The point of it all
I have sinned.
Even since understanding and growing in the truth of righteousness, I have missed the mark. I have given myself to selfishness at times. I have sometimes failed to see people the way God does. I have not revealed His perfect love every day of my life. I have believed lies and lived less than the life of Christ at times. I have occasionally violated my conscience, even if I have quickly repented. If it makes you uncomfortable or irritated that I am so honest and aware of where I have “missed it,” you may be wrongly receiving this glorious gospel message.
Let me be clear.
My revelation of righteousness does not cause me to live in denial or ignorance of sin if it happens.
Instead, it helps me to confront lies with truth, always expecting more holiness and a stronger walk with the Father as I lean back on my identity in Christ. Don’t get me wrong. Compared to my Christian life before understanding righteousness, I now live a life holier than I ever imagined I could. I am more consistent than I ever fathomed was possible, and effortlessly empowered by grace (as we will examine soon). I live free from fear. I never experience offense toward anyone in my heart. I am not given to pride. I am a good husband. I am not self-conscious. I am not defined by anything apart from my Father’s acceptance—no ministry title, no person’s praise, no accusation. My motives for my actions are pure before God. I know Him, and I love those around me well. I do not have hidden agendas with people. I have laid my life down for Jesus.
This message changes everything.
But I know there is more manifest holiness and love available, and I will never hide from areas I want to see more change or consistency in as I become stronger in the truth and my relationship with God.
The main thing
I want to talk about the main thing. The point of it all. The times when I miss it are not necessarily the times when I forget my revelation of truth, although this can be a reason. But the times when I sin are more often the times when I neglect the relationship with the Father that my revelation facilitates.
Too often, we replace a relationship with revelation, instead of letting revelation nurture and complement a relationship with the Father.
I want to exalt the ultimate purpose of the Christian life. The meaning of life itself. The reason for revelation. to know God.
Intimacy is freedom
Do you know how Jesus lived a life completely free from sin? Your answer might initially be that it was because He never had a sinful nature. This used to be my answer too. As we saw earlier, though, Adam never had a sinful nature either before He ate from the tree, but he still sinned. Similarly, Christians all over the world do not have sinful natures but can still live in sin. So how did Jesus do it? It was possible for Jesus never to sin because His nature was not conducive to a sinful life. The same goes for us. But what kept Jesus from sin was His value for a relationship with the Father. The same goes for us.
In His entire thirty years of life before His baptism by John, only one thing Jesus said was recorded in Scripture:
“Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” – Luke 2:49
Jesus was twelve years old. He had been lost by His parents. When they found Him in the temple three days later and asked why He had not left with them previously, this was His response. These are the only words we heard from God incarnate for thirty years of His human life. Imagine that. God walked the earth, and for thirty years we got one sentence! That baffles me. They are profound words because they reveal that Jesus knew God as His Father. They also show He prioritised His relationship with the Father above everything.
Remember, Jesus was fully man and fully God. He was tempted in every way, but was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He had the same capacity to sin as we do.
Was it because He had the perfect revelation that He never sinned?
No. The Bible tells us Jesus had to grow in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). It was not His wisdom and revelation that kept Him from sin, it was His intimate trust relationship with the Father that He never compromised.
Relationship is built on trust. It was when Adam broke trust with God, trusting the devil instead, that He removed himself from the relationship with God that had kept him free and sustained the clarity of his identity. When you dwell intimately in the Father’s love and His thoughts toward you, you are not easily deceived by lies. Never believe the lie that freedom from sin results from revelation alone. Freedom from sin is ultimately sustained by intimate relationship. Revelation can help, but ultimately it exists to facilitate the relationship.
Here is something worth remembering:
Your revelation is only as good as the intimacy with God it produces.
If you want to live free from sin, use your revelation to know why it exists. Know God. He is the one who preserves you; He is the one who is faithful to keep you from sin.
Your revelation of truth is like the electrical wiring in a wall. It is an internal wiring. You cannot see it is even in the wall. The only way to know the wiring is installed and functioning is if the light bulb the wiring leads to is shining. The wiring is only as valuable as the light produced from the bulb it is powering! If the light is off, the wiring is worthless. When the light is on, the wiring is effective and useful.
The light in this illustration represents your intimacy with God.
Your revelation is only wiring, helping to power intimacy and flood your home with light.
You can keep the “switch” to the on position by acknowledging the nearness of God, revelling in His tangible love constantly, communing with Him in perfect union, and meditating on the truth. Give yourself to the Father in prayer and worship. Use your revelation for its purpose. Keep the light on.
Another way to picture your revelation is like having a car in your garage. It could be a million-dollar machine or a beaten-up old wreck worth very little. In reality, it is irrelevant what kind of car you have until you turn the key, leave the garage, and take it for a spin. Only then do you enjoy the quality of your vehicle.
The quality of your car does not stop it from rusting and gathering dust in an empty and lifeless garage.
Intimacy with God is the movement, the life, and the momentum that revelation facilitates.
Staring at the menu
Let me give one more example. Imagine if I took my wife, Christine, out to a beautiful restaurant. We’ve planned this hot date for a month and are hungry and excited to dine in style. We are ushered to our fancy table, seated with a breathtaking ocean view, and presented with the menu. We look around at what other people are eating, can smell the aroma of fine cuisine, and our mouths are watering as we anticipate our meal.
We pick up our menus and look through them, commenting on the fine-sounding food, the tasty-looking condiments, and the evident culinary creativity.
As time goes by, we look in more and more detail at the menu.
We comment on the font used to type the menu, the cardboard density, and the laminate. We even argue over what some confusing foreign words could mean, googling the meanings. We take photos of the menu to show our friends and quote lines from it on our social media pages.
After increasingly confusing the waitress for a couple of hours, because we have yet to order a meal and the evening is drawing to an end, we then stand up and leave the restaurant!
We go home hungry, having been content to look at the menu but never order a meal from it.
Sounds like a nightmare, right? This is what it is like to never embrace intimacy with your revelation of God! This is how many Christians read the Scriptures. The Bible is intended to nourish our souls and propel us into a relationship with God. Its purpose is not to satisfy our intellect apart from intimacy! Never stare at the menu without ordering a meal!
Righteousness is the door
Your revelation of righteousness is like a door. When you open the door and go through it, you enter the bedroom, the place of intimacy with God. If you are not careful, you will stand at the door, study the door, teach about the door, even argue about the door, but never walk through it. Don’t be known for how well you understand the truth or can discuss doctrine. Be known for knowing Him.
A door may as well be a wall if you never actually walk through it.
The door of righteousness is extremely important. It gives us compatible access to the room of intimacy with God, but it is a door nonetheless. The value of the door is ultimately found in the room it gives us access to. Right standing with God and a nature like His is a priceless reality, but knowing it is just the beginning. Enjoying it is our inheritance.
We have no need in the church for a new “camp.” We must not become yet another movement, this time known as “righteousness people.” But we can finally become “Jesus people,” because we have transcended every limiting identity and found ourselves perfectly in the person of God!
Righteousness is an entrance
Righteousness is not the end goal; it is the entrance to intimacy.
This is why, if applied appropriately, righteousness will not just be another theological camp. It is an awakening to an incorruptible way of identifying ourselves, rooted in the reality of the Father alone. We will not bicker and backbite, defending our special doctrine. We will live in the fullness of intimacy with God and the power of His love that righteousness gives us access to.
To know Him
I want to show you that the world is not looking for a new revelation or a powerful doctrine. It’s seeking to know the Father—Christians and non-Christians alike.
“He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11
Eternity is on every man’s heart. Does that mean every man wants to live forever? No. Jesus told us what eternity is:
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” – John 17:3
Jesus taught us here that eternal life is not merely an endless span of time, it is an eternal relationship with God! Eternal life is that we might know God. Relationship with Him is the reason we are alive, and it is our never-ending destiny! God has placed this eternity in the heart of every man. This means the deepest desire of every human being is to know God. Unbelievers will humble themselves, repent, and receive Jesus when we walk in an undeniable intimacy with God—not when we parade our doctrines.
I am making no effort to devalue revelation here. What I am doing is exalting relationship with God as the ultimate reason for revelation.
The core of the covenant
When God describes the very heart of the new covenant, we see His purpose is a relationship. It is a covenant of intimacy of Him in you and you in Him. Look at what He has to say about His desire for you, revealed by the new covenant you live in:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” – Hebrews 8:10−12
All will know Him. Intimacy, relationship, and love: these are at the heart of the new covenant. The reason all will know Him is because He will “be merciful toward their [our] iniquities and remember their [our] sins no more.” This is righteousness: the removal of our sins and the gift of our right standing with God. Righteousness is the reason we can know the Father. Righteousness is the door to the place of intimacy with God. But intimacy with God is the reason for righteousness, the reason you and I breathe and the purpose we were created for.
The declaration of God to you is: I created you to know me, to be loved by me, to be like me. You and I walked away from Him, making ourselves incompatible with Him when we took on a sinful nature in Adam. He restored our compatibility on the cross.
God’s endless desire for you
The most astounding statement of the incarnation of Jesus is this: God fits in man. He made us so He could live in us. God desires a relationship with us more than the devil would have us know.
He is not a distant and mildly displeased God.
He is a Father who has crossed the time and space sin put between us, taken the sinful nature out of us in every way, and restored us to a perfect union with Him in the Godhead. We now know God has placed a desire for a relationship with Him on our hearts. We also know He deeply desires a relationship with us. The only thing left to do is to get the necessary understanding and embrace this incredible love relationship.
The enemy is more frightened of you knowing the Father than of anything else.
Guilt, shame, condemnation, and the reminders of your past are his attempts to keep you from pursuing intimacy with God.
Remember, God remembers the sins of your past no more, so how could He ever be the one bringing them up? The cross declares you are worth the blood of God Himself. The cross declares your forgiveness.
You are of the highest value to the Father.
He could have destroyed humanity after our Adamic fall. He could have started over. But He saw you from before the beginning. He saw that you would believe in Him and pursue the relationship He created you to have. He decided you were worth all the pain, loss, and destruction that would result from the fall. He would at least get you. He loves you more than you can ever truly know.
Please take a moment today. Dialogue the powerful revelation of righteousness with Him. Do not just study about Him, or about your new life in Him. He is in the room with you, yearning for you. He desires you.
Both the purpose of revelation and the origin of revelation is intimacy with God.
May this generation be one of intimacy. May people of righteousness be known above all else for their deep relationship with God. May we move far beyond the sinner saved by grace paradigm and boldly walk in the fiery and secure fellowship of God Himself, seeing entire nations awake to His love and purpose. We are this generation.