Rigteousness and Knowing God

Roger Spradlin Speaks at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary October 1, 2009

“Everyone who is honest must admit that we are not capable of our own righteousness. We are sinful,” said Roger Spradlin, addressing Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary students, faculty and staff. “Much of the Bible is written to show the inadequacy of human righteousness. No one goes to heaven because they’re good.” 

Roger Spradlin, co-pastor of 7,000-member Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California, quoted Paul in Philippians 3:9, “…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” Spradlin explained that this righteousness from God can’t be earned, but is a gift granted by our sovereign Lord. 

“When we receive salvation, God pronounces us righteous. It happens in a moment.” Spradlin added that glorification, alluded to in Philippians 3:11, also happens in a moment. “But sanctification, the development of Christian maturity and the result of knowing God, is a progressive action which develops over a lifetime,” he said, referring to Philippians 3:10.
There are two types of “knowing,” Spradlin explained. “You can technically know about someone, or you can have a relationship and experientially know the person. This second definition is the type of knowing to which Paul refers.” Spradlin noted that after salvation, we still have the proclivity to sin. “We need power to resist sin, the power of spiritual transformation. Sanctification changes the way we live on a daily basis.” 

Part of experiencing God, and growing and developing in Christian maturity, is sharing Christ’s pain and sharing in His sufferings, said Spradlin. “We want strong faith, but we don’t want to be tested; we want patience, but we don’t want trials; we want to grow, but we don’t want pain.” God uses pain in our life to shape and mold us, Spradlin pointed out. “Our pain can enable us to enter into His suffering, to feel a portion of what He felt, to know Him.” He quoted Paul in verse 10, ‘I want to hurt like the heart of God, I want to know the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings.’ 

Spradlin encouraged his listeners to “Imagine the great heart of God. How He grieves over the culture we live in. All around us are broken lives,” he reminded his listeners. “The greatest requirement is to love God. Then you will love the souls that God loves.” 

He concluded by referring again to the two types of ways to know God. “You know about Him, but don’t make it all about head knowledge,” Spradlin urged his listeners. “Don’t forget to really know Him.” 

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