Monday, April 14, 2014


There are very few movies that my wife and I will watch over and over and over again. One of those movies is U.S. Marshals, staring Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes and Robert Downey Jr. And it doesn't matter if we come in half way through it. We will sit right down and watch it until it's done.

In the movie Mr. Snipes plays a former Special Ops soldier and now U.S. special agent named Mark Sheridan. Sheridan was falsely accused of murdering two fellow agents. Of course, he was innocent, trying to prove that innocence throughout the movie, all while being chased by U.S. Marshall Tommy Lee Jones. During the films final scene, agent Sheridan, having been proved innocent, is surrounded by a group of reporters on the courthouse steps. One of the reporters asks, "Mr, Sheridan, how does it feel to be in from the cold?"

Sheridan replies, "Righteous. Very righteous."

Do you know what it means to be righteous? Merriam-Webster describes the word righteous as "acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin." In the case of Mr. Sheridan, he was returned to a right standing with the agency he worked for. Rather that being on the outside, he was once again on the IN side. He thought of himself as being "righteous." But was he? Really? And what does being righteous in today's world really mean anyway?

Abraham (formerly Abram) was seen in God's eyes as being righteous . . . because of his faith. That begs the question, how are WE doing? 

"After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness." - Genesis 15:1-6

If Abraham was considered righteous, how are WE doing? Are we seen as righteous in God's eyes? How many of us are good enough and have a faith like Abrams? Check out this from the book of Ecclesiastes 7, quoted by Paul in Romans, to find out.

“None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. 13 Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. 14 Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.” - Romans 3:11-18

Uh oh.

So how can we ever have any hope of getting into heaven if none of us is good enough to make the cut? Still got your Bible handy? Keep reading in Romans. You won't have to read far before you hear the good news.

"21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it - 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." - Romans 3:21-26

We become righteous in God's eyes through our faith in Jesus! To become righteous in God's eyes we must realize we are sinners and repent of our sins. We must receive the gift of salvation through our faith in Jesus as Lord, and we must receive His Holy Spirit who will give us the power to change our lives. It's not us, it's Him. Make that change today.

So this week when somebody asks you, "How are you feeling today?" You can smile at them and say, "I feel righteous. Very righteous."

We sang a song by Matt Maher in church yesterday. In it there is a line that perfectly describes our situation as an unrighteous people. It goes . . .

"My one defense, my righteousness. Oh God, how I need you!" - Matt Maher

We have absolutely no defense apart from Christ. When we stand before God one day He will look at us and judge us for what we have done. Most will be judged unworthy. And so would we who place our faith in Jesus. However we will be see as righteous in God's eyes because of our faith in His righteous Son, Jesus. That is why the song says, "My one defense, my righteousness. Oh God, how I need you!"

Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher

A Superseding Righteousness - A sermon by Matt Chandler

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