Brother Kenyon (1867–1948) was another proponent of the gospel of grace and relevant excerpts from his book ‘Two Kinds of Righteousness’ is given below…
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HOW GOD MADE US RIGHTEOUS
Our standing with God is on the ground of faith in Jesus Christ. In other words, God laid upon Jesus our iniquities. 2 Cor. 5:21, “Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf.” Jesus was more than a sin offering. He was actually made sin with our sins. He was made unrighteous with our unrighteousness. As our Sin Substitute, bearing our sins and bearing us, He went to the place of suffering after He left His body. He stayed there until every claim of Justice against us had been satisfied. He was our Substitute, taking our place, being made sin with our sin. He went to the prison to which sinners were sentenced and suffered until everything against us had been met. It was Deity suffering for humanity, and being Deity He could pay the penalty. When the Supreme Court of the Universe declared that what God had wrought in Christ was sufficient, that His sufferings were adequate and met every demand of Justice, He declared that Jesus was justified or made Righteous. Rom. 4:25. In 1 Tim. 3:16 Paul says that He was “justified in the spirit.” and in 1 Pet. 3:18 we read that He was “made alive in the spirit.” He was born out of death, so that He is called again and again, “the first born from among the dead.” God laid our sin upon Him. He was made to be sin, made to suffer in our stead. When He had met the demands of Justice, death could hold Him no longer. He was “declared righteous.” He was “made alive”. He became the “firstborn from the dead”-the Head of a New Creation. Col. 1:18. When we believe in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, God is able to declare us righteous on the ground of what Jesus did. There are two phases to this Righteousness. First, God declares us righteous; and second, we are made New Creations. We become partakers of the Divine Nature, so that we are righteous by nature and righteous by faith. Now we can understand 2 Cor. 5:21, “Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf.” Why? “That we might become the righteousness of God in him.” As surely as God made Jesus sin, God made us righteous the moment we accepted Him. “Being justified freely by his grace (or, being made righteous freely by his grace) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” He declares that we were made righteous freely by His grace through the redemption that was in Christ Jesus. He did this “for the showing, I say, of his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God.” What does lie mean by that? From the time Adam fell until Jesus hung on the Cross, God had been covering sin with the blood of bulls and goats. Lev. 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls.” The word “atonement” means “to cover”. It is never used in connection with the blood of Christ because the blood of Christ does not cover-it cleanses! We do not need to be covered. Under the Law, sin was not put away. It was not cleansed. It was only covered by the blood of bulls and goats. Now by faith we can take Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. When we do that we become the Righteousness of God in Him. Being made righteous by His grace, we have peace right now with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Having been made righteous, having been declared righteous by the Supreme Court of the Universe, having had this fellowship restored that had been broken through the ages, the peace of God which passeth all understanding floods our beings. Rom. 5:1. Now we can stand in His presence without any Sin-Consciousness, without any fear, because “as He is, so are we in this world.” He is righteous. He Himself has declared us righteous and made us righteous. This is the foundation on which faith grows. When we know this as the Word of God teaches it, we will step into the Father’s presence without any challenge or question in our minds. We know that there is therefore now no condemnation to us, because we are in Christ Jesus.
GOD HIMSELF OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS
Here must be more in this subject of Righteousness than most of us have realized. We know it is the key of the Revelation given to Paul. He said that he was not ashamed of the “Good News” for it not only gave to men salvation, but “therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith.” Rom. 1:7. Then in Rom. 3:21-22, “But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath come to light, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God on the ground of faith in Jesus Christ.” After stating the fact of our Redemption in Christ in this chapter, he makes a statement in the 26th verse, “For the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season that he might himself be righteous and the righteousness of him that hath faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) This is almost beyond our apprehension when God declares that He Himself has become our Righteousness. Righteousness means the ability to stand in God’s presence without the sense of guilt, condemnation, or inferiority. A Redemption that would be worthy of God must accomplish this. Man has been estranged from God. He must be restored. Lying behind this is the heart tragedy that man is the reason for Creation. When man sinned he separated himself from the fellowship of the Father. The whole drama of Redemption is consummated in this man must be restored to perfect fellowship with the Father and it must be done upon legal grounds. Any Redemption that does not restore to man a perfect fellowship and a perfect relationship on legal grounds will not be worthy of the Father and will not lift man into the place that God has planned for him. The object of Righteousness is to give man fellowship. Because of this the Incarnation took place, the public ministry of Jesus, and then the Cross where He was made sin. He stayed under judgment until He was made Righteous. When He was made Righteous and given life, then He conquered our Adversary and arose from the dead. We know He was made sin with our sin. We know He must have been made Righteous, because He entered into the Father’s presence after His Resurrection as the head of the New Creation. If He, who had been spiritually dead and made sin with our sin, could be made Righteous and restored to perfect fellowship with the Father, then on legal grounds God can recreate us and give us the same Righteousness and fellowship enjoyed by the Master.
Jesus is the Lord over this New Creation. Gal. 6:15, “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.” All that an unsaved man does in repenting, in giving up sin, in penance, is the work of an unregenerate man. It has no standing with God. God takes the sinner as he is. No matter how deep in sin he has gone the New Birth will straighten him out. We have thought that a sinner could pray through, that he could repent until God would forgive him. All that is unscriptural. It is all right for a Jew under the Law, but not for a sinner tinder grace. The sinner is dead. He is sin. All the good works that he does are the works of sin. God does not want them. God takes him as he is-full of sin, rebellion, Satanic nature-and imparts to him His nature. His nature drives out that foul, unclean nature of Satan and makes him a New Creation. All the sins of that Old Creation are remitted instantaneously. The man stands before the Father as though sin had never been. The next step in the drama is the crux of the whole thing. 2 Cor. 5:21, “Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”
Everything we have done so far has been to one end, that man might become the righteousness of God in Christ. What does Righteousness mean? It is the ability to stand in the Father’s presence as though sin had never been, as free as Adam was before he transgressed. John 8:36, “If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (or in reality).” In the New Creation the Son has made us free. Rom. 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”. We are New Creations. We are the Righteousness of God in Christ. We have arrived; We are children of God. The only righteousness the church has known has been the Calvanistic type that made an unworthy man righteous. The new kind of Righteousness, that Paul described, is the Righteousness of a righteous man whom God has made good by imparting his very nature to him. When He said my righteous ones shall live by Faith, He is describing a New Creation that has been made righteous with His own nature. This is not a legal righteousness, nor a reckoned righteousness, but the actual impartation of God’s own righteous nature.
Universal Sin Consciousness is the parent of all the religions of the earth. Man has ever sought to rid himself of the sense of guilt and sin. Sin Consciousness was born at the Fall. It was manifested in Adam’s fear to meet God and his desire to cover his nakedness. The Revelation of God and the development of that Revelation have been to one end-to restore Righteousness to man. The meaning of Righteousness in this sense is the ability to stand in the presence of God without the sense of sin, guilt, or inferiority. It also includes the legal relation of a son, and fellowship with the Father God. When Adam sinned he instantly lost fellowship with Jehovah and the ability to approach Him. This Sin Consciousness has robbed man of his faith and filled him with a sense of unworthiness that dominates human consciousness today. Now the problem is this: Has God provided a Redemption that will take away this Sin Consciousness and permit man to come into His presence now and stand there as Jesus did? If God could do that, then faith is restored, for the great enemy of faith is the sense of unworthiness. Theology has failed to interpret the plan of Redemption in such a manner as to remove this Sin Consciousness from the minds of those who accept Christ. In fact, most of the ministers who are classed among the orthodox, continually preach sin instead of Righteousness, and keep their congregations under condemnation rather than lead them out into liberty where faith can function. I have come to see that the basis of real faith is to let the Christian know that Righteousness has been restored to him.
If there is anything that ought to free us and lift us above the age-old master, Sin Consciousness, it is this fact. In I Cor. 1 :30, Jesus is declared to be our Righteousness. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Here God declares He is our Righteousness. And in 2 Cor. 5:21, by the New Birth He makes us His Righteousness in Christ. No man who has received Eternal Life and given his spirit an opportunity to develop by feeding on the Word can ever challenge his standing with the Father. Never again will he shrink under that sin teaching of the modern pulpit and look upon himself as a failure and sin-ruled. He is a master. He has as much a right before the throne of grace as Jesus has upon it. He has as much a right in the Father’s presence as the Father has a right to sit upon His own throne. Why? Because the Father Himself planned the Redemption and wrought the Redemption through His Son, and sets His seal upon that Redemptive work by making the believer in Jesus Christ Righteous with His own Righteousness.
The definition of Righteousness as seen in the Pauline Revelation is the ability to stand in God’s presence without the sense of guilt or inferiority. The great major theme of these Epistles is the new Righteousness in contrast to the old Righteousness under the Law. One is by grace, the other by works. One was a limited Righteousness, the other an unlimited Righteousness. One gave man the standing of a servant, the other the standing of a son. This new kind of Righteousness was the “mystery kept hidden through the ages”. It was revealed by God to man through Paul. It is the revelation of a new kind of Fellowship based upon legal grounds. Man lost his Fellowship in the Garden.
It is the revelation of a New Covenant. The Old Covenant with its offerings, sacrifices, and laws was fulfilled and set aside. The New Covenant was instituted with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He became the High Priest, and we became the priests of this New Covenant.
TRUE CONCEPTION OF GOD
Sin Consciousness has given us a wrong picture of God and a wrong picture of the New Creation. It has made us see God as a holy, just, austere, and unapproachable Being who is ever on the alert to discover sin in us and condemn us. That conception has made us afraid and caused us to shrink from Him. The conception is wrong: He is a Father God.
The New Creation is complete in Christ, perfectly cared for, perfectly loved. In the presence of such great Scriptures, as 2 Cor. 5:21, we should repudiate every thought of weakness and Sin Consciousness, rise to the level of our place in Christ, and declare our freedom.
“Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” We have become the Righteousness of God in Him, but we have been living as slaves when we ought to reign as kings. We yielded without a fight when we heard the Adversary roar about our unworthiness to stand in God’s presence. Everytime we confess our weakness, we repudiate the finished work of Christ and belittle our own position and standing in Christ. Phil.
“Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” We have become the Righteousness of God in Him, but we have been living as slaves when we ought to reign as kings. We yielded without a fight when we heard the Adversary roar about our unworthiness to stand in God’s presence. Everytime we confess our weakness, we repudiate the finished work of Christ and belittle our own position and standing in Christ.
The sin problem stops being a problem the moment we know what we are in Christ. Faith is a problem only to those who are ignorant of their rights and privileges, and their place in Christ.
He could not have been accepted by the Father and been given that seat at the Father’s right hand unless He had made possible the New Creation, a perfect fellowship, and a perfect standing with the Father for all who believe on Him. Heb. 9:11-12 tells us that Christ carried His blood into the Heavenly Holy of Holies and made an eternal Redemption. “But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption.” If that is done then our Redemption is a complete, finished thing. God declares that it is. Satan’s dominion over us is broken. Heb. 9:24-26 declares that He is in the Father’s presence on our behalf, after putting sin away by the sacrifice of Himself. Heb. 7:25, “Wherefore also he is able to save to the utter-most them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” The word “save” also means “heal”; In His mind there are no incurables. He climaxes the whole thing by declaring that He made one sacrifice for sins forever, so that the man who accepts Him as his Saviour becomes God’s child. As His child, man becomes the Righteousness of God in Christ. Now we can approach the. Father at any time or anywhere with a quiet certainty that we have an audience. Faith has ceased to be a problem. Sin has ceased to be a problem. Righteousness has ceased to be a problem. Sonship has ceased to be a problem. We are now in Christ, New Creations, children of God. 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we children of God.” We are not problem children. We are children endowed with His ability, children beloved of the Father.
No man needs to stay in broken fellowship. Acting on 1 John 1:9 restores righteousness to him. No human religion, no philosophy, no works that natural man can do will ever give him fellowship with the Father or Righteousness which makes it possible for him to stand in the Father’s presence without Sin Consciousness. In other words, no man can have fellowship with the Father and be free from Sin Consciousness until he is a New Creation, until he becomes the Righteousness of God in Christ. But the instant a man is Born Again, he becomes the Righteousness of God in Christ. Then he has fellowship with the Father. He can stand in the Father’s presence as though he had never sinned.
THE CHURCH HIS BODY POSSESSING RIGHTEOUSNESS
Eph. 1:4, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him: in love having marked us out for the position of sons.” (Literal Translation). This is God’s declaration that, in this present life, He planned we should be holy and without blemish before Him. This is not after we die, but today. That holiness and beauty of life is all of grace, not of ourselves. The only thing we do is receive it, accept it with joy.
Heb. 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight.” It is the purpose of the risen Christ to “make us perfect in every good thing to do His will.” It is His business to work in us His own good pleasure, making us beautiful in the sight of the Father. Phil. 1 :6 carries us a step farther in this. “Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” He has begun His good work. He started it at the New Birth. Now He is taking the things of Jesus and building them into us. The very life of Christ is being built into us. This is done by our living in the Word and the Word dominating our daily walk.
RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH
The church does not appreciate what she is as declared in the Word. We have been taught that we were unworthy and unrighteous, that we were weak and had no faith, for so long that it has become a chronic disease. We look with fear upon any message that brings relief unless it is a message of works. If we could sacrifice something, if we could pray long enough and hard enough, if we could confess our sins enough, then in some way we might get straightened out in our spiritual life. The whole thing is wrong. Righteousness comes by faith. It is not gained by works, by repentance, by crying or by weeping. Neither does it come by the way of begging. It comes only by the way of faith. Man has always sought to get Righteousness by works. If we thought we could become the Righteousness of God by praying for a certain number of hours, we would do it. If we were told that someone had obtained Righteousness by confessing all their sins since childhood and by making restitution for them, we would be willing to make the effort. Righteousness does not come that way. It comes by faith. Not by your work but by Christ’s work. Not by your tears but by the tears of Christ. If everyone of us knew that we have Righteousness in us, we would become entirely independent of circumstances. If we were as conscious of being the Righteousness of God as we are conscious of being weak and unworthy, we would not be sick any longer, we would not be held in bondage to want and poverty. If we were as conscious of our Identification with Jesus Christ and our oneness with Him as we are conscious of physical pain and physical need, we would never have pain and we would never mention our needs again. This new sense of Righteousness, this new fact of Righteousness, this new discovery of our being the Righteousness of God in Christ gives us a new sense of freedom in Christ. It utterly destroys the Sin Consciousness and the Weakness Consciousness and the Want Consciousness. In their place has come the all absorbing reality of Christ. We know that He is our Righteousness and that we are the Righteousness of God in Him.
He put Satan and all his works under our feet. Now we know what Redemption means. We know we have become “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” We know that “of His fullness have we all received and grace upon grace. We know that we have received “the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness.” We reign as kings in the realm of life through Jesus Christ. W e begin to understand I Cor. 12:3, “And no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit.” Now we say it as New Creations conscious of our standing and our rights. Satan’s dominion has been broken. The Lordship of Jesus has begun. We shall not want because we are one with Him. He is the Vine, we are the branches. We are the fruit bearing portion of the Vine. We are His lips! We are His hands! We are living with Him. He is living in us unseen but real. We walk with Him. All this Righteousness gives us.
I once craved to get God’s estimation of our Righteousness, of our standing before the Father, and of our rights and privileges in Christ; in the New Covenant. I found it in the Pauline Revelation. I saw what we were in the mind of the Father and in the mind of the Master. I saw our limitless possibilities in the New Covenant and in our relation to Him as sons and daughters. Jesus was the “sample” Son. He said, “Greater works than these shall ye do because I go unto the Father.”
RIGHTEOUSNESS UNDER THE COVENANTS It thrilled me when I realized what mighty achievements were wrought by men who had only limited Righteousness under the First Covenant. I thought of Abraham. As soon as he was circumcised and came into the Covenant, God gave him a limited Righteousness. I thought of his daring to stand in the presence of God and plead for Sodom and Gomorrah with that lofty fearlessness that is not matched in our modern day by men who know their unlimited Righteousness and rights in Christ. I thought of the mighty acts of Moses who only had a servant’s place before Jehovah, yet he dared to obey God and achieved such marvelous victories for that slave nation, Israel. I thought of Joshua who dared to obey Jehovah and led that nation down to the shore of the Jordan when it was at flood-tide. He dared to say to the priests, “Take the Ark and go down and dip your feet into the water, and when you do a way will be opened for you to go through dry shod.” And yet, this man Joshua had only limited Righteousness-the Righteousness of a servant. We see him stand before the armies and cry to the sun, “Stand still until the nation is avenged of its enemies.” That man dominated the universe, and yet he had but limited Righteousness. We see Elijah at the Battle of the Gods on Mount Carmel calling down fire out of heaven, bringing rain upon a drought stricken land. He was an absolute master of the laws of nature. And yet, he was but a servant with a servant’s standing and a servant’s limited Righteousness. Space will not allow us to speak of Daniel and the three Hebrew children, or of David’s mighty men of war. They had only limited Righteousness, yet what prodigies they wrought. Their Righteousness was reckoned to them on the ground of the value that God placed upon the blood of bulls and goats, upon the sacredness of His Covenant with Abraham. They were not Recreated men and women as we are. They were but servants under a law that must be set aside for another to take its place, which was to be based upon a better sacrifice and better blood. Our hearts thrilled as we read of their obedience to the command of an Angel. They did not walk by faith as we do. They walked by sight. They saw the Angel. They heard his voice. They lived in the realm of the Senses. Their outstanding characteristic was obedience to the voice of God. He has given us a record of their mighty achievements based upon their obedience to the Abrahamic Covenant.
Do you see the limitlessness of this Righteousness that permits us to stand in the Father’s presence without the sense of guilt or condemnation, and gives us the ability to stand in the presence of Satan without the sense of inferiority? When He said, “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth,”-that was for the church, that was for this dispensation. That authority was not for Jesus but for us. His Name made us free from condemnation, free from Satanic dominion, by His redemption and by our New Creation.
The church has had a wrong conception of its place in Christ and of its dominion. We have been filled with fear. We have heard so much preaching about sin and weakness and failure that it has become a part of our very consciousness.
We are to function as rulers that dominate spiritual forces and reign as kings on earth now in Jesus Christ. Understand that he who can rule spiritual forces can also rule political conditions. The church should absolutely dominate the political elements of the world for the benefit of the human race. We have unlimited Righteousness. Let us take our limitless privileges and act the part of God’s own rulers in this world of darkness and hatred and selfishness.
WHAT LIMITS OUR USING OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS -What is it that limits our acting upon the Word and taking our place in Christ? What is it that holds us from taking advantage of our Righteousness in Christ?
It may be an unrenewed mind. After one is Born Again and comes into this vast inheritance of Grace, his mind is not in harmony with his recreated spirit. So, it is necessary that his mind be renewed. This unrenewed mind holds many men and women, who might be greatly used of the Lord, in a state of uselessness. Their minds may be renewed by acting on the Word, and by an intimate acquaintance with the Master through the Word.
Have you ever realized what it means to come boldly to the throne of grace? Have you ever realized what it means for us to be able to stand in the Father’s presence today as Jesus did in His earth walk? Do you know that we have as much a right to be free from Sin Consciousness as Jesus was in His earthly ministry? If we can stand in the presence of the Father without the sense of inferiority or sin, we are masters of every force and power of hell. Satan is defeated. When we know we are His Righteousness and know it as Jesus knew who He was, we will not fear evil, we will not fear any disease, we will not fear the lack of money. We will know we are absolute masters over every power of the Enemy.
Righteousness means the ability to stand in the Father’s presence as though sin had never touched us, with the same liberty and freedom that Jesus had with the Father in His earth walk. When we confess the Lordship of Jesus, it is not only His Lordship over us but it is His Lordship over all evil through us and by us. The moment we make this confession, we are one with Him.
What mighty things could be wrought if men were conscious of their Righteousness!
GOD’S PROBLEM The problem is this: Was God able to produce a Redemption that would redeem man from the hand of the Adversary, recreate him, make him a New Creation, and remit all that he had ever done ? Could God take the sin nature out of man and in its place give him His own nature so that he could stand before Him without any Sin Consciousness, without the sense of guilt or inferiority? Yes, He could and did provide a Redemption like that. The Pauline Revelation is the unveiling of that Redemption.
The moment we become the Righteousness of God, the Spirit becomes our teacher, the Word becomes our food and our education. We should be studying the Word, poring over it. The Spirit will illuminate it and make it a living thing in our lips and in our hearts. We will no longer be afraid of God, because we will realize that He is our Father. We will go to Him with a sense of joy and rest in His presence. It will be as natural for us to go to Him as it is for a son to go to his father. We will find a freedom in prayer that we have never known because we will be taking our place. We will say, “Father, we thank thee that we have a right to come into your presence, and we know that thou art pleased to have us come.” We will have faith in our own faith. We will believe that the love which has been imparted to us by the nature of God will conquer and overcome. That love in us will be like love in Jesus. It will gain the mastery over the masses. We will believe in the love that is in us, that it is stronger than any force that can come against us. We will have faith in humanity, that it will respond to the appeal of love, and that we will see the fruitage from our ministry. We will have faith in 1 Cor. 1:30, that God has made Jesus to be our wisdom and that we have in us God’s wisdom. Jesus Himself is in us as He was in Paul. We will know that He is not only our wisdom, but that He is also our Righteousness. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” He was made unto us Righteousness. We know of course that we are the Righteousness of God in Him. He is now our standing with the Father. We need have no sense of guilt, no need to continually pray for forgiveness. We should have no sense of sin because He is our Righteousness and He is in us. His fullness, His ability is in us. It is all ours. He is our sanctification. He is separating us from the things that would hinder us in our ministry, in our walk, in our joy in our usefulness. He is our Redemption from the hand of the Enemy. From this hour He is redeeming us from ignorance, failure, weakness, and from the habits that have held us in bondage. He has become all this to us through grace. We believe it. We rejoice in it, and live in the fullness of it.