Follow After Righteousness
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.
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
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"