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Charity: The Fulfillment of Righteousness

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The Fulfillment of Righteousness

MP3 Audio (18.37 MB)


Charity: The Fulfillment of Righteousness

MP3 Audio (18.37 MB)

What is charity, and how does it prove righteousness?

Sermon Notes


In Romans we read…

Romans 13:10 Romans 13:10Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
American King James Version×
Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Charity translated from agape

26 agape ag-ah'-pay from 25; love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast:--(feast of) charity(-ably), dear, love. see GREEK for 25

Compare phileo and agape:

5368 phileo fil-eh'-o from 5384; to be a friend to (fond of (an individual or an object)), i.e. have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while 25 is wider, embracing especially the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two thus stand related very much as 2309 and 1014, or as 2372 and 3563 respectively; the former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head); specially, to kiss (as a mark of tenderness):--kiss, love. see GREEK for 5384 see GREEK for 2372 see GREEK for 25 see GREEK for 2309 see GREEK for 1014 see GREEK for 3563

We then learn that this, agape, as a love (charity) greater than even brotherly (friend, object) love, a love that is purely a godly love, an outflowing concern that requires no reciprocation; no built in relationship, being completely generous in kindness without demands or expectations.

focused to general

Charity is not just more patient with him or her, but patient, period. Not just more forgiving, but forgiving. Not just more oriented to service, but serving.

As far as I can tell, Paul, Peter, John and Jude use this term at least once in their writings, Paul being the most prolific, and especially with the church at Corinth.

We might say that the church at Corinth, before Paul’s first letter to them, viewed themselves as quite charitable as they tolerated a member living in a sinful lifestyle and sought out their own perceived value through miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 5:1 1 Corinthians 5:1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
American King James Version×
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!
2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Maybe the Corinthians were sincere concerning their derelict brother, but that sincerity was not based in the truth.

And after correcting them about taking each other to court among other sinful behavior, Paul writes…

1 Corinthians 6:9 1 Corinthians 6:9Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
American King James Version×
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.




So, we can learn from this example in Corinth that, before being called out of the world, we were unrighteous (if we haven’t already figured…). But, we also learn that, in the reality of all the weaknesses found in the church, that Corinth is justified, which means to be rendered just or innocent and to be righteous.

1344 dikaioo dik-ah-yo'-o from 1342; to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent:--free, justify(-ier), be righteous. see GREEK for 1342

What Corinth had to learn was the actual value of their justification and how continuing in sin or unrighteous behavior still leads to an end with no inheritance.

Genesis 7: 1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.

In chapter 6, previous to this statement by God, we find that Noah was already found by God to be a man of justice who walked with God (v.9), but it was not until Noah actually spent 120 years building the ark in obedience to God’s direction that God invites Noah and his family to enter the ark, BECAUSE Noah was righteous.

If Noah, being a just man, had not obeyed God’s command to build the ark, there would be no ark to enter, so part of his righteousness was his determined, consistent obedience over time.

So, what is this word for “righteous” in Genesis 7?

6662 tsaddiyq tsad-deek' from 6663; just:--just, lawful, righteous (man). see HEBREW for 06663
6663 tsadaq tsaw-dak' a primitive root; to be (causatively, make) right (in a moral or forensic sense):--cleanse, clear self, (be, do) just(-ice, -ify, -ify self), (be turn to) righteous(-ness).

****Possibly compare to perfect righteousness; “no, not one.” Romans 3:10 Romans 3:10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
American King James Version×
(from Ecclesiastes)

So, now that we’ve visited the struggles that the Corinthians faced, being reminded on the one hand that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom, but on the other that they have been justified (rendered righteous) in Christ and with the Holy Spirit.

Returning to 1 Corinthians…

1 Corinthians 13: 6 Charity does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth,
7 quietly covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

…does not rejoice in falsehood, but rejoices in righteousness.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 [1] Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. [2] And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. [3] And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.
American King James Version×

So, in 1 Corinthians 13 we find charity compared a number of gifts (tongues, prophecies, all knowledge, faith) and acts of righteousness (giving and sacrifice).

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 [4] Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up, [5] Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; [6] Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; [7] Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
American King James Version×

We also learn how “charity” behaves, and what I focused on, today, was it’s association with righteousness, which is a state of mind and being in response to righteousness, or even why the righteousness is practiced.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 [8] Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [13] And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
American King James Version×

Charity will always be! It is the reason for righteousness; the mind of righteous acts. Even faith and hope along with all other gifts of the Holy Spirit will cease, because when all things are fulfilled, faith and hope will no longer have a meaning. But, Charity, agape, will ALWAYS BE, and this is why it is the greatest because it is the fulfillment of righteousness. It is the definition of God’s perfect righteousness, which, from the beginning, God has intended to build in us and to what God will miraculously convert us.

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