This is not Love for God

When our salvation depends upon our righteous behavior, our righteousness will be driven by a desire to elevate ourselves in the eyes of God.  This is not love for God, it’s self-protection.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 36

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This is a Misunderstanding of His Character Profoundly

Just as we see Jesus grieving over sin during his earthly ministry, so the Father hurts for us and with us even as he turns us over to painfully shattering life experiences.  But he is not punishing us for our sin in this, nor is he angry with us.  To interpret God’s heart as being angry, disappointed, impatient or exasperated with his redeemed children is to misunderstood his character profoundly.  Instead, he is training us in righteousness and causing us to grow in him.

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philipsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 211

The Need for Active and Passive Righteousness

Passive righteousness tells us that God does not need our good works.  Active righteousness tells us that our neighbors that our neighbors do.  The aim and direction of good works are horizontal, not vertical.  So on the horizontal plane – in creature-to-creature relationships (active righteousness) – we can happy talk about effort, action, good etc.  But its important to remember two things.

First, it is the passive righteousness of faith that precedes and produces the active righteousness of love for others…

Second, and this is extremely important, our hearts work like magnets that always draw the horizontal (nonsaving) plane toward the vertical.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 2285

Martin Luther on Righteousness

[Martin] Luther asserted that our righteousness before God (coram Deo) is received and defined by faith.  Our righteousness before one another (coram mundo), on the other hand, is active and defined by service.  The passive righteousness of faith (vertical righteousness) is what makes us right before God – fully and finally.  The active righteousness of work (horizontal righteousness) serves the well-being of creation and culture by loving and serving our neighbors.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 2270

The Law Reveals Sin but Cannot Remove It

The Law reveals sin but cannot remove it.  It prescribes righteousness but is powerless to produce it. The Law is important – it has no creative power, it cannot inspire.  It offers us nothing but condemnation and death.  The Law apart from the Gospel can only crush; it cannot cure.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 2195

The Gift of Self-Forgetfulness

Those who are born anew are no longer entangled with themselves.  They are solidly free from this entanglement, from self-reflection that always seeks what belongs to itself.  This is not a deadening of self.  No, it is the gift of self-forgetfulness.  The passive righteousness of faith tells us: You do not concern yourself at all!  In that God does what is decisive in us, we may live outside ourselves and solely in him.  Thus, we are hidden from our selves, and removed from the judgment of others or the judgment of ourselves as a final judgment.  “Who am I?”  Such self-reflection never finds peace in itself.

– Oswald Bayer

as quoted by Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 1628

His View Goes Much Deeper

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he radically amplifies this definition of righteousness.  He insists that righteousness is not simply a matter of what we do or don’t do but rather a question of why we do or don’t do it.  His view of righteousness goes deeper than behavior and outward action.  It always looks into a person, at the motivation of the act.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 419