Realizing the Kingdom (5)
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
- Philippians 1.9-11
A jewel of many facets
Righteousness is the defining attribute of the character of the Kingdom of God. Paul said that “the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit” (Rom. 14.17).
We have been examining more carefully what Paul means by “righteousness”, looking at one passage from Philippians to guide our study. We have seen that righteousness is a gem with many facets, the leading edge of which is love. The Lord Jesus is bringing righteousness to light in us when we are abounding more and more in love for God and our neighbors.
The second facet of the gem of righteousness is excellence – attaining the highest standards of beauty, goodness, and truth in all we say and do.
The third facet is purity, that inner condition of the soul that both fuels love and excellence and is fueled by them. Without purity, love and excellence are pretty feeble, and may even tend more toward self-love and mediocrity. But with purity working in our minds, hearts, and consciences, love and excellence can truly blossom; and when they do, they reinforce purity and make it of an even higher degree of intensity, thus fueling more love and excellence.
Extend this way of living consistently over time and you can be described as “blameless.”
Consistency over time
Blamelessness is the fourth facet of the gem of righteousness. The purity-to-love-and-excellence-to-increased-purity cycle is a wonderful thing, and something we must all strive for as part of seeking and realizing the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
But we don’t want to attain this righteousness merely now and then, or only with certain people, or in certain settings – like at church, for example. No, what we want is a life in all its parts, at all times, day-in and day-out, in every relationship, role, and responsibility demonstrating this pattern in such a way that God is glorified and praised, both by us and the people around us.
This is the blameless life.
But who is there to blame us, anyway? Certainly not God. Sure, He will convict us of sin when necessary; but God doesn’t blame and accuse us. We can be pretty tough on ourselves sometimes. And when you get into one of those self-accusing moods, it can be pretty awful. You get frustrated and angry, feeling like you can’t do anything right, so what’s the use of even trying – we’ve all been there. Other people might try to blame us for things, too. We tend to be fairly critical of one another – it’s a way of deflecting blame from ourselves. And then there is the “accuser of the brethren” – the devil, I mean. He’s always trying to persuade us that we aren’t good Christians, we’re a constant disappointment to God, and it may even be that we aren’t saved.
So there are plenty of blame-layers around, and when we’re feeling accused and blamed for things, it can present a serious obstacle to living in excellence and love.
But the more we are able – through increased knowledge and discernment – to abound in love, approve things that are excellence, and thus reinforce the purity in our souls, the more consistent we will be in every area of our lives to show the righteousness of Christ and His Kingdom. Then we won’t be blaming ourselves, and others will be glorifying and praising God because of what they see in us. And the devil? We have the promise of God’s Word that he will high-tail it away as soon as he sees there is no hope of getting us down.
Blamelessness and God’s Law
Blamelessness is closely related to keeping the Law of God, as we see in Luke 1.6 (and elsewhere). The more we meditate in God’s Law, the more we will improve love for God and neighbors (Matt. 22.34-40), the more excellence will characterize all aspects of our lives, and the more purity will obtain in our souls.
The righteousness of Jesus Christ, which is the only righteousness we can ever know, is grounded in obedience to God’s Law (Matt. 5.17-19). The more blameless we can be with respect to the Law of God, the more we may expect the righteousness of Christ to increase in us.
Love, excellence, purity, and blamelessness – these are the four facets of the gem of righteousness, the defining attribute of the character of the Kingdom of God.
For more insight to the character of the Kingdom of God and its impact on our lives, enroll in the course, PT 1 Spiritual Maturity 1: Revival. This free online course will help you to realize more of the presence and power of the Kingdom of God in your everyday life.