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Matthew 5:6 & Romans 6:12-23 by Robert Dean
What's your passion? Are you intensely craving and seeking happiness? Good health? Love? Listen to this lesson to learn that only believers who hunger and thirst for righteousness will ever be fully satisfied. Confront the true meaning of righteousness and its two aspects, one a free gift and the other a result of what we do. Discover that not all believers walk in a new life but that we should make that choice our highest daily priority. What are the results? An abundant, joyful life on earth and everlasting rewards in the future.
Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:58 mins 53 secs

How to be Happy - Part 2. Pursue Righteousness
Matthew 5:6; Romans 6:12-23
Matthew Lesson #019
January 5, 2014
www.deanbibleministries.org

The term disciple is a term that is sometimes used of unbelievers. Judas Iscariot is the most prominent example of someone in the Gospels as someone who was not a believer, but he was also referred to as a disciple. But primarily in the context of Matthew a disciple is viewed as a believer who has accepted the challenge to go forward in spiritual growth to spiritual maturity. As we will see, this is not necessarily inevitable. Just because someone trusts Christ as savior does not mean that they will continue to grow. And even though those who at some point in their life accept challenges of being a disciple and pursuing spiritual growth and spiritual maturity it does not mean that they will continue that. For ever single day is a new test for us, a new challenge as to whether or not we are going to stay the course, whether or not we are going to continue to go forward in our spiritual growth, or whether we are going to lapse back into a walk according to the sin nature. 

In Matthew chapter four there is the challenge to at least four disciples that they should follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The way Matthew is organizing his Gospel is designed to teach us something: that the call of the disciples precedes the challenge to the disciples in Matthew chapter five as to how a disciple shall live. Discipleship is a major sub-theme in the Gospel of Matthew. The primary theme is the presentation of Jesus as the promised Messiah and the offer of the kingdom and what happened to that offer of the kingdom because the Jews rejected Him as Messiah. So a sub-theme has to do with His teaching, His instruction, His guidance of His disciples. It begins in terms of His public ministry with the call of the disciples. Then there is instruction several times in Matthew in relation to the disciples and what it means to be a disciple, and then Matthew closes the Gospel with the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples, that they are to go and make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things. It is that emphasis on instruction that is also at the core of the Gospel of Matthew for there are basically five different large blocks of instruction from the Lord Jesus Christ, the first of which is in what is called the Sermon on the Mount.

At this point, at least in Matthew's organization, Jesus has not called the twelve. Luke's organization has Him calling the twelve prior to this, but there is some debate as to the chronological order of these events and whether actually the Sermon on the Plain, as described in Luke, is identical to the Sermon on the Mount. I think they are parallel, at least at this point in my study. It seems to be that Matthew organizes his material more topically than  chronologically and so we can't necessarily base a conclusion on the structure within Matthew, whereas Luke consistently follows a chronological pattern. So when Luke puts the calling of the twelve prior to the Sermon on the Plain, Matthew will put it later on in Matthew chapter nine. But remember Matthew tends to lump events together in order to express certain themes or ideas rather than putting them in sequential events. As westerners today we think only in terms of sequential events. But that is not necessarily the way writers in the ancient world wrote and it is certainly not how some of the Gospels are written. They are not written to be sequential histories or biographies but to present the claim of Jesus as the Messiah.

As we looked over the beginning of chapter five we saw that Jesus emphasized three character qualities, and all three seemed to emphasize the core character quality of humility. The first speaks of being poor in spirit. This is someone who recognizes that they bring absolutely nothing to the table that should bring any approbation from God. We recognize that we have nothing for which we should gain approval and we live a life based on that humility. We recognize that God is the one who supplies everything. Remember He is talking to believers, not unbelievers, and so He is talking about something that is in addition to the initial humility that they had when they trusted in Him as savior, or at this time in His ministry believing in the gospel of the kingdom. So they have already believed that; they are already regenerate. What Jesus is teaching them here is something in addition to getting eternal life or becoming regenerate.

In verse 4 He says, "Blessed are those who grieve for they shall be comforted". This, too, has a reference to humility—a recognition of grief over sin, over failure in our own life, and the fact that it is God who supplies the real comfort for us. And then the third character: "Blessed are the meek". This is the idea of humility, which in the Scripture really emphasizes authority orientation. The result of being meek is that you will inherit the earth, again a term related to future rewards and responsibilities in the coming kingdom.

Matthew 5:6 NASB "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

In interpreting the Sermon on the Mount when we understand, first of all, that Jesus is addressing believers on how they should live and not addressing unbelievers on how they get eternal life that changes the dynamic a tremendous amount. Secondly, we recognize that this is given to those who are anticipating the coming of the kingdom. For they have responded to the message to repent for the kingdom of heaven in near, and so Jesus is giving them the ethic or standard of living for those who are being prepared to live in the kingdom. All of these connect together in terms of how the person anticipating the kingdom should live. So it is not necessarily dispensationally restricted. Even though at this time Jesus is talking to those who are under the Mosaic Law the ethics here are for all time.

Verse 6 is the first time Jesus mentions righteous in the sermon but this is a major theme within the Sermon on the Mount. What Jesus is showing is that the righteousness that God is expecting in the lives of those who would be the citizens of the kingdom is a different kind of righteousness than that which is being proclaimed by the scribes and the Pharisees. It is not a superficial righteousness. What took place during the latter part of the second temple period in Israel was that under the teaching of the Pharisees experiential righteousness was reduced to basically the observance of ritual and some basic principles of external morality without any emphasis on the heart or mentality of the individual. Remember they are under the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law treated the Israelites as believers in Deuteronomy, and Moses said that their responsibility was to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. The core spirituality of the Mosaic Law was an internal relationship with God that was to be manifested through the externals of the ritual, the observance of the ritual in the temple and not just an external ritualization. This is why later on as Israel became rebellious to God and succumb to idolatry they nevertheless still went through the external acts of sacrifice. The Lord rebuked them saying that He demanded love for Him, not just sacrifice. So the emphasis in the Old Testament was always on the core internal spiritual relationship with God, not on just an external ritual. But by the second temple period under the Pharisees righteousness was restricted to just an external ritual obedience.

Jesus is countering that in each of these beatitudes and talking about the value of hungering and thirsting (a metaphor for having a passionate desire for something) for righteousness. But it is a particular kind of righteousness, not the self-righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees. The scribes and the Pharisees were often concerned with enforcing some kind external standard on the people. It was a superficial and hypocritical righteousness and they were more concerned about the righteousness of those around them as they defined it rather than this internal change or transformation that came as a result of someone's personal relationship with God.

And so the hunger and thirst for righteousness, while it is primarily directed to an individual's desire in his own life, also has an implication for the world around us. We see a world around us that is characterized by unrighteousness and we desire to live in an environment characterized by righteousness. But true humility based righteousness does not go out and try to impose that on other people; that is arrogant self-righteousness.

So Jesus ties these things together, and we should notice the connection here. In verse 6 there is the emphasis on the passion for righteousness, but in verse 7 there is an emphasis on mercy. Mercy runs counter to those who are self-righteously imposing their standard of morality on other people, because they are not treating them in grace. Mercy is grace in action to those who are in dire straits, spiritually or physically. Then the next beatitude, v.8, talks about those who are pure in heart. Pure here is not necessarily the best connotation of the noun that is used there—katharos. katharos is the word for ritual cleansing (sometimes translated ritual purification) and it is the noun form of the word that is used in 1 John 1:9—to "cleanse" us. This is talking about someone who is constantly making sure that they are cleansed from any sin in their life because they are consistently confessing their sin because they want to walk by the Holy Spirit so that experiential righteousness can be developed within them. So we see that these attitudes in vv. 6-8 are based on the foundational attitudes in vv. 3-5 related to humility.  

From there we build the next beatitude. Matthew 5:9 NASB "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Again, this is a verse not talking about a positional reality in the believer's life or something that we have just because we are believers, it is something that we apply in our life. We will see a connection to that as we go through our study on experiential righteousness.

Matthew 5:10 NASB "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

When we read in v. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst we must recognize that there is a warning that comes at the end of the beatitudes that those who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness and pursue righteousness run the risk of being persecuted for righteousness. And yet there is a reward for that: "… for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

The word "blessed" is the Greek makarios, which means to be blessed or happy. It is a word that emphasizes a mental state, not an emotional state. It emphasizes one's relationship to God which brings stability, tranquility, contentment and enjoyment of life, not on the basis of ephemeral circumstances or fleeting emotions but on something that is immutable. We cannot have a stable state of happiness if that happiness is based on that which changes. Everything in creation changes; only God is unchanging. And so only by basing our happiness on the things of God can we have happiness and share that happiness with God.  

We are told that this happiness is based on another value, another character trait: hungering and thirsting for righteousness. We have two different verbs here, both are present active participles used with an article, which indicates basically that they are describing a particular kind of person. The literal meaning of these terms refers to actual hunger and actual thirst but they are often used metaphorically. Metaphorically they describe a passion; they describe someone who craves something, have an intense desire for something. Often it is used to express something that should be a priority in our life. That is how it is used here. This is someone who has a passionate desire for righteousness. The word dikaiosune has the connotation of righteousness: a moral, ethical value. 

Righteousness comes in two kinds, two flavors. The first is what we describe as imputed righteousness, the righteousness that every believer possesses at the instant of salvation. At the instant of salvation God the Father in a legal transaction credits to our account the perfect righteousness of Christ, so that when God the Father looks at us He doesn't look at us in terms of our own personal immorality or unrighteousness, He looks at us in terms of the fact that we possess the righteousness of Christ. That is our position in relation to God's justice. However, experientially we all fail. We have a sin nature and we still sin. We can sin grievously and in ways that shock us. But the grace of God provides a solution. Because we are believers in Christ, and Christ died for our sins, the sin penalty is paid for. We can't impress God with our penitential attitude because God knows how many more times we will commit that sin or sins. What we do is simply remind God and ourselves through confession (acknowledge those sins to Him) and God forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The basis for that is 1 John 1:7, that the blood of Christ (His death on the cross) is the reason we are cleansed from all sin.

But Scripture says that we are to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and when we fail to walk by the Spirit we are walking according to the sin nature. These are mutually exclusive. Sin permeates everything when we are walking according to the flesh and so there has to be a means of cleansing to reverse the failure. That is confession, 1 John 1:9.  

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are not hungering and thirsting for imputed righteousness because that is ours completely and totally and irreversibly at the instant of our faith in Christ. The other kind of righteousness mentioned in Scripture is experiential righteousness, the righteousness that is produced in our lives as a result of our walk by God the Holy Spirit. As we apply the Word of God through our lives and as we follow the leadership through the Word of God of God the Holy Spirit then He produces this experiential righteousness in our lives. This is in contrast to the kind of righteousness that the scribes and the Pharisees were emphasizing.

Romans 10:3 is Paul's summary of the false righteousness that was dominant in 2nd temple Judaism. Speaking of the Jews and the Jewish concept of righteousness under the Pharisees he says: NASB "For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."

The result of hungering and thirsting or having a passion for righteousness is that we will be filled. The word for filled here is the verb chortazo. It is used often to refer to feeding or fattening cattle. It is derived from the basic root word which means green grass and it comes to mean to be fully satiated or satisfied. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness then God will satisfy us. It is a future passive indicative. That means that the fulfillment is at some point in the future and God is the one who supplies it. It is a passive verb. We do not fill up ourselves, we receive that satisfaction and that comes from God. This tells us, in line with other aspects in the beatitudes, that the ultimate reference point of the beatitudes in their fulfillment is in the future kingdom. Inheriting the kingdom is emphasized in vv. 5, 10 and so it is a future fulfilment. It is challenging us to live a certain way now in light of a future destiny. This connection of experiential righteousness today with the future kingdom is also expressed in Romans 14:17 NASB "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."He is not talking about a present kingdom. There is no present form of the kingdom today; it has been postponed. The verb "eating" is not a verb like we have in Matthew 5:6, it is the noun for food. It should be translated: "for the kingdom of God is not food and drink". Both are nouns in the Greek. " … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" is what will characterize the future kingdom. So by walking by the Spirit today where He produces righteousness in our lives we are in training and being prepared for the future kingdom.

The passage which gives the most instruction related to experiential righteousness is found in Romans chapter six. In Romans chapter six Paul is laying the foundation for the spiritual life of the church age believer. That spiritual life is based, according to Paul's logical development of Romans, first on being justified. Justification from God comes as a result of having received the righteousness of Christ in imputation. This is described in Romans chapters three and four specifically. So in Romans chapter six what we see is the result for the believer, those who have been justified in Christ. At the beginning of the chapter Paul lays down the foundation for our spiritual life. This is quite significant. Nothing like this ever happened in the Old Testament. He is describing something unique to church age believers and it distinguished church age believers from every other believer in every other dispensation.  

Romans 6:3 NASB "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" No Old Testament saint was ever baptized into Christ. No Tribulation saint will be baptized into Christ. This is a distinguishing feature of church age believers. No millennial saint will be baptized into Christ. There might be something similar but nothing that has been described in the Scriptures. Here Paul lays down the foundation for the sanctification or the spiritual life of the individual believer. It is grounded upon the fact that we have been identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.

The implication from that: Romans 6:4 NASB "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might [should] walk in newness of life." It is important to note the Greek verb there. It is potential, not actual. Paul is not saying that it is inevitable that the believer will walk in newness of life. He is saying that the reality is that at salvation we are identified with Christ so that we might walk in newness of life. We should walk in newness of life is the point that he is making here, but we know that there are believers who do not walk in newness of life. Many times it is because they are never taught about it. Other times it is because they are rebellious children (they are still children nonetheless).  [5] "For if we have become united with {Him} in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be {in the likeness} of His resurrection." So in those verses he lays down the foundation for our spiritual life.

Another implication: Romans 6:7 NASB "for he who has died is freed from sin." Literally this does not mean that he has been freed from sin. That term isn't in the text; it is actually the perfect passive indicative of dikaioowhich is the word for righteousness.By receiving imputed righteousness this righteousness has delivered us from the tyranny of the sin nature, not the presence of the sin nature. A break occurs. It never occurred before in history. No Old Testament saint had the power of the sin nature in his life broken. It never happened. They were just as much a slave to the sin nature after salvation as before salvation. The only thing that can break the power of the sin nature is to become dead to the sin nature. The only thing that can allow us to be dead to the sin nature is to be identified with the death of Christ. Until this happened that never occurred. This is why the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a distinguishing mark for the church age believer. As a result of that, the fact that we have died to sin, we have a conclusion drawn in verse 11: "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." In other words, don't live like you did before you were saved, when you were a slave to sin. That master-slave relationship has been broken; now live in light of your new master who is the Lord Jesus Christ.    

Romans 6:12 NASB " Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts." The fact that he continues with these imperatives—to consider ourselves to be dead to sin, to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, and other imperatives that we will see coming up—indicates that Paul does not consider this to be an inevitability in the life of the believer. If it was inevitable he wouldn't have to tell us to do it. He tells us to do it because it is not inevitable. We have to come to understand the dynamics of the baptism by the Holy Spirit and then we have to incorporate that into our own thinking and implement it when we face temptation. We may not always be successful but the more we attempt to apply it and the more we are successful we will grow. It takes time to reorient our thinking to this new reality of being free from the power and authority of the sin nature. 

Rom 6:13 NASB "and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin {as} instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members {as} instruments of righteousness to God. [14] For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace."

In v. 13 Paul uses two different forms of the word "present" in order to express his imperatives. He says, "Do not present your members." This is a present active imperative, which means he is stating this as a standard operating procedure for every single believer. It should be the ongoing reality in the life of every believer—that we are not going to offer our members or our lives as unrighteousness and sin. This is not talking about salvation; it is talking about experiential unrighteousness. As a believer we should not let unrighteousness characterize our lives. He goes on to say, "but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead." The same verb is picked up as in Romans 12:1—"present yourselves a living sacrifice". But the second "present" there is an aorist imperative, which means that this is stated as the highest priority for the believer. We are to make sure that we present ourselves as being alive from the dead because we are alive from the dead. Too often many believers are still walking around as if they are still dead. This is analogous to someone who has grown up under the tyranny of the Marxist totalitarian system that characterized Soviet Russia who manage to get out and come to the West where they have freedom, and yet they can no longer think in terms of freedom because their freedom was destroyed in them under the Soviet dictatorship. So they are very unhappy under freedom just as many Jews were unhappy under freedom when escaped from Egypt. They couldn't live as free people because they rejected the teaching of God and wanted to go back and live as slaves rather than learn to live as free men.

We were delivered from the tyranny of the sin nature and we have to learn to live now as those who are free to live in a different environment. We don't want to go back and live under a system of slavery which is what we had before we were saved. We are to live the life which is characterized by the righteous standards of God.

Romans 6:15 NASB "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!" He uses these rhetorical questions in order to focus our attention on what he is saying. Should we use this as an excuse for sin now that we are under grace? Of course not! Then he has another question. [16] "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone {as} slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?"

When we sin now what we are basically saying is, "I prefer to go back under the master-slave relationship of the sin nature." It is a choice. Before we were saved we only had one nature, a sin nature. We only had one option and that was to sin. Now we have an option not to sin. Paul is challenging us that we are not to go back to that old relationship because what it implies is that we prefer the slavery to the sin nature. What we should do, as he states it in the second half of the question, is that we should present ourselves through obedience that leads to righteousness. Because when we are walking by the Spirit and are obedient to God, God the Holy Spirit uses that to produce experiential righteousness in our lives.  

Romans 6:17 NASB "But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, [18] and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." Having been set free doesn't mean we don't sin otherwise it wouldn't be necessary to say these things. Freedom from sin simply means freedom from the tyranny of the sin nature. "… you became slaves of righteousness." That is our new position. We shifted owners at the point of salvation.    

Romans 6:19 NASB "I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh [sin nature]…" We still have a weakness because we still have a sin nature. Paul recognizes that.  "… For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in {further} lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification." Again he uses an aorist imperative, indicating that this is a priority. Because it is an imperative it necessarily implies that we can choose to be disobedient. Sadly, too many believers choose to be disobedient and live their lives in the same way that they did before they were saved. But the challenge for us now that we are new creatures in Christ, members of God's royal family, is to live as if we are members of that family and not as we did prior to the time we were saved.

What Paul is saying here is that we can present ourselves to sin as believers and it leads to death. Not to spiritual death but to a death-like existence in life. It is not a life of happiness. It is not the blessed life that Jesus is talking about in the Sermon on the Mount. If we present ourselves to sin then the sin nature produces corruption and death in our lives and we eviscerate our own spiritual life. We don't lose our spiritual life but we are living it as though we don't have it. Obedience, though, leads to righteousness. The Holy Spirit produces that righteousness in our lives.

Romans 6:17 NASB "But thanks be to God that though [because] you were slaves of sin, [but] you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed". That is the contrast. [18] "and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." We can translate that as a temporal participle: "when you were set free from sin (the point of justification) you became slaves of righteousness". This is our new identity.

In verses 20-23 we see various explanations indicated by that particle "For". Romans 6:20 NASB "For when you were slaves of sin [as an unbeliever], you were free in regard to righteousness." There was no righteousness in the life. No matter how much morality was there it didn't produce anything of righteous value for God.

Romans 6:21 NASB "Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death." In other words, the things that you did before, the things you are now ashamed of, the things you now recognize as wrong. Did that produce any eternal fruit in your life? No, of course not. He says the natural result of that is death. It produced an unsatisfied life; it produced unhappiness. It might have produced ephemeral moments of joy or happiness but it didn't produce true tranquility and contentment and joy in life.  

Romans 6:22 NASB "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life."

Here is the question. Is the everlasting/eternal life talking about the eternal life that we gain when we trust in Christ as savior, or is it talking about something else? If it is talking about the eternal life that new get as believers we have a problems, because faith in Christ is not based on works. But here the fruit to holiness is talking about experiential righteousness that gives us a quality of life. The term "everlasting life" has two dimensions to it. It has a quantity dimension, i.e. ongoing, never-ending life, but it also has a quality dimension, a depth dimension to it. This is what Jesus speaks about in John 10:10 " …I came that they may have life, and have {it} abundantly." This is the life of the mature believer.

Having been set free from sin we can pursue real life. If the result of our life after we are saved, living according to the sin nature is a death-like experience, then the opposite, i.e. living according to God's Word and applying it in our life, will produce true depth of life and quality of life. Neither the death nor the life here, which are being contrasted, are talking about eternal condemnation or eternal life in heaven. One is talking about the believer who produces self-induced misery and self-destruction in his life because he continues to live according to the sin nature, and the other is the believer who is living according to the Word of God and experiences that blessed state that Jesus is speaking of in Matthew 5-7. If we want to have true happiness and joy in life and experience abundant life, then this is the result of an ongoing walk by the Holy Spirit, presenting ourselves as slaves to obedience and righteousness rather than slaves to the sin nature after we are saved.

That leads us to verse 23 which is often taken to be a salvation verse but in context is not talking about getting justified; that was discussed in Romans 3-4. It is talking about the results of living and presenting ourselves as slaves to the sin nature. The wages of sin is death. This is the same thing Paul was saying earlier: the end of those things was death before we were saved, and if we still live according to the sin nature it still produces death. Not eternal death; we can't lose our salvation. Our destiny is still heaven but if we are living like an unbeliever we are going to have the same consequences in our life today—misery and unhappiness.

Romans 6:23 NASB "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eternal life doesn't just have an eternal dimension to it, a quantity dimension to it, it has a quality dimension to it. And the only way we realize the quality dimension is to walk by the Holy Spirit.

This emphasis on pursuing righteousness is brought out numerous times in other epistles. For example, 1 Timothy 6:11 and 2 Timothy 2:22 Paul commands Timothy to pursue righteousness. That is the same idea as hungering and thirsting for righteousness.    

1 Timothy 6:11 NASB "But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance {and} gentleness."

2 Timothy 2:22 NASB "Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love {and} peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." This is the same idea Jesus is talking about in Matthew 5:6.

As a result Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:8 NASB "in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." The emphasis is no the judgment seat of Christ. Those who love His appearing are not just those who anticipate and desire the Rapture to occur but it is to those who recognize that at the time of the Rapture we are going to be taken to be with the Lord in the air, and following that is the judgment seat of Christ. We are looking forward to the judgment seat of Christ because we have pursued righteousness and there we will receive rewards, and there we will hear those words from our savior: Well done thou good and faithful servant.

1 John 3:7, 10 also emphasize this. Talking to believers, John says: NASB "Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous". He is talking about experiential righteousness. " … By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother." These are fellowship verses, not salvation verses. The person who is a believer and practices righteousness is going to demonstrate his family relationship in terms of his relationship with God. The one who doesn't is living as if he is a child of the devil.

What we see here is a challenge to each of us, that we are to take our salvation lightly but that at the instant of justification we are also adopted as royal family where there is a standard of living. We are to live according to that standard which includes a hunger and thirst for righteousness so that as a result of that we can experience the abundant life that God has provided for us and that we can enjoy all of the blessings in time that God has for us, summarized in the term "blessed" which means to be happy or to be fulfilled in this life because of our relationship to God.