Kingdom Principle: Being Justified, is more than being without sin. Being Righteous is more than being right.
Righteousness & Justice are the foundation of the Kingdom (Psalm 89:14)
|Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4||Psalm 119:137-144||2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12||Luke 19:1-10|
Growing up in Church I learned that being Justified – meant being Just –as –if –I –never –sinned. I also learned that Zaccheaus was wee little man who was curious about Jesus. While this is true, it comes up so short in the true meaning of receiving God’s justice or what truly happened in Zacchaeus encounter with Jesus. This lectionary year is now in its final steps to being wrapped up. Year C will end with November and Year A will begin in December. (Years A,B,C cycle through the whole counsel of the Scriptures) In the first post of Year C God does not keep secrets Posted on November 26, 2012 The Kingdom Principle was The prophets see signs in sufferings, the rest only see the sufferings. This is based on the call of the Prophet is to bring the Just and Righteous ways of God to a people who are not walking in His Justice or Righteousness – for the foundation of the Kingdom is Justice and Righteousness. (Psalm 89:14)
In the first post of 2013 – The greatest need of 2013 Posted on January 1, 2013 stated that “The only way to enjoy Peace – is to move in Righteousness – as Peace is the Fruit of Righteousness.” It concluded with “In 2013 – let us not get caught in the trap of meeting others needs, rather let us attempt to recognize our need to give away, all that we have been given in Christ. In this, Justice will be done in a manner which is Righteous. Light will shine into the darkness and the needy will be rescued and the oppressor will be crushed. All this, not because there is a need out there, but rather because there is a need in you – a thirst that cannot be quenched to love and to serve our great Master and King.” This year has been filled with passages that draw us into a deeper understanding of Righteousness and Justice.
This has come both as a treat and a trick in the Gospel of Luke (the focus of Year C) The tricks play to our hears when we hear things that are not what we expect, this is the very paradox of the kingdom. Jesus welcomes the children, but turns away a rich ruler. Jesus pardons the “repentant” tax collector, but rebukes the “righteous” Pharisee. Jesus celebrates the one who lived wildly then returned, but chides the one who worked hard and remained loyal…. And those were all in Luke 15-18 – here we find ourselves again – in Luke 19 – discovering another reversal of fortune. Beware of a quick read or a Sunday school lesson may lead you to miss the truly revealing heart of Jesus. His heart beats for Justice and Righteousness. For that is the very heart of the Kingdom of God.
So I ask- is the story of Zacchaeus about Justice or Righteousness? (I say both) Further is a Zacchaeus a sinner or a saint at the beginning, middle or end of the story? Definitions for this question were provided in If Saints can’t lose are Sinners lost? Posted on September 9, 2013 Kingdom Principle: The King unconditionally accepts all into the Kingdom with uncompromising standards. Jesus came to save sinners! An encounter with Jesus; will leave you a fool-hearted or saintly. I present the idea, that Zacchaeus was a sinner based on Romans 5:19, not based on his evil actions or foolish behaviors. In fact I would hold the view that Zacchaeus was a self-righteous, God fearing Jew who really wanted to see Jesus not out of skepticism or curiosity , rather out of hunger and thirst for true Righteousness. What if Zacchaeus was a tax collector who actions were right(eous)? is that even possible? – can there be such a thing as a Christian Lawyer, or a God Fearing movie producer that makes fills about the sinfulness in the world? Zacchaeus had never come in contact with the hope that Jesus presented, but desperately wanted to know if it were true. If Zacchaeus followed the Old Testament Law and knew the voice of the prophets he would be waiting for the deliverance of Habakkuk and clinging to the righteousness that is everlasting found in Psalm 119.
Let’s review just a moment to explain this position that is not normative….
Zacc may not have been right in the world’s eyes, but that does not mean his actions were unrighteous. As with Jeremiah – he may have simply walking down a “left” path verses the “right” path others had set for him. Left-handed, Left Out, & Leftovers Posted on August 20, 2013 Kingdom Principle: Being right in the world is not relevant. Our calling is not based on the right path, rather it is found only on the righteous path – Jeremiah was not on the right path according to the world, his family or friends….
What Zacc lacked was a relationship with the King of Kings – Jesus. In meeting Jesus his religion was going to be renewed. Renewed Religion Posted on July 25, 2013 Christianity is a religion that redefines your rights based on the rule of the King. After this encounter, Zacc was made Righteousness because of the relationship with the King. This is not presented on bases of repentance for his sin, in fact Jesus does not offer forgiveness nor seek repentance (Compare Luke 18:18-30) Further, when Jesus calls Zacc down from the tree he does so with Joy. Take Heart, Joy comes in the morning Posted on December 12, 2012 “Joy flows from the Heart, and is affected greatly by the circumstance. As Righteousness is to Peace – as Holiness is to Joy.” Therefore in that moment Zacc was filled with the holiness of God in his response to come down. He then could become a true “Ambassadors of Righteousness” embracing his call to go out and be in relationships of reconciliation. (Stewarding his resources) As well as a being a “Vessel of Holiness” called to live his life as an act of worship set a part form the world. We cannot earn or get more righteousness or holiness, but we can grow into the covering given to us in Christ. For in this moment Zacc was made both Righteousness & Holiness, for he took his “position” under the covering and reign of the King.
What we lack is the rest of the story of Zaccheaus…. But I can rest assured – Zacc did not lack Peace. Lacking Peace? You may have a missing Piece! Posted on December 5, 2012 “The peace of the prophets is limited only by their righteousness.” Zacchaeus whose name means pure and is associated with righteousness – now is truly redeemed and living into his name. Righteousness is found by faith (Romans 1:17, 3:22, 4:13), and faith is found by hearing and believing in the hope of the promises of God. (Romans 10:2-4, 9-15) Therefore we know that righteousness is not our right actions, however obedience & training in the scriptures (Romans 2:13, 2 Tim. 3:16) demonstrates that righteousness has taken root and will not be uprooted (proverbs 12:3).
Therefore –we are to seek Righteousness and Justice. This beings with our awareness and acceptance of being worthy of our calling. This worth comes from Christ, not of our own actions. Yet by the power of God to redeem our lives – goodness shall flow. We are righteous not by our right actions, but because of our righteousness, right actions will be prompted through faith. These right actions are better called goodness. In this act of goodness it is our prayer that Jesus will be glorified in us, and that we will be glorified in him. (This paragraph is simply 2 Thess.1 personalized to us today)
1. Prayer and Forgiveness. Prayer is our lifeline and connection to the Almighty. And in prayer we receive and extending forgiveness which brings about the Lord’s justice. It nullifies the rights of the enemy which makes justice righteous. In Prayer and Forgiveness, we model peace and prosperity, trusting in God’s provision rather than our own rights.
2. Live in the Spirit. Let your body and soul be cleaned and washed in the blood of Jesus – meaning – die to yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. Be fully are where you are at, in each moment. Don’t waste time asking, What if, Why me, or How come….. rather sing His praises and trust in Him.
3. Ask God to examine your heart and mind. Submit yourself to God, rather than opening yourself up to the devil. Know that the devil will come against you, but when he does without right – Justice will be served. Therefore – remove the rights of the enemy to bring harm unto you. The enemy comes against you based on invitation or intrusion.