9.3 A Kingdom of Righteousness
9.3 A Kingdom of Righteousness
© 2016 Christ Revealed Bible Institute
A Kingdom of Righteousness
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
I am finally comfortable, very comfortable, coming back around to the term “righteousness.” If you did a word search of my writing until now, you would find very few uses of the word righteousness, even though it is a very common word in the New Testament as well as the Old. The reason is simple. When I left the move fellowship I had been a part of for many years, I put everything on the shelf, waiting for the right moment when God chose to bring any particular thing back off that shelf.
Off the Shelf
It is time for righteousness as a topic to come off that shelf.
You see “righteousness” was always held over my head in every word on the topic as a performance I must adhere to all the time. If I failed to adhere to that performance, then evidently, I was self-willed and in rebellion against God. It was this concept that left me utterly without hope as I left that fellowship, frozen inside, loving Jesus with all my heart, but being unable to receive His love in return. Those ministries in the move who taught that way were people who drew close to the Holy of Holies, got a word they did not understand, and ran with it to their hurt and everyone else’s.
Let’s turn back to God’s true righteousness.
The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of righteousness.
Righteousness does NOT mean “right living,” for “right living” is a construct found only inside the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; “right living” is all about the individual self and always comes perfectly matched with “wrong living.” In the tree of life, “living” is a Person, and righteousness is right relationships among all Ppersons involved in this wondrous divine/human symmorphy, the Body of Christ.
Righteousness is right relationships. Righteousness is how I treat you, and thus, how I treat God, being the same thing. Righteousness isn’t just knowing that Christ lives as me; righteousness is knowing that Christ also lives as you.
Connections and Movement
Consider the budgies of Australia flying in beautiful and intelligent maneuvers. Covenant is the freedom and intelligence inside each individual bird, the only source of everything the flock is or does. Kingdom is the connections and movement of the entire flock. And righteousness is the relationship between each individual budgie and those budgies flying in proximity to it.
Here are some expressions of this righteousness. Therefore, receive one another, just as Christ also received us (Romans 15:7). – And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 3:32). (Be just like God.)
A Dynamic Quality
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness… (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Righteousness is not a static quality innate inside a person. Righteousness is the dynamic quality of relating coming out of one person towards another person, whether that other person be God or another member of the body of Christ, being the same thing.
Wisdom is actually similar. Wisdom is not a static quality of being “smart” innate inside a person. Wisdom is the dynamic quality of wise interaction coming out of one person towards another person.
We Need One Another
The Kingdom of God is movement, and that movement is always a mutual two, one member moving together with one other member, and vice versa.
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another (Ephesians 4:25). Let’s adjust the wording just a bit, according to God’s clear definitions. Therefore, putting away all pretending and show, “Let each one of you speak Christ your only life WITH His neighbor (a mutual back and forth),” for we are members of one another. – We are members of, that is, we need one another.
I was imagining a future scenario of working together with my younger son on a building project in which I would be the knowledge and he would be the strength and the hands. Such a project could work ONLY on one condition. ME! I would have to do something not easy for me to do. I would have to accept with all my heart that the Lord Jesus Christ IS living as my son.
You see, I say “Do it this way,” and my son says, “Why?” I don’t hear my son’s words as Jesus asking me “Why?” to which I respond kindly with a simple explanation. I hear those words as a challenge (even though they are not) and I respond wrongly.
Moving in Righteousness
If such a scenario were to come to pass, I would like it very much because both the proposed task and working with my son are very important to me. Yet I KNOW that it would not work except I moved in righteousness towards my son.
Moving in righteousness towards my son MEANS that I accept, when I think he is “wrong,” that it is Christ Jesus Himself with whom I am working. And moving in righteousness towards my son MEANS that when I am “wrong,” I accept it as Christ living as me and say to my son, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me; I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Righteousness is expressed through humility in myself without subservience and acceptance of my son in every particular as Jesus Himself in simple joy. When I beat myself up for acting wrongly, I am denying that Christ is living as me in all that I am. And when I treat another, especially those whom I deem to be “under my authority,” as anything other than the Lord Jesus Himself in Person, then I am denying that Christ is living as them.
The Kingdom of God is friendship, the deepest of friendships. And friendship is the willingness to be wrong AND the willingness to accept your friend’s being “wrong” as Christ.
Two Walking Together
I am speaking of two walking together, heart with heart, in the highest honor and regard for one another, each one taking on one's self the pain of all the thoughtless actions of the other, yet each one knowing it is so, and honoring the other for such Father love. No friendship can exist without this quality of willingness.
More than that, the Kingdom of God is not a “group,” in spite of the presence of many entities inside its ecosystem. The Kingdom of God, Church, is the friendship of one heart with one heart relating as if each one is the Lord Jesus. If one and one walk together heart with heart, then the whole Body is one. But if there are no friendships of one with one, neither is there a Body.
Christ as me means that I am real as I am. I accept myself fully. When I do stupid things, I accept my own foolishness fully (putting away lying).
When I react in frustration to a brother who is not thinking of me as I am not thinking of him, I accept my own foolishness fully. I say, “Oh, my dear brother, forgive me, I was wrong.” In the same way I laugh with joy as I say, “And dear brother, I forgive you for being thoughtless.”
Christ, laughing together with Christ, friend with friend, one with one in the deepest of friendship, in overflowing and exuberant joy, over the bumbling silliness of being humans, that is, Christ as us, that is, the righteousness of God.
We Are Judges
Righteousness is NOT a rigid conformance to an outward rule or definition. Righteousness is being real in our relationships with one another, treating one another in the full recognition of the truth, that Christ is living as the other through all of their humanity, just as He is living as us. For we are members of one another.
In Genesis 1:26, the Being who said, “Let Us make man in Our image,” was Elohim, or anglicized, Els (plural). El means judge; Elohim means judges. David said that, because we are children of the Judge, we also are judges (Psalm 82:6).
Listen in on any human conversation and you will find that most of the time those who are conversing are, in one way or another, pronouncing judgment, and that judgment is almost always, judgment against. Because we are created like God, we judge all the time; because we have been empty of God, we judge very badly.
As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me (John 5:30). – Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment (John 7:24). – You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me (John 8:15-16).
Interacting with Others
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29). I am getting at something very definite here. The Kingdom of God is righteousness.
As I live and walk, now and through all the ages to come, I am constantly interacting with other people. And in interacting with other people, I am constantly making judgments. The budgies of Australia could never fly in beautiful and intelligent formation except that each individual budgie is making constant judgments regarding all the budgies near it.
Two Ways to Judge
There are two ways for us to judge. The first is to judge according to the flesh and the second is to judge WITH Father. My judgment is true for I am WITH the Father.
Judging according to the flesh is judging by two tiny and confined sources of information. By “the flesh,” my first source of information is your outward appearance as I see it, and my second source of information is my own twisted propensities of self as I see them. If I fail to see Christ in me, in equal measure, I will fail to see Christ in you. The proof that I see Christ in me is my constant discovery of Christ in you.
Judging with Father
Now, this whole distinction of judgment in the Church I explore in depth in The Two Gospels through the six chapters from “Church” through “Church by Father.” I will include portions of those chapters in the Appendix. Here, we have little interest in what judging according to the flesh means. Our focus is judging one another WITH Father.
I am typically hostile against any idea of our learning “how to behave,” or “God teaching us to do better.” Such concepts always place us outside of Christ and make us imagine that we will be IN Christ only as we learn to do. Such a mind of imagination always leads to sin, for it is a mind hostile to God, willfully and violently placing Father far away.
It is only as we walk in full knowledge of our complete union with Christ, Jesus living as us in all we find ourselves to be, can we walk in righteousness towards one another. Because we WILL act wrongly. We will.
But acting foolishly towards one another as bumbling humans is NOT unrighteousness and righteousness is NOT “perfect conduct.” Righteousness is “not lying”; righteousness is accepting ourselves as we find ourselves to be, humans who make mistakes. And as we accept ourselves in our mistakes as Jesus living as us, so we are then able to accept one another with all joy.
And thus, inside of Christ, righteousness is something we learn as we learn of Christ. We learn that we can walk as humans together, judging one another by righteousness. I am WITH Father, and you are WITH Father.
In order to walk together with you and you with me, we are constantly making judgments as individuals, for the head of the Body, the intelligence of the Body, is found in each one. Yet our judgments are righteous because we see the same Jesus in each other, the One upon whose breast we are always leaning our heads. – And the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy.
A Three-Part Definition
Let’s reiterate our three-part definition of the Kingdom of God.
First, we looked at the structure and form of that Kingdom as an ecosystem of many different entities living in proximity and in a mutually beneficial relationship. Second, we looked at the beating Heart of that Kingdom, the throne of the King, hearts filled with Father, life laid down and love poured out. And third, we looked at the quality of relationships between and among individual members of that Kingdom. As each one sees the glory of Christ in him or her self, so each sees, and moves together with, that same Jesus in all others.
Many Moving as One
The Kingdom of God is a complex set of relationships. The Kingdom of God is many moving together as one. This dynamic and complex set of relationships among many reveals an additional characteristic – Father made known.
The Heart of the Kingdom, Father being Himself, is the Mercy Seat of God, our hearts, bearing all for all, believing all for all. The core of the Kingdom, the source out from which the entire ecosystem of God among us flows, is the Heart of God made visible through us who live only inside that Heart.
And the Kingdom of God is each member relating together with each other member in righteousness, Christ with Christ, friend with friend, receiving one another as Jesus Himself.