Encouragement for your daily walk with God
In the course of my studies, righteousness is a subject that surfaces often, very often. I’m a pastor and I study the Bible daily (every Christ follower should be doing that by the way. It is not solely a pastor’s role, right?). I’ve been to Bible College and Seminary and, for some, that makes me a “professional” Christian. I was speaking with a guy one day and this came out of his mouth, “You’re a pastor. Of course you have a higher degree of righteousness!”
OK, back to reality. The subject of righteousness fascinates me. It’s mind boggling because, rightly understood, a Christ follower’s righteousness goes back to Jesus every time. Here’s what the Apostle Paul wrote about it, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Furthermore, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, 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 on the basis of faith” [Philippians 3.7-9].
God will not declare you righteous if you are still wicked. And, you cannot make yourself righteous no matter how hard you try. First, God makes us righteous, then He declares us righteous. How does that work? Again, the Apostle Paul, “God made Him [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” [2 Corinthians 5.21].
That’s our Jesus. He took our sins to the cross. There, we were crucified with Him. He saved us, and now lives in us. We are righteous before God because of our Savior. From the day of our salvation until now, we are learning to rest in His righteousness, and to trust the Holy Spirit to live through us.
After all these years of study, it still blows me away!
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Isaiah 64.6 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2.4-5