When the article “The Promise of God to His children who refrain from idolatry” was published, I knew in my spirit that there would be a follow-up as I pondered over and over the depth, the magnitude and awesomeness of God’s righteousness and its restraining power. How truly beautifully He clothes His children with His righteousness that His Name may be glorified.
Looking through the scriptures for what best portrays His restraining Grace and power, The Holy Spirit projected into my mind:
* Joseph’s ordeal with Potiphar’s wife Genesis 39
* Pharaoh and Abimelech’s saga with Abraham’s wife Genesis 12:14-20, Genesis 20:1-7
* Isaac and his wife Rebecca’s issue in Egypt with another Abimelech. Genesis 26:6-11;
while not leaving out
* Abraham’s step of faith in believing God for a child and also agreeing to offer him up for sacrifice. Genesis 22
Beginning with Joseph, fleeing temptation was a lesson in submitted will to God’s instruction and self control in saying ‘No’ to sin. It is the illustration of how Grace empowers us to triumph over sin, as taught by Apostle Paul in Phillipians 2:13. Where the will is there to obey, God empowers to execute!
He encountered Potiphar’s wife’s flirtatious gesture daily, long before the incidence that made him flee. She must have singled him out for special treatments and favours, a well articulated attempt of a seductress sucked in by lust for a handsome and well behaved young man.
On the other hand, Joseph being well taught about God by his father and having personally experienced God’s mercy and favour on his sojourn in a strange land, constantly sought God’s face for help so that He would not sin against him.
How perplexed he must have been, at some point by the precarious situation? He desperately needed a way out.
Deep in his heart, he knew he had to pass the test and set an everlasting testimony for God in Egypt but how would he do it all by himself? Hebrews 12:28; 13:5,6, 20-21
God’s restraining grace covered him. (God had his back) It was His amazing Grace and righteousness that restrained Joseph from sinning against Him and His Holy Name.
God remembered His promise to Abraham and his descendants to keep a remnant for Himself.
Had Joseph fallen into that sin, his future of being the Prime Minister in Egypt would have been compromised, God’s Name would have been ridiculed among the heathen and generations yet unborn would not have been spared either. God kept his posterity.
In Genesis 20:1-15 and chapter 26:
1-15, it was God’s righteousness that restrained an unrighteous King from sleeping with Sarah, Abraham’s wife and also another Abimelech from taking Rebecca, Isaac’s wife.
God’s Grace was perfectly portrayed in the above scenarios as what empowers us to triumph over temptations and sin. It is definitely not our strong will, charisma, determination or wisdom, it is always His Grace and righteousness. Even when we fall, just to humble us so that we can fully depend on Him and not on our abilities, He readily picks us up and clothes us with His righteousness, washing us clean once again with His blood. 1 John 1: 8-10
Abraham’s faith was counted by God for righteousness as he trusted God for a child and willingly agreed to offer him up as a sacrifice unto Him.
As children of God, it is very important for us all to always acknowledge the restraining power of God in our lives rather than take pride in our own ability to overcome sin. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags no matter how holy we would like to appear before God or men.
How we appear outwardly, talk or behave by our own ability or perfect know-how, does not confer righteousness on us, please do not be deceived. It is The Holy Spirit who does the work of righteousness in our lives upon receiving salvation through The Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Only God can put His righteousness upon anyone He loves. It is all of God and none of us.
When we are clothed by His righteousness, we dress, talk, and behave in ways that conform with the doctrine of Christ which is pleasing in God’s sight.
God bless us all as we allow The Holy Spirit do the complete work of salvation in our lives.
(Special appreciation to My Father and Mentor, The Senior Pastor of The Christian Brethren Church, Pastor Afolabi Oladele, for his input in this topic)
Thank you very much, Sir. May God continually bless you, Sir.