I found myself smiling last night as I viewed a video on Facebook that recorded an impromptu stop that presidential candidate Donald Trump made at a small diner in Ohio. The look on the patron’s faces was price-less! People either stood in awe with big grins or with their mouths wide open in amazement as he walked through the restaurant shaking hands and clapping folks on the back as they sat in their booths eating their meals. You could also see folks in the background whispering to each other things like: “Is that really who I think it is?” or “Is that Donald Trump?”
Let’s face it… Whether you are for the candidate or not, it is not every day that a high profile individual walks into the place you are eating and walks around the room chatting with the people like it is just another ordinary day! I saw the same thing happen years ago when Piper and I walked into a take and bake pizza restaurant near our home when Charles Schultz, the writer of the famous “Peanuts” comic strip walked in. He was well known in our hometown as he had lived there for many years. But when he came in the door a sudden hush came over the room and people instantly began to smile and whisper to each other.
But not my wife! She boldly walked up to him, introduced herself and shook his hand! I
should probably add that her Dad had met Mr. Schultz on various occasions and had a custom, autographed drawing that Charles had drawn of her Dad and Snoopy, complete with a funny saying that he proudly displayed on the wall in his office when he was a dean at the Santa Rosa Junior College. Piper’s Dad loved to tell a good story and I am sure that she had heard the story of how the picture came about many times and most likely felt like she knew Mr. Schultz personally!
My point in these examples is to demonstrate that most of us are not used to “rubbing elbows” with well-known public individuals. For many of us it comes as a surprise when we come into personal contact with them and many times we will yield to them because of their stature in the community. Sometimes it helps to know someone in high places when a special favor or access is needed! We see that as being a very hot topic right now in our Presidential campaign here in the U.S.
Speaking of access… I always thought it was cool whenever Piper came to visit me when I worked at Hewlett Packard as they would call me from the front desk so I could come down and vouch for her, sign her in based on my authority as an employee and be able to escort her past the security and into my work area. I always felt so special when I would come up to the security desk and see the big smile on Piper’s face as I would look to the guard, flash my picture ID and say “It’s okay, she’s with me!” Then she’d slide her left arm under my right arm and we would saunter off into the factory!
Well, you must know that as Christians we have that same kind of access into the things of God through our relationship with Jesus Christ! 2 Corinthians 5:21 informs us “For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (MKJV) Simply put, the word “righteousness” means to have right standing with God. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges notes that “The whole context (of this portion of scripture) points to not a moral change, but a legal standing.”
So when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord we gain the legal right to have right standing with Papa God. Jesus’ finished work of the cross has enabled those of us who believe to be acceptable and justified before God. Thayer’s Greek Definitions defines “righteousness” as “The condition acceptable to God,” one in which we receive His “integrity, virtue, purity of life, righteousness and correctness of thinking, feeling and acting.”
Now let’s pause here for a moment… DO YOU GET IT? As Christians we are legally acceptable before God! He NOW sees us as all those descriptions above… whether we always feel like it or not! If the enemy of our souls was to drag one of us before the courtroom of heaven to condemn us before God for some screw-up we made, the Holy Spirit (as our advocate/lawyer) would stand before the judge and describe our legal rights and position declaring that we are people of integrity, virtue, purity, righteousness and are correct in our thinking, feelings and with our actions. It is the Law! And we would be deemed innocent because of the legal precedence set with Jesus’ finished work!
I like to think of righteousness as meaning that we have the right to be right there with Papa God… anywhere we go. In other words, we have the right to hang out with God… in His presence 24/7 – 365 days a year! It’s like having special access to anything good, anywhere we go! Just as Piper could tell the guard at H.P. that she was with me, as Christians we can walk up to the “guarded places” that come up before us in this life and turn to the side, point to Jesus who is right there next to us, and say: “It’s okay… I’m with Him!”
What do you think? It is our legal right. Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we can come “boldly before the throne of (His) grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (MKJV) We have been given special access to be right there with God anytime we want! So it shouldn’t be a big surprise when Papa God walks into the restaurant that we are eating in, walks up to us and shakes our hand… should it? It should be a normal thing for us to hob-nob with God! It’s our right!
I’ve learned that the more time I spend with Him, experiencing His truth, His Grace and His love, the more like Him I become in the way I walk my daily life! How about you? Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “With Whom am I expecting to stand right with today?”