubt that hits your mind and, you know, you start looking around and wondering if this is right and your righteousness is under attack. You miss the mark and you're trying to stand up and say, you know, "I'm still the righteousness of God," but you feel dirty. You feel just like this is just not, you know, so. What do we do? How do we respond when righteousness is under attack?
Well, first of all, let's study this out together and really just take some time with Romans 3:20 through 31 and let's look at this. Romans chapter 3, verse 21. He says, "For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands". Stop right there. Nobody can never be made right with God by doing what the law command or through your performance or through your self-effort. In other words, you think you're made right with God because of the five things that you do right, or you think you are made right with God 'cause you work real hard to be a goody-goody Christian or you go on a lot of missions trips and all of these things tries to tell you, well, you know, you deserve to be right with God.
And so instead of getting unmerited favor, you're working for deserved favor, are you following me? He says, "For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands". That's something because we think, you know, if we just keep all the commandments, if we keep all these commandments then, you know what, we'll be made right with God. And he just said, "For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands".
So even if you're under the Mosaic law and even if you're, you know, you say, "Well, you know what? I'm just gonna keep all the Ten Commandments, I'm gonna keep all 613 of 'em," he says you're not gonna be made right with God because you're doing what the law commands. "The law simply shows us how sinful we are," bam. The Mosaic law which is 613 laws simply shows us how sinful we are. So the purpose of the law of Moses is to reveal sin, to show people how sinful they really are. Verse 21: "But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago". Now, what was that way? Verse 22, he says: "We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ".
That's the way. This is so simple. We're made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. The day we make Jesus the Lord of our lives, it's the day we become righteous. He says: "And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are". 23: "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard". Now, that's so important. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All have sinned, everyone has sinned, and fall short of God's glorious standard. Now, hopefully, I'll get some time to really deal with that. Verse 24: "Yet God freely and graciously declares that we're righteous". All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. "Yet God freely declares and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sin".
So the day you got born again, you were free from the penalty of your sins. All sin was placed on the body of Jesus and Jesus now was judged for all of our sins and he says that we are, "yet God freely graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus," through what Jesus went through, through what Jesus accepted, all of our sins, "and when he freed us from that penalty of our sin, we were made righteous. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, and shedding of his blood".
So, do you believe that Jesus sacrificed his life? Do you believe that Jesus, you know, shed his blood? Well, he did that all for us. He did that all for us. He was made a sinner and yet he had never sinned, for you and for me. Next verse. "This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and he is just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight only when they believe in Jesus Christ". So he says, "Sinners are even declared righteous when they believe in Jesus Christ".
So the key here is Jesus Christ, all right? Next verse. "Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God"? Can you brag and go around and brag and say, "Hey, here are the three things I did. This is why God accepted me. Oh, I'm so wonderful, I'm so spiritual, I'm so anointed. This is why God accepted me". He said, "No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith". Our acquittal is not based on, you know, "I did all of these 20 things". They're based on, "I have faith in Jesus Christ," simple. "So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law". "We are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law".
The law here is the law of Moses. And so, religion keeps telling you, you got to obey, you know, the Mosaic law and in the New Testament, he keeps saying you're not gonna be made right with God by obeying the law. You're gonna be made right with God by your faith in Jesus Christ. Neither did he say, "Go out and act crazy," you know, because sin has consequences. But what he's trying to show you is what the law could not do even when you obeyed it, your faith in Jesus Christ has already done it.
Next verse: "After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jew or Gentiles," or blacks or whites. He said, "Only thing is required by faith". "Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law"? He says, "Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith are we truly fulfilling the law". Basically, what he's saying here is that it took the law to bring us to the place where we saw our need of Jesus. It took the law to show us our need for Jesus.
So we exalt the law or, in a sense, what we're saying is we put the law in a place where we're, like, "Lord, if it were not for the law, we would not have come to the place where we are right now". So we esteem it highly. We esteem the law because without it, we would have never recognized our need for Jesus Christ. Now, just by reading that, I mean, it can't get any clearer to me that we've got to never ever talk about, you know, letting Jesus go because, without him, we're nothing. We're literally nothing, and we're definitely not righteous without him.
Now, let's go to Galatians, chapter 2 and verse 16 in NLT. Let's see what he says here. He says, "Yet we know that a person is made right with God," how? "By faith in Jesus Christ". Over and over and over again. "By faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law". There it is, over and over. So what do you do? What do you do? For the last two weeks I know, I'm showing you that you're made right with God "by faith in Jesus Christ, and not by obeying the law". And you keep insisting, "No, no, no, you got to do that in order for God to do that. No, no, no, you still got to obey the law".
See, God's gonna accomplish something that the law couldn't accomplish. The Holy Spirit's gonna change your desire. See, you think just by rule-keeping, that's the only way you can get there. And have you noticed, the more rules you keep the more sin you do? He's trying to get you to a place where he can finally, finally execute great deliverance in your life. He said, "But it's not gonna come by obeying law. It's gonna come by having faith in Jesus Christ". "And we have believed in Jesus Christ, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law".
That's strong and, for you, instead of getting mad and disagreeing with me, you just need to say, "Listen, there's obviously something I didn't get. There's something I hadn't been taught. There's something I've missed out on, and I think I need to go ahead and get a hold of this because there's just too many Scriptures over and over and over again saying the same thing, that we are righteous by faith in Jesus and not by our obeying the law". In fact, even look at Romans chapter 10 and 4. Romans chapter 10 and 4. And notice what he says here. He says: "For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given". He's already accomplished it. "As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God".
Now look at that in the King James. Romans chapter 10:4 in the King James. He says, Romans 10, 'scuse me, yeah, Romans 10 and 4, 10 and 4 in the King James. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth". So if you're believing in Jesus Christ, "Christ is the end of the law as far as righteousness is concerned". "Christ is the end of the law as far as righteousness is concerned to every one that believes," because you're righteous by Jesus Christ, amen?
Now, let's look at 2 Corinthians chapter 5:17 through 21. And I wanna ask you some similar questions again, but I wanna get this flow of thinking on the inside of you. He says: "Therefore if any man be in Christ," are you in Christ? If you're in Christ, you're born again. If you're in Christ, you are a new creature. If you're not in Christ, you're not in born again, and if you're not in Christ, you know, you're not a new creature. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature". What did he say? "Old things are passed away," that old man is gone, the old you is gone. "And behold, all things are become new". Verse 18: "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled"...
Now to reconcile something means to restore back to harmony, to restore back to friendship. He said, and there was enmity between God and man's sin and so, without Jesus, reconciliation would not be possible but because of Jesus, God can reconcile and bring peace between God and man's sin. "And all these things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us," given to us, we all have, "the ministry of reconciliation". He says, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world," God was in Christ. That's the deity. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself," watch this, "not imputing their trespasses unto them".
He was reconciling people back unto himself by not holding their sins against them, "and hath committed unto us," again, "the word of reconciliation". So he says, "I want you now, to go out and operate in this reconciliation and don't hold people's sin against them. Don't you go to the people and say, 'Well, you know, be reconciled to God. Oh, but you got too much sin in your life to do that.'" He says, "Don't you do that". He says, "You preach to them and you tell them, 'Be reconciled to God, it's time to be saved.'" You don't go looking at their sins and holding their trespasses against them. God says, "I'm not doing that". God says, "I'm not holding their sins against them". "And he's committed unto us the word of reconciliation".
Verse 20: "Now then we are ambassadors," we're representatives, "for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God". I'm not holding your sins against... see, the reason why I say that, 'cause, you know, you know how church folks are. Church folks look at people and if they know about the sin in somebody's life, they shun 'em and you're called to the ministry of reconciliation, not holding their sins against them. You're called to this ministry of reconciliation. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God". Next verse, "For he hath made him to be sin for us," watch this. "Jesus was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him".
There it is again. There it is again. What are we doing so far this morning? We're reading, we're reading, and it's like how do you ignore what you're reading and go back to the religious teachings of your church and diminish the work of Jesus Christ because you're so busy exalting sin. You're diminishing that Jesus has taken care of your sin, you're diminishing that Jesus has taken care of your sin, and you're exalting the sin problem. You're exalting the sin issue. You have to come to the point of understanding that if it were not for Jesus, you got a problem. You got a problem. Jesus is the answer. Somehow you think that your performance is the answer. There is no other answer for your sin than Jesus. Jesus is the answer for your sin.
You keep coming up with, "I can do these different things and that'll be the answer for my sin". It's not, it's not. It's like you're saying to me, you know, Jesus has taken care all of our sins. "Uh-uh, I still got sin. The Bible tells me". And it's like, for you to deny what Jesus has already done means you're exalting the sin issue which Jesus has already resolved the sin issue, but you're exalting the sin issue like never before. And when you are critical of other people's sin, you're immediately saying that you don't have any anymore.
When you can point your finger at other people and saying, "Look at their sin, look at their problem". If even you can be judgmental of somebody else's sin, it's like you're saying, "They have sin and I don't". I mean, how many Christians are doing that in church? "Oh, look at them," like they have sin and you don't. Oh, so you have resolved the sin issue in your life? You've resolved the sin issue in your life and, you know, the Bible says that the law of Moses was given to increase sin, and you keep trying to keep the law of Moses and you're saying, "My Bible tells me that we still got to live by the law". And you're diminishing what Jesus did.
Jesus said, "I have taken care of your sin. Nobody's gonna be made right by keeping the law," and you just keep coming in and just diminishing Jesus and diminishing what he did for you. And then have enough mitigated gall to look at somebody and say, "Look at what you did," as if you don't. Every time you are extremely judgmental of another person's sin, it's like you're saying you don't have issue. Let me prove it to you right quick. You remember this?
Look at Romans chapter 14:23. Let me prove this to you real quick. Let me just take a little side bar. See, I didn't stick with my notes and, see, and I'm out here somewhere else, so I gotta go with it, okay? Look at Romans chapter 14 and 23. He says: "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin". So you think you're over the sin issue. You think you're flawless and you don't have no problems with sin so now you can judge somebody else, and the Bible says: "Whatever's not of faith is sin". "Whatever's not of faith is sin". So what are you doing? I mean, when you're doubting, when you're operating in fear, that's sin. What? Oh, so you don't have any issues doubting? Oh, you've never had any more issues with fear? No, he says: "Whatever is not of faith is sin". That's probably everybody online right now. "Whatever's not of faith is sin". So that's a sin issue. How are you gonna deal with that?
And then look at this other issue. James chapter 4:17, James chapter 4 and verse 17. He says: "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin". Oh, so he says when you know to do something good and you don't do it, that's sin. See, you thought sin was the big ten, you know, committing adultery, committing fornication. You thought that's the only sin, but sin has no measure, you know. You know, in order for you to disagree with what Jesus has done, you're gonna have to change the whole rules. You're gonna have to just come up with some dumb doctrine that tries to justify what you're saying. You can't deal with it. You think you can deal with sin by your performance and by what you do?
The only way sin can be dealt with is by Jesus Christ. He says because, you know, everybody deals with this "Whatever's not of faith is sin," and then everybody deals with, you know, "To know to do good but you don't do it, that's sin". Tin doesn't have measure. The Bible doesn't talk about little sin and big sin. Sin is sin. It has the same measure, all right?
All right, what about this one now? Romans 3:23, I read this to you not too long ago. Romans 3:23 says: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God". All means all. And so that's not a issue with you? It's not a issue with you? You cannot afford to diminish the work of Jesus Christ in that he died, took upon all your sins, took care of your sin issue, and then you diminish what he did and continue to make sin an issue. When sin is not a issue with God, it's still just an issue with you. Let me see if I can show you something that will hopefully be the thing that'll convince you.
Go to Matthew chapter 5 and here's what Jesus did. Jesus came and he's trying to convince people that there's no way they're gonna ever be able to deal with their sins through their performance or through any plan. The only plan to deal with sin is Jesus Christ. And in Matthew chapter, chapter 5, excuse me. Matthew 5, verse 21, let's just read through this for a moment and show you this. All right, verse 21 says: "And you have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of judgment". That's what you heard in past time. But Jesus said, "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment".
Oh my God, so Jesus took it from killing and he put anger on the same level as killing somebody. Says, "You're going round talking about, oh, if you kill somebody, you know, you're gonna be in danger of judgment," but Jesus said, "Uh-uh". He says, "I consider you being angry with your brother on the same level as killing your brother," whoa. C'mon, let's keep going for a moment here. Look at 27. He says, "You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already".
So, you know, you made this big deal about adultery, and Jesus said, "If you look at a woman with lust in your heart, I put that on the same level. I put that on the same level". So you go around and brag about, "Oh, I've never committed adultery with anybody," well, have you ever looked at a woman the wrong kind of way? He says, "I put that on the same level". I mean, he's trying to make it so you can see it's impossible for you in any way that you can perform or any self-effort for you to deal with the sin problem.