Third Angel's Message
Christ's Righteousness (Romans Three)
and the Latter Rain #15
Talks given at the 1993 General Conference Session
by A.T.Jones


Sermon No. 15 (Romans Three, the Latter Rain and Christ's Righteousness)

Now I want to ask a few questions on what we have gone over. What is the latter rain? [Congregation: "The teaching of righteousness according to righteousness."] What is the loud cry? [Congregation: "The message of the righteousness of Christ."] The loud cry has already begun in the message of the righteousness of Christ. Where does the latter rain come from? [Congregation: "From God."] All of it? [Congregation: "Yes."] What is it? [Congregation:"The Spirit of God."]

Now that is where we came to the other night. Are you ready to take it from heaven? [Congregation: "Yes."] Is everybody in this house tonight willing and ready to take righteousness from heaven? [Congregation: "Amen!"] According to God, without asking that God shall get some of it from us? Are you? [Congregation: "Yes."] Whoever is willing to take righteousness from heaven can receive the latter rain [Congregation: "Amen!"]; whoever is not, but wants the Lord to get some of it out of him, he cannot have the latter rain; he cannot have the righteousness of God; he cannot have the message of the righteousness of Christ.

What is the latter rain? [Congregation: "Righteousness."] Are we in the time of the latter rain? [Congregation: "Yes."] What are we to ask for? [Congregation: "Rain."] What is it? [Congregation: "The teaching of righteousness according to righteousness."] Where is it to come from? [Congregation: "Heaven."] Can we have it? [Congregation: "Yes."] Can we have it now? [Congregation: "Yes."] Then the latter train being the righteousness of God, His message of righteousness, the loud cry, it all being that, and that to come down from heaven: we are now in the time of it, we are to ask for it and receive it. Then what is to hinder us from receiving the latter rain now? [Congregation: "Unbelief."]

I will read a passage from this little book to start with. We have read it once before; it is found on page 8 of "Danger in Adopting a Worldly Policy":

As man's Intercessor and Advocate, Jesus will lead all who are willing to be led, saying, 'Follow me upward, step by step, where the clear light of the Sun of Righteousness shines.' But not all are following the light. Some are moving away from the safe path, which at every step is a path of humility. God has committed to His servants a message for this time. . . . I would not now rehearse before you the evidences given in the past two years [four years now] of the dealing so God by His chosen servants; but the present evidence of His working is revealed to you and you are now under obligation to believe.

Believe what? What message is there referred to that God has given to His servants for this time? [Congregation: "The message of righteousness."] The message of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is a testimony that had been despised, rejected, and criticized for two years, and two years have passed since that time. But now the present evidence of His working is revealed, and now what does God say to every one of us? "You are now under obligation to believe" that message. Then whoever does not believe it simply has to answer to God, does he not? That is all. Well, then, let us begin.

There is, however, another word to which I wish to call attention. You will remember that I read Isa. 59:6 in the last lesson; it was about those people who were trying to cover themselves with their works. In the fourth verse we have these words: "None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity." After the lesson Brother Starr called my attention to the German translation, and that, he says, is: "None preacheth righteousness." I looked at the revised version and that has it: "None sueth for righteousness," or the margin, "None calleth for righteousness." I looked at Young's literal translation and that likewise reads: "None calleth for righteousness." So you see the thought as expressed in this verse, "None sueth," that is too say, to court, to ask for, to beseech, "for righteousness." None calleth for that. The same idea is conveyed in the German, only it is put in other words, "None preacheth righteousness." Well, is not that what the Lord says? They are trying to cover themselves with their works and that is not righteousness.

Isaiah 54, last sentence of the chapter: "This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." Their righteousness is of whom? of themselves? [Congregation: "Of the Lord."] Their righteousness is of their works? No, "their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." What do you say? [Congregation: "Of the Lord."] Their righteousness is of their works? No. "Their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." What do you say? [Congregation: "Amen."] Then any man who expects, looks for, or hopes for, any righteousness that does not come from God, what then? What has he? [Voice: "Filthy rags."] It is no righteousness at all. Even those who want to get it out of their own works, will it work that way? [Congregation: "No."] Is that of God? [Congregation: "No sir."]

The only way that God can get into our works is by having Him to start with, and having His righteousness to begin with and our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought in us by His Holy Spirit.

This takes up the subject exactly where Brother Prescott stopped. Do you see it is Christ in us, that living presence that does the righteous work and that is by the Holy Spirit? That is what the Holy Spirit brings; that is the outpouring of the latter rain, is it not? You see we cannot study anything else. That is the message for us now. Shall we receive the message? When we receive the message what do we receive? [Congregation: "Christ."] When we receive Him what have we? [Voice: "The Holy Spirit. The latter rain."] This will come more fully afterward.

Now another thing, brethren. I do not want you to put off until after the meeting, your receiving of it. You do not need to do that at all. What the Lord wants is for you and me to come here each evening and sit down and receive that just exactly as he gives it. Just exactly as he says it. You just open your mind and heart to the Lord and say, "Lord, that is so." [Congregation: "Amen."] Don't wait until you go out of the house. "Well," says one, "are we to sit down here and take everything that is said without any question at all?" No, not in that sense. But we are to sit down here and have such a measure of the Spirit of God that we can see what He gives through that word which is the truth and then take it because it is the truth of God. [Congregation: "Amen."]

Elder D. C. Babcock: Brother Jones, please read Job 29:23.

Elder Jones: Very good. "And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain." All right. What shall we do? What does the Lord want us to do? Wait for His Spirit as for rain. Open your mind; wait as for the latter rain. What did He say by David? "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it." (Ps. 81:10) Brethren, let us sit down here and open our mouths just like little birds; you know how they do. It looks as though the mouth was all the bird there was. That is what He wants us to do.

Can we not trust God to give to us what He wants us to have? Brethren, there is a question in that that I want to ask: When we come into a place like this, come with hundreds of people who are seeking the Lord, come asking the way to Zion, with our faces thitherward, do we need to sit here suspiciously looking cross-eyes at the Lord as though we did not dare to trust Him for what He would give? Is that honest? [Congregation: "No."] Is that fair? [Congregation: "No."] No, sir. I believe this much in the Lord, that when we come together with our hearts seeking Him, every one that lays His heart wide open to receive what the Lord has to give, will not receive anything but what God gives. And the man who comes into such a place as this, with His suspicions aroused and with a readiness to look askance at the Lord--that man is not treating the Lord as a person ought to treat the Lord: he is treating the Lord just as a person might fairly treat the devil. Is he not?

Now brethren, let us treat the Lord honestly; let us be honest with Him and He will be honest with us. "To Him that showeth Himself froward the Lord will show Himself froward." If you and I treat the Lord honestly, He will treat us just exactly like God treats people. So I say, we need not come into this house with a particle of suspicion as to whether the Lord is going to give us things straight. He will do it, and I am going to expect He will do it, and so I am going to receive lots of blessing out of this thing. That is settled.

Now Rom. 5:17: "For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." What is righteousness in that verse, then? [Congregation: "A gift."] Is it? [Congregation: "Yes, sir."] "Their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." (Is. 54:7) It is a gift of righteousness. How does it come to us, then? [Congregation: "It is a gift."]

Now put those two things together: "Their righteousness is of me"--it is a gift. He who receives it, what does he receive? [Congregation: "A gift."] He who receives it as the gift that it is, receives what? [Congregation: "Righteousness."] According to what? God's idea of righteousness. Will He give us anything than that which is righteousness in His own sight and according to His own mind? [Congregation: "No."] Do you see that point? Then he who does not receive the righteousness of God as the free gift of God, does He have it? [Congregation: "No."] And He cannot so have it, you see, because it is a gift. It is of God. It comes from God by the precious gift that it is. And therefore it being of God, and He giving it of His own gift, it is left to me to get it in His own way. He gives what is His own and He gives it according to His own idea. That is the genuine article; that is the righteousness of God alone.

Then don't you see in that there can be no room for a single thread of human invention? We cannot get it in there at all. Don't you see what ample provision the Lord has made that we may have the perfect robe which He Himself hath woven, which is the righteousness of God itself and which will make us complete now and in the time of the plagues and in every other time and throughout all eternity? Brethren, I am glad that that is so. I am just as glad as I can be.

A sister told me not long ago that before that time four years ago she had just been lamenting her estate and wondering how in the world the time was ever going to come for the Lord to come if He had to wait for His people to get ready to meet him. For she said the way she had been at it--and she had worked as hard as anybody in this world, she thought--she saw that she was not making progress fast enough to bring the Lord in any kind of reasonable time at all, and she could not make out how the Lord was going to come.

She was bothered about it, but she said when the folks came home from Minneapolis and they said, "Why the Lord's righteousness is a gift; we can have the righteousness of Christ as a gift, and we can have it now." "Oh," said she, "That made me glad; that brought light, for then I could see how the Lord could come pretty soon. When He Himself gives us the garment, the clothing, the character, that fits us for the judgment and for the time of trouble, I could then see how he could come just as soon as He wanted to." "And," said she, "it made me glad, and I have been glad every since." Brethren, I am glad of it too, all the time.

Now there is sense in that thing today. You know we have all been in that same place. You know the time was when we actually sat down and cried because we could not do well enough to satisfy our own estimate of right doing; and as we were expecting the Lord to come soon, we dreaded the news that it was so near; for how in the world were we going to be ready? Thank the Lord He can get us ready. [Congregation: "Amen."] He provides the wedding garment The master of the wedding feast always provided the wedding garment. He is the Master of the wedding supper now, and He is going to come pretty soon, and He says, "Here is the clothing that will fit you to stand in that place." Now there will be some folks that cannot attend that feast, because they have not on the wedding garment, but the Lord offers it as a free gift to all and as to the man who does not take it, who is to blame?

Another thing: Do you believe now--let us have that settled before we go any further. I want to know how many people in this house actually believe, right down honestly in their hearts, that God is able to say what He means when He says it? [Congregation: "Yes."] Then when you and I read what He says, just as He says it in the Bible, I want to know whether it is any use for you and me to go over to some other part of the Bible and hunt up some other text to see whether that does not contradict this? Is the Lord able to tell His own story in His own way without contradicting Himself? [Congregation: "Yes."] We have been at that long enough. So I do not propose to harmonize any texts of Scripture in all the work that I shall have to do here in this institute. I think the Lord has everything straight, exactly as it is. I do not think He needs any of my help. I think rather that I need His help to see that there is no contradiction at all. And I think that if there appears to me to be a contradiction, then I need more of His Spirit to see that there is none. And instead of trying to harmonize the supposed contradiction, I am going to say that the Lord knows all about that, and I am going to wait until He gives me breadth of mind enough to see it is no contradiction there at all.

So what I want here to decide now and forever is that when you read anything in the Bible, that that means exactly what it says, and you need not hunt up anything in the Bible to see whether that tells the other side of it. There is no other side; it is all one. "Well, then, how are you going to explain everything in the Bible when people ask you?" There is the difficulty; men go out preaching the gospel, and they think if they cannot explain everything that people ask them it is going to be a great discredit to their ministry. No, sir. It will be well for you to acknowledge that there are some things even in the Bible that you have not grasped fully yet.

What the Lord asks of you and me is stated in 2 Tim. 2:7, and it is the key of all Bible study; it is God's directions for Bible study: "Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." The only things He asks of you and me to consider is what He says, and if we have to consider it for ten, fifteen, or twenty years to find out what it means, we will find that it was worth twenty years of waiting. We need not be disappointed at all. Bear in mind that the longer you have to consider a text to find out what is in it, the more it will be worth when you get it. So there is no place for discouragement ever. Therefore if I cannot measure the depths of it, I am going to be glad that it is so deep that when I do get it I shall rejoice as long as I live.

All we have to do in these lessons is to consider what He says, and depend upon Him to give us the understanding of it. That is all. That is all I can do, and everyone that will do that will get more out of it than the one who does not consider what He says.

Then "their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." That is what He says. [Congregation. "Yes."] It is a gift of righteousness; it is a gift; is that so? [Congregation: "Yes."] Now how do we receive a gift? "The righteousness is of me," He gives it. A free gift. How do we get it? [Congregation: "By faith."] By faith. By faith. Let us bear in mind also the definition which we have studied, of what faith is. Not a satanic belief. That is not faith at all, but a submission of the will to God, a yielding of the heart to Him, the affections fixed upon Him--there is faith. That is God's idea of faith. And when we read of faith and get His word of belief which He has spoken in His word--that is what He means.

Mark this: It is received by faith. It is known by faith. But let us read the text and see that it is so. Rom. 1:17. The 16th verse is talking about the gospel. "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." What alone can obtain it, then? [Congregation: "Faith."] Not from faith to works, but from faith to faith. But what is faith? Submission of the will to Him; yielding of the heart to Him, the affections fixed upon Him. That is surrender of self and takes what God says as the fact; in other words, faith is simply this: that when God says a thing and you and I read it, we say, "that is so." That is faith.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom. 10:17. What is the source of faith, then? [Congregation: "The Word of God."] How does faith come to us? [Congregation: "By hearing the word of God."] Faith comes to us by the word of God. That is the source, the fountain of faith. Then when that word is read, you yield to that and say, "That is so." I take that as it says; with no attempt to explain it even to myself. I take it as God says it; I receive it just as He says it; I rest upon it just as He says it; He giving me understanding of it--then I want to know whether I do not receive in that word and from it just what He has in it to give to me. Assuredly. That also precludes our getting any thread of human invention into it.

Then it is of faith. It comes by faith. We receive it that way. Then don't you see that with the man who does not understand and begins to question righteousness by faith alone, the trouble is that his soul is not submitted to God, his heart is not yielded to God, the affections are not fixed upon Him? That is the difficulty. All the trouble that ever comes to anybody in this world over justification by faith is in the heart--in the refusal to submit to God--and that is the carnal mind; as we read the other night, the carnal mind cannot comprehend it--does not know it.

Now let us turn to the third chapter of Romans, and begin reading with the 20th verse. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight." Justified is made righteous, so whenever we read it here, you can just put the words, "made righteous," there instead, and you have the same thing always. "For by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe," (Romans 3:21,22)and then do their best? [Congregation: "No, sir, 'for there is no difference.'"] Unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:22-23)

Now the verse I am after: "Being justified" (made righteous) how? [Congregation: "Freely."] "Being made righteous freely." Is it so? [Congregation: "Yes."] Is it so? [Congregation: "Amen."] Let us thank the Lord that it is so. Let us take it right now. [Congregation: "Amen."] "Being made righteous freely by his grace." (Romans 3:24) Now let us stop here with that word "grace" and turn over to Rom. 11:6, where we read as follows, "And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace." And when grace is no more grace what in the world then are the people in this world going to do? When the grace of God is gone what are we going to do? [Voice: "We would be gone too."] Yes. Brethren, let us submit. Let us submit. "But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:6) A man's works are all gone if there are no more works. Don't you see, then, what becomes of a man who takes that course?

Now Romans 3:24: "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness." Whose righteousness? [Congregation: "God's."] God has set forth who to declare it? [Congregation: "Christ."] Yes. "For the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time." When is that? [Congregation: "Now."] Is that right now, just now, tonight? [Congregation: "Yes."] Just now, four minutes of nine o'clock? [Congregation: "Yes."] His righteousness? [Congregation: "Yes."] To you? [Congregation: "Yes."] Thank the Lord. "For the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God, to declare I say at this time." (Romans 3:25) Will you go out of this house realizing that? I want to ask, if any man goes out of this house without that what in the world is the matter? [Voice: "Unbelief."] Who is to blame? [Voice: "The man himself."] Then let us not do it. The Lord wants us to receive the latter rain. And shall we ask for it, and then when it comes not take it as He gives it because it does not come quite as we thought it would come. It is none of your business how it comes. It is for Him to give it, and for us to have discernment to see that it is He who gives it.

"To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just." That He might be righteous. Oh He is all right then; it is not going to tangle Him; it is not going to disgrace Him. "That he might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." And when God justifies I want to know what business in the world anybody has to condemn. He does it; He is able to do it; He has fixed the thing so He can do it and be just all the time--be just in the doing of it. Well then let us let Him have His own way. The law of God is satisfied. Let us be delighted. [Congregation: "Amen."] I can tell you when I found out that in the doing of this the Lord was justified and that the law of God was satisfied, I was delighted.

Now we will read right on: "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified [made righteous] by faith without the deeds of the law." Is that a right conclusion? [Congregation: "Yes."] Now is it? [Congregation: "Yes."] Who drew it? Whose conclusion is it? {Congregation: "Yes."] Whose conclusion is it? [Congregation: "God's."] Let us let Him have His own way. Is not He able to argue straight? "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God." What good is a man's glorying then if he cannot glory before God? We want something to glory in, when the heavens split open and the face of God shines into the hearts of men. We want something that we can glory in just then. I tell you God gives us something that we can do it with, too, and that is His own righteousness.

"For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness." What does that say? Abraham believed God and it it i-t, what? [Congregation: "Faith."] It, what? [Congregation: "Believed God."] His believing God--what did that amount to? [Congregation: "Righteousness."] Who counted it to him for righteousness? [Congregation: "God."] Well, did God make a mistake? {Congregation: "No."] Whether we understand it or not, the Lord did it, and He did right in doing it. He was perfectly just. He said so. We were not in the doing of it; we did not have the plan to lay. We could not have done it if we had tried anyway. Let us let Him have His own way, I say again, brethren, and when we let Him have His own way and we are in His own way, it will be all right, and we need not be a bit afraid.

What was counted to Abraham for righteousness? He believed God, and God said, "You are righteous, Abraham." Now that is said three times in that little short space. What was it that was counted to him for righteousness? His believing God. It, i-t, it.

"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt. But to him that worketh not"--Is that what it says? [Congregation: "Yes."] Did the Lord say it that way? [Congregation: "Yes."] "But believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly." But that is the Laodicean message again--miserable and poor and blind and naked. That is the kind of people that the Lord justifies. "His faith is counted to him for righteousness." The ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. What is counted to him? [Congregation: "His faith for righteousness."] And that is believing that God is justifying ungodly men? Will that bring righteousness to a man? [Congregation: "Yes."] To confess that he is ungodly and then believe that God makes that kind of man righteous. Yes, indeed.

I cannot tell how; I cannot understand it. I know it is so, and I am so glad that it is so that I do not care whether I ever find out how or not. The Lord wants us to have what He gives. Let us take it. The time has expired, and we will begin right there again. But do not forget what was counted to Abraham for righteousness, and "if we be Christ's," then are we "Abraham's seed."