Follow After Righteousness

Dear Brethren,

What does it mean to follow after righteousness?  When we understand the meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we will understand what it means to follow after righteousness.  Most of those who have heard of the Feast of Unleavened Bread know that the people of the Old Testament physically put leavening out of their homes, and did not eat leavened bread for one full week.  Few people realize that Jesus Christ, the author of the Old Testament, also intended New Testament Christians to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  A small amount of yeast will leaven all the dough it comes into contact with.  We have a similar saying in, "One bad apple will spoil the whole barrel."  Leavening is a type of sin, which spreads and contaminates with malice and wickedness.  Notice God's instructions, to also get rid of sinfulness to those New Testament Christians who were observing the Days of Unleavened Bread.

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the [Feast of Unleavened Bread], not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1Co 5:7-8)

Jesus Christ is the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  Not only do we put leavened bread out of our homes during the Days of Unleavened Bread - more importantly - we put sin out of our lives.  We put on Christ by following after righteousness.  These Days of Unleavened Bread picture our putting sin out of our lives so that we might put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  It is important to understand what the righteousness of Jesus Christ is.  Jesus, the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, is perfect in every aspect.  Jesus is perfection, holiness, purity, sinlessness, and righteousness personified.  We are not to remain in sin, but we are to come out of sin and put on the righteousness of Christ (Romans 13:14).

Paul wrote to Timothy:  "Thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."  (1Timothy 6:11-12)

How can we go about following after righteousness, since sin cannot come into the presence of God in His glory?  Our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2).  We cannot earn salvation - we can only pay for our sin by our death. Thankfully, Jesus has stepped in and paid that death penalty - but that doesn't make us righteous.  How do we follow after righteousness - how do we follow after Jesus Christ?

The prophet Daniel explained our opposite standing when he spoke of God's righteousness and our sinfulness, "…The Lord our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth: for we obeyed not His voice."  (Daniel 9:14)  And, David wrote of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  "The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all his works."  (Psalms 145:17) 

For us, then, righteousness is the state of being right with God as Jesus is.  Righteousness is equivalent to sanctification and holiness - the state of being justified by having our guilty past wiped out.  Unleavened Bread pictures how we obtain righteousness.  Unleavened Bread pictures our following after righteousness.  Our righteousness by our own hand cannot compare to the righteousness of Jesus.  "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."  (Isaiah 64:6) 

When we learn what it means to follow after righteousness - then the righteousness of Jesus Christ will graciously be imputed to us.  We have Abraham's example who was strong in faith, "And therefore it was imputed [attributed, counted, credited] to him for righteousness...  [In the same way, righteousness] shall be imputed to us, if we believe on Him [God the Father] that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."  (Romans 4:22-25) 

If we are following after righteousness, when we understand what is God's intention for us - we implement it in our lives.  We demonstrate our faith by our obedience - and when we do, Christ's righteousness in imputed to us.

"Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord."  (Isaiah 51:1) 


Sermon:  "Follow After Righteousness"