You cannot earn righteousness

Righteousness is a gift

Righteousness is never earned—it is a gift given by God.  You cannot earn righteousness—you simply are not able to.  Righteousness is a gift given by God through faith.

Deuteronomy 9:1-6 (NIV)  Hear, Israel: You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky.  The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you. After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

I.  Adam and Eve were created in innocence 
Genesis 2:25 (NLT) 25 “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.”
They were not righteous… they were innocent, just as little babies are when they are born.
Adam and Eve were not righteous because righteousness requires faith.

Romans 4:3 (NLT) 3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
  1. Is a gift.  It is not earned. 
  2. It is imputed by God to a person.
  3. It is received by faith.  When there is no faith, there is no righteousness.

The opportunity was presented to Adam and Eve to receive the gift of righteousness.

Here is the opportunity:
Genesis 2:8-9 (NLT) Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:15-17 (NLT) The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

This is a call to

  1. Faith:  Adam needed to have this conversation with himself:  ‘I can’t eat this fruit…because God said do not!  I have faith that God is God. I am not. He is to be honoured and obeyed as God.  It is a call to be obedient.’
  2. Trust:  Adam  needed to tell himself:  ‘Do not act independently from God.’
  3. If Adam and Eve had not eaten of the forbidden fruit they would have maintained total access to the tree of life which would feed their eternalness.  This fruit was sustenance for eternal living.

II.  Adam and Eve sin

  1. First, they lose their innocence  Genesis 3:10-11 (NLT) He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.  “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
  2. In losing their innocence they needed righteousness imputed to them-  This was a gift from a gracious God!  Genesis 3:21 (NLT) “And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.”    God shed the first blood as a covering of sin.  A fore-shadow of, or a type of Jesus’ sacrifice.
  3. Adam and Eve needed righteousness as a gift!   They receive the covering… but with innocence lost they are banned from the garden.  Genesis 3:22-24 (NLT)  Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made.  After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."
  4. In the future, the tree of Iife will show up again: Revelation 22:14 (NLT) “Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.”   Because, eternal innocence is restored!  And, the sustenance of eternal food is again made available because of new eternal bodies that are incapable of sinning.  


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