I heard righteousness is a gift; How can I be righteous?
Hi everyone, I hope you learnt something about your identity in Christ from my last post. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out before going any further. For today’s post, I worked with a dear friend and sister in Christ to expatiate point 5 (Righteousness of God) from last week’s post. I am super excited about this!
Today, we shall be discussing the free gift of righteousness. Have you seen where a person in the society who does great work, gives to the needy and is kind to a fault is being described as a righteous man or a saint? Then you hear someone maybe even a pastor refer to a Christian as unrighteous because of their actions? This post will explore righteousness as what it is. It is a gift from God.
What is righteousness?
Righteousness is a state of one being upright, free from all guilt, being right in deeds and conducts.
According to scriptures, there are two types of righteousness:
Our righteousness: Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
God’s righteousness: Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
According to prophet Isaiah, our righteousness i.e. self-righteousness is a filthy rag. Let me explain, our attempts to be right in deeds and conducts is nothing but a filthy rag.
But God’s righteousness is a position not influenced by our acts or deeds. This is a position of right standing with God. See 2 Corinthians 5:21 This position is termed "totally blameless and guilt free", it is not dependent on your right doings but on the one who is truly righteous, JESUS!
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ THE RIGHTEOUS.
Since we have established that righteousness is about right standing and not right doing. You are probably wondering how we can be in right standing with God. Righteousness is a gift which anyone who believes in Jesus has received. It is not depended on our works or the efforts that we put into doing things. It is a free gift. Your "good acts' does not matter to God if you don't believe in Jesus. it is nothing but dead works. Dead works – Any attempt to find favour, earn acceptance or be made righteous before God by one’s own effort, ability or willpower.
Dead works can feel just like good works because they can be exactly the same actions. The following can either be dead works or good works depending on if the doer believes in Christ or not:
- Praying can be dead or good work.
- Attending church can be dead or good work.
- Being a worker in your church can be dead or good work
- Reading the Bible can be dead or good work.
- Telling others about Jesus can be dead or good work
How? How is righteousness a gift?
If righteousness is obtained by works (actions/inactions) then it ceases to be a gift because it was earned, whereas if righteousness is obtained independent of your works then it is said to be a gift as it was not earned or worked for. It is a free gift for nothing done, if you work for it that makes it an earned wage.
Let’s look into the Bible.
Act 13:38-39: Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith
If you look back at the definition of righteousness at the beginning of this post, you would see that it is an interchangeable word with justification. Justification means to be upright and righteous! Learn more about justification.
Let's flashback to the Old Testament to see what "the works of the law” means. The law was given to the people in the Old Testament in order to attain an ‘upright position’ but now we understand (See Galatians 2:16 above) that by the law shall no man be justified and we are justified made righteous not by the works of the law but by FAITH in Jesus Christ. So the moment any person believes the Gospel of Christ (The death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ) in 1Cor 15:1-4, such person is made righteous.
We become righteous i.e in a right standing with God by faith in Jesus not by our actions or inactions. Take a minute to look through the above scriptures, that clearly shows that that righteousness is not something we work day in day out to attain, it a free gift which we received by placing our Faith in the one who is The Righteous (Jesus).
Hmm, are you sure righteousness is a gift?
Relax bro, relax sis! Based on the word of God, righteousness is not earned but it is gifted to us.
Check it out.
Romans 4:6 Even as David describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Beloved by Christ, let it be your conviction that you are righteous not by anything you have done or not done but by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. See Romans 4:25: He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Jesus rose in order to make us righteous; because he rose we can boldly proclaim that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:17 [And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins (NLT)].💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾 I rejoice because Jesus rose and my faith is not useless.
I hope this post has helped jumpstart a mind-shift process about their position in Christ. Your place with God is not shaky, God is not angry with you! Your mistake will not change God's mind about you. Do you know why? Your foundation is Christ and this foundation is indestructible! Nothing can shake or affect the foundation you have in Jesus. He is the source of your righteousness, not your deeds or actions. Stop looking down on yourself, see yourself like God sees you. Start using that free gift he gave you so you can bear fruit and live a better life.
Have you been defining yourself or people around you based on their actions or inactions? Have you called a fellow Christian a "worker of iniquity" or an "unrighteous sinner" because of something they did? Have you told yourself God is angry with you because you made a mistake?
It's time for a time out! Start defining yourself in Christ and Christ alone. The devil thrives on your own self-definition to drive you to do wrong things. Rather than calling yourself or the people around you names God hasn't called you. How about you start teaching yourself and people about their identity in Christ! Know that you are righteous! That is who they are and that is who you are!
When you know who you are, you can then begin to behave like yourself. Christians doing wrong things are suffering from an identity crisis. They are likened to a prince that forgets he is royalty and starts acting like a pauper. He does not need to be insulted or castigated so he can behave like royalty, all he needs is to be told is, "Stand erect son, you are royalty! You don't need to act like a pauper! Your father has everything you need!" Watch how this statement will change the way he begins to act and carry himself.
“Trust wholly in Christ; rely altogether on His sufferings; beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by His righteousness. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation. There must be atonement made for sin according to the righteousness of God. The person to make this atonement must be God and man.”- John Wycliffe
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