Leon Fontaine - Faith Righteousness
We're on an amazing series about belonging and the fact that one of Satan's greatest weapons against you is this feeling of your disconnected from God. That you don't quite belong. That others have lived up to something that you haven't lived up to. That they're stuffing your past, if anybody knew that they'd never accept you. Satan uses the sense of loneliness. This sense of disconnection. This sense of you don't belong. And I find it everywhere all through our church, all through people in the world. And those who are believers, a ton of them just feel like, I don't belong. They'll look at their church and go, "I just don't belong". Or they'll look at their marriage and go, "That season is over. I feel disconnected. I feel like I don't belong".
One of Satan's greatest tools is to move you, to cause you to make decisions, to leave like a life-giving church. If it's not life-giving, fine, leave it. But leaving marriages, leaving homes, leaving what where God's called you. Because he's gotten you to feel disconnected like you don't belong. And so, we've been talking now a little bit about this. We've talked once already about how you use your faith to access grace. Everyone thinks we just use faith to believe for the thing itself. But if you don't learn to use your faith to access grace, there are no miracles that will be completed. I have seen over the years too much of Christians standing and believing for healing, prosperity, restoration of relationships, their own peace, their joy, for God to reach the lost, grow their ministries. And somewhere in there Satan would come in and he attacks this area of belonging and disconnection as though you've done something wrong. You must believe in something that it's in God's grace. But today, we're gonna take a topic that if you have heard about it. I don't understand why, but we're gonna talk about faith righteousness. Faith righteousness.
Now, if you are righteous, we use that term a lot in our society now. You know, is he a righteous person? And the Bible uses that term and so I'm gonna unpack it. But let me give you a strong definition of when you're righteous, what is that? All right. Righteousness is a state of being acceptable to God. God accepts you and that because of this you have attained integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, a correctness of thinking, a correctness of feeling and acting. Everybody who's listening right now, including me is going, "Well, I'm disqualified". Why? Because I don't always feel this way. I don't always have everything together. And you're right. That's why there are two kinds of righteousness. There is a works righteousness, where you feel like you are right with God because you've cleaned up your life. You've made things right. You've done things. You know, the Old Testament it always says, if you do this, God will do that. And that's by works.
So a works righteousness is where you get yourself ready for God to bless you. You get yourself acceptable to God. Now, there's nothing wrong with cleaning up your life. Oh, man, that's important. In fact, once you give your life to Jesus, His power helps you to become morally right. And it cleaned up your life and to anything that you've struggled with, from addictions to sins, to any of the weights and the things that just beseech you. Ha! When you give your life to Christ, that power, His grace, just isn't God's ability to look the other way. His grace is there to empower you to rise up. Because your business associates, your kids, your spouse, your friends, people around you. They want you to get your life together. And you're gonna find way less pain in your life. When you take God's grace, His undeserved favor, His ability, and begin to apply in your life but you would never try to earn God's grace, His acceptance. Because now, pride gets involved. Okay, but I did it. I don't know why you can't clean up your life. I stop drinking and smoking and chewing and dancing, whatever else you did you think. And why can't you do it? And that's a works.
Now, righteousness is either by your own works or it's by faith. And I wanna talk about a faith righteousness because that's what Abraham had in the Old Testament. He believed God and he was, it was accounted to him, righteousness. So when, so let me read it to you out of Romans 5:17, "For if by one man's offense, sin, failure, death, dominated this planet, death reigned through the one". Let's talk about that. He's talking here about Adam. It always just ticked me off that, you know, we're living in sin and sickness and disease. That I have to die. My kids have to die. We gotta deal with evil people, a crazy world, demons everywhere. Like all this, I have to deal with it because Adam couldn't obey one simple thing with God.
And people say, "Well, Leon, how come someone died of sickness, was there sin in their life"? No, sin is here because of one man's failure. Adam and Eve, they failed. And because of that, it says, provide this one man Adam's offense death and all of its attributes. I mean, poverty, sickness, depression, murder, lying, cheating. That's all in the death world. That all begin to dominate, or it reign. The word "reign" isn't like raining of water. It means a king's reign, or he reigned through one. Then it says, "How much more those who receive abundance of grace". What is grace? Unearned favor. What are the favor? It's God's ability, God's power. It's unearned. It's a gift. And it says, so an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life, dominating life through Jesus Christ.
All right. Let's talk about this gift. This gift of righteousness. Now, if you're like me, you'll always have to remind yourself that if you haven't done enough, if you haven't prayed enough, if you haven't read your Bible enough, if you haven't witnessed enough. Like, when you begin to do things the Bible says to do, and you do them to try to get God to like you, to get God to bless you. You're trying to do this to make God happy with you. You're into works. And these works are to earn God's favor, His grace. You are now back in the old covenant and it's gonna mess you up. You'll be depressed, unhappy. You'll fail. None of us have the ability to live good enough, to have an incredible and dominant outpouring of God's grace in our lives. So that's works. You're working to become righteous or in right standing before God, when it is a gift.
This righteousness is a faith righteousness. Often each day, I will have to remind myself and I try to do it in the mornings to remind myself, "Today, this is the day the Lord's made. I will rejoice. I will be glad in it. I put my faith in Jesus because His death, He is my righteousness. I am not righteous because of my behavior. I am righteous because of Jesus' behavior and I believe on Him. And therefore, this grace I have access to God's grace because I'm believing in Jesus". Now, you say, "Well, Leon, can you just do it whatever you want"? No, now this grace gives me the ability to live right, to do business right, to have relationships that are right, to have a mind that's at peace, to look at people right, to stop gossiping, and analyzing, and judging, and living in this messed up world. I get to disengage myself from all the power of darkness and I'm now in the power of His kingdom. And because I have, I believed I'm righteous. You have to believe that.
It is a faith righteousness. It's a gift. But this gift doesn't go into operation into your life till you believe it. You know, I'm here in the studio with a lot of great people. And if I need a car and I haven't got one here. And someone says, "You know what, I'm just giving you my car as a gift". You know that I have to believe it, to take the keys from them. Is there really one in the parking lot? And if I drive off, are they gonna call the police? I have to believe. They're giving me this gift. They say, "I have a couple of cars. I just wanna bless you. Here's my vehicle. It's yours". If I don't believe it, I won't access. I won't go get the key. I won't go start the car. I won't go unlock the door. I won't drive off. You have to believe. And the same is true for righteousness.
Much of the Christians world has been preaching. I mean, hell firing in sin trying to get Christians to stop sinning and to live right. And I want that, too. I'm tired of having, you know, couples break apart for dumb reasons. There, you know. I'm tired of kids having no parents or I'm tired of people messing up businesses, lying, and cheating. And the hurt and the chaos they cause. So all of us want in our marriages, our families. We want our kids to grow up honorable and integrous. We all want that. The issue is, before you get that, you've gotta believed on Jesus. And then you become righteous, in right standing with God because of Jesus. This verse goes on after verse 17 and it says, "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation".
All right. We live in a world where there's a sense of judgment is coming, judgment is coming. You know, we have all these little sayings like, "Oh, man, things are going too good. Somethings gonna go wrong". You know in Canada and America, we have this Murphy's Law we call it. Which if anything goes too good, something, you know, something's gonna go bad. We all have a sense, we're gonna be judged. We all have a sense of no one gets off. You know, we talk about karma as though it's a Christian teaching and it's not. Karma says, "Hey, no worry. What goes around, comes around". In other words, if someone does something to you, he'll get it back. It's actually not true. If that person discovers Jesus and ask Him to forgive them. That, you know, the presence of God, there is no karma from God. God is not visiting on you, penalty and judgment.
Now, people might try. But it says here that we live in this world of condemnation and offense. But it says even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. What does it mean justification? It means I'm standing before God just as if I've never sin. Justified. I am just. I am righteous because Jesus gave me His righteousness. Now, I have to believe that. Then it goes on to say, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners". So I was made a sinner, not because I sinned. I was made a sinner because of Adam's sin. Every baby born, all my kids, all my grandkids, are born into sin. And they are sinners because of Adam. Now it says because of what Adam did to this world making us all sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.
Boy, it's hard for Christians and people who've learned to earn it and work it, to recognize I'm righteous because of Jesus. I was a sinner and I wasn't righteous because of Adam and that infected the whole world. But now Jesus, He, in His obedience has made me righteous. You know, as you live in your Christian life, it's crucial that you allow the power of Holy Spirit. God's grace is that He gave Holy Spirit to you. He's on the inside of you. God's ability is yours as a free favor. And now you are filled with all the power you need to stop any addiction, to deal with sickness, disease, anger, to deal with things and habits you have that are destroying you and those around you. That you have the power to change all of that. Why? Because Jesus died in your place, took all of your sin, all the consequences of your sin that are from God. He took them.
Now, there are consequences that are on the planet, okay? And I can't save you from those. Keep running red lights and you'll probably gonna get hit by a car. Not because God caused it to happen, but because that's an earthly law that you can't ignore. Okay? You can't keep jumping off the third story of a building and expecting yourself to live. All right. So there's consequences down here. But the peace is between you and God. And when you have this incredible sense of, I'm at peace with God. You stop feeling like, "Things are going good, something's gonna go wrong". You know, growing up when I begin to understand faith and God's grace. And things begin to change in my life and grow and increase and happen. And I would believe God and trust God. And I mean, "Oh, man, in our ministry, in our family, in our home, things begin to just grow".
I begin to fight with this feeling like, "Something's gonna go wrong. Something's gonna go wrong. Something's gonna go wrong. What's gonna go wrong"? I felt like the other shoes is about to drop. My chickens are gonna come home to roast. Murphy's Law. Whatever dumb saying I had grown up with, would come back. Something's gonna go wrong. No, we live in a world where there's always gonna be something trying to go wrong. Oh, yeah, that's true. But be of good courage. Jesus says I've overcome them all. Or 1 John 5:4 says, this is the victory that overcomes everything in the world. It's what you believe. I'm believing in God's grace. And so they say, "Well, you know what, it's gonna come around. You're not perfect, so you're gonna get it".
No, no. Tribulation and attack and junk from people and from the enemy and from your own family, even people, are gonna come. But you can overcome them all by believing in God's grace. That His favor is on your life, His ability is on your life. You are righteous. You literally need to get up every morning. I'm giving you an assignment and say, "I am righteous before God because of Jesus. I am righteous. I'm in right standing. God is smiling at me because of Jesus. Righteousness is a gift. I believe that. That I have it because of Jesus on the cross". It's interesting. It goes on to say, "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound".
Okay, stop right there. What? The law entered that the offense might abound. I give you an example. Many of the people, Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes that Jesus talked to. There was an arrogance about them, their nose was in the air because they were righteous, because they were doing everything they needed to do. Oh, man, they would read all, over six hundred part and they would keep it. And they just thought they were better than everybody else. And so, but the law was to show people, you aren't good enough on your own. When people think they've earned where they are, they'll always look at others and go, "What's wrong with you, dude? I did it. I cleaned up my life. I stopped smoking. I got rid the alcohol. Look, I earned where I am in business". It's all, this arrogant, prideful. I pulled myself up by my bootstrap. I'm a self-made man.
So the law entered to show everybody you're never gonna make it on your own. Now, Jesus in talking to these guys, if you find Jesus' teachings. He brought it. You think the Old Testament was brutal. You gotta see what Jesus did. Jesus comes along and says, "Hey! The law says if you commit adultery that that is a sin. But I say to you, if you even lust after her in your heart or him, that you are an adulterer". You can say, "Well, if you murder, that's against the law. But if now, you even think about murdering that guy on the inside but don't do it. It is sin". Oh, who in the world can qualify themselves now? The law was to show people self-made, prideful, or even broken-down, you know, just messed up people. Whichever where you are, you know, the law was just to show you. You're never gonna do this on your own. You need help. It goes on to say here, "But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more".
Now, what you think it would say is, but wherever there was lots of sin bring in law tell them, "That's wrong. That's wrong. That's sin. That's sin. You're going to hell. You're gonna". And that was much of the preaching of yesteryear and today has done. Attack that sin, preach against it. Let them know the consequences. But it says, but where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, not just a little bit more, much more. So that as sin reigned. You know, sin was what controlled people in death. The death that's on this planet even so grace must reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. All right. Grace in your life. The fact that when you begin to go do business. You just begin to get all these favors. How do they come your way? Grace is God's unearned favor. And so others are doing business by the sweat of their brow, working bony fingers. And you're gonna get attacks when things go wrong but you need to believe in God's grace or I'm gonna call it God's undeserved favor.
As you begin to believe that you have God's favor because of Jesus, is through Jesus Christ our Lord. You'll look at your marriage and you haven't got it all together. But you believe in God for His favor on your spouse. The romance life, your home life, your kids. God's favor on your future. God's favor of protection. God's favor. Every promise in the Bible, you are now qualified for because of Jesus. Whereas in the Old Testament or before Jesus, every promise you had to qualify for. That's why every promise had an if. If my people will do this, I will do that. Now it says, all of the promises are in Jesus, yes and amen. Done, sealed, and delivered.
Now, many people keep teaching it, "If you believe in God for something, but you got sin in your life. It disqualifies you". Well, that's ridiculous, okay? Because sin is too big to stay out of, by that I mean in your actions. Okay? It's out of your spirit because you have a new spirit. But here's, for example. The Bible says, "To him that knoweth to do right, and doeth it not, it is sin". All right. So here you are, you're signaling left and someone wants to cut in front of you and you feel like, I know I should let him go and just be loving to my neighbor. But you don't do it. All right, you should have done right. You didn't do it. That's sin. Now, when you start looking at the word sin. Good Lord, there's so many things that are, and the word "sin" means "to miss the mark of God's best".
So you come home and you're spouse is happy to see you and you're grumpy. And that they say, "Hey, honey. It's good to see you". And you walk not in love. You walk, "Yeah, I'll see you, whatever. I'll just leave you alone for a while". Okay, now. That's not love. You've walked out of love. You are now giving in to your emotion, your tiredness. And that response, that's missing the mark. How to make a great marriage work? Sin is missing the mark for God's best. Well, if you have to be completely sin free in your own actions to be able to get a miracle or have God's power in your life. You will never make it, ever. So, yes, you should clean up your thought life. Yes, clean up how you treat your spouse. Yes, you know, walk in victory and all this area. But God's grace gives you the power to do that. That's the second to the first step is to believe. I'm in right standing with God because of Jesus.
The first step is to believe that His favor is on my life. That I can dominate this world. I can have dominion over anything that pushes at me because God's grace, His favors on my life. You have a gift. Righteousness is a gift. Believe it. Every morning I'm challenging you to get up and just say: I'm righteous before God because Jesus qualify me. I am righteous. I am in right standing before God for all of His blessings and all of His grace because of Jesus. I have favor. You know, remember this. Favor is something you get that you don't deserve. Favor is something you get that you don't deserve.
When you begin to realize Jesus qualified me for everything I don't deserve. To begin to understand, start understanding that I'm righteous. I'm in right standing with God to deserve, but I don't. Personally, Jesus is the one that who's right. I've got Jesus righteousness and because of that, all of God's favor comes on me undeserved. Start getting in to God's Word in this area and change. Many of you who are listening, have been raised in religion, raised in works mentality. And, you know, ah, grace is just a license to sin. No, grace is the only way to breakout that control of sin, to breakout and to have the power to live right. It's not to earn God's righteousness and to earn God's favor. It's just to believe it's already been given to you.