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http://www.michellebenthamcreates.com

Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Righteousness of Christ



God gave me a word for someone special today. It is such a revelation I felt some of you might need this beautiful testimony in your lives as well. Ladies, I struggled with the unworthiness issue for so many of the early years of my walk with Christ, what am I talking about 8 years is still early, but it seems such a lifetime ago.

God showed me clearly a picture of you in a radiant white garment, the garment of Christ's righteousness. It bore no soil or stain or blemish - nothing torn or showing signs of wear or the life we must muddle through here on earth. Instead you were pristinely presented in perfection. This is how God sees you, Beloved. He sees you as the righteousness of Christ. Allow Him to sanctify you through and through and be consecrated for the purposes He has set forth in your life - He already sees you positionally as righteous - walk it out in His power - El Shaddai. Our righteousness never depends on us, it was purchased as part of the bride price that redeemed our spirit, is redeeming our souls and will ultimately redeem our bodies.

I have a couple of Scriptures to share with you but before I do, I want to share with you something I learned from the book, "To Be A Jew" by Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin. It is speaking of the ceremonial cleansing of a woman after a period of uncleaness. Now listen carefully, a woman in Jewish custom is not to withhold herself from the ceremonial cleansing to keep from having an intimate relationship with her husband. This spoke volumes to me because a man could not be intimate with his wife while she was in an unclean state - and she could intentionally avoid this ceremonial washing to avoid the intimacy of marriage. Wow... I don't know if you see it, but how often do we avoid seeing ourselves as God sees us - through Christ's veil and fail to acknowledge our sin before Him and receive the cleansing power of forgiveness so denying ourselves and God an intimate relationship with His beloved. (Kind of smarts as I consider it myself... and I thought this was for you.) Okay, so to the washing - it is beautfiul... it is so beautiful I just had to share it with you. (Note: A part of the man's covenant to his wife is a committment to providing intimate relationship with her.)

First a woman willingly submits to it in order to have intimacy with her husband. We must willingly submit ourselves to the washing of Christ through confession and receiving forgiveness - to have intimacy with Him. If we continually walk in a sense of unworthiness we are not cleansed (I hope this makes sense because it is just what God showed me.) This ritual act involves the woman willingly immersing herself in a "ritual body of water" called the "mikvah". This immersion is the ritual act which divides the two periods of time - the period of separation (when we are in unconfessed sin) when relations are forbidden, and the period of union (after we have been cleansed through confession) when relations are not only permissible but regarded as essential to physical and mental health. Other notes of interest about the ritual act before I get to the really glorious part - this occasion usually happens some time after nightfall (can you picture naming your sins before God before your head hits the pillow and not having that between you), she first cleanses herself in a hot bath and presents herself naked with no barrier between her and the water. She also washes and combs her hair. She must be physically clean, right down to her fingernails... Think of that - no nail polish on fingers or toes, no dirt under the nails. Nothing unclean.

So now to the ceremony. (Another woman is present as an attendant for the washing) After the woman has once immersed herself completely while in the upright position - (sitting down, not lying) - the following blessing is recited: "Blessed are Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the immersion." After the blessing is recited she immerses herself again.

It goes on to note that the first time a woman is obliged to immerse herself in a mikvah, thereby removing herself from a state of niddah (impurity) is prior to her wedding. Every effort should therefore be made to plan a wedding during the period of that month when it is permissible for the bride and groom to have marital relations.

Okay... now all of that said. I hope you see the beauty of the imagery of this ceremony. It represents so much of our Spiritual walk in Christ - can you hear Him pronounce the blessing over you after you have confessed and received forgiveness (two immersions): "Blessed are Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe who has sanctified her with the Washing of the Word and the Baptism of the Spirit and commanded her concerning this santification." You are the righteousness of Christ - do you see it.

Romans 1:17 (amp) "For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright (righteous) shall live and shall live by faith." (See Habakkuk 2:4)

2 Corinthians 5:21 (amp) "For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him by His goodness]."

John 17:17 (amp) "Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth."

Paul writes to Corinth of the things of the sinful nature and then writes this in 1 Corinthians 6:11 (amp) "And such some of you were [once]. But you were washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and you were consecrated (sanctified in NIV) (set apart, hallowed), and you were justified [pronounced righteous, by trusting] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God."

1 Thessalonians 4:3a (amp) "For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living);"

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (amp) "And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)."

Our righteousness is positional - we must submit ourselves to the process of sanctification by the washing of the Word, and consecration which is being set apart for the purposes of God - but the righteousness of God resides fully within us in the person of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Spiritually you are clean, when you come before the throne of grace to make confession of sin in your life, you are cleansed by the second cleansing and the blessing that is spoken over you by God Himself. Receive it, and bask in the glory of His presence and His righteousness as it washes over you.

3 comments:

atHisrighthand said...

thanks for the devotion. I love learning more about the Jewish traditions. They are so beautiful and rich...
Hope you are well and blessed. Much love,
Elise

twinkle said...

Truly rich in spiritual meaning! God has more wisdom and grace in his teeny tiny finger than we can even imagine...

HIS daughter said...

Michelle,
Thank you for everything. You are being so obedient to HIM and HE is so using you!! I just finished praying for you.

Thank you for leaving that message on my blogspot.

GOD really wants me to get passed this. He really does and I'm going to do it with HIS grace and strength alone because I cannot do it in my flesh.

Blessings and love,
Teri