Do You Consider Yourself Righteous?
It is commonly thought that righteousness must be earned. Anything worth having must be worked for—right? Not so in the Kingdom of God. In fact, something so valuable and precious as righteousness is a free gift! Still religion would tell you that your position of righteousness is based upon your performance. If that were true, you would not need Jesus.
Now we know you cannot earn a gift. It has to be received. Salvation is a gift, and one of its benefits, righteousness, is also received freely. Therefore, man cannot take credit for earning either of them.
Some people may ask what is righteousness? Righteousness is being free from all sin. Because of the initial sin of Adam, everyone born into this physical world arrived as a sinner. However, the moment we make Jesus the Lord of our lives, we also immediately receive the gift of righteousness along with the grace of God, which is unearned favor. Romans 5:17 confirms it. “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Like everything else in the Kingdom of God, you receive righteousness. It is granted in exchange for faith and is not the result of works.
Consider these comparisons: Adam made sinners of mankind by what he did, and Jesus makes us righteous by what he did. By Adam, sin came in, but by Jesus, salvation comes in and with it righteousness and grace.
Jesus took upon himself your sins and the sins of the entire world. He also took the penalty and the punishment for them. In fact, Jesus experienced the full wrath of God for our sins—the wrath that should have been reserved for you and me. Therefore, Jesus fully paid the debt for all sin.
If you have received salvation through Jesus, God calls you righteous. He also calls you His beloved. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 1:2). Also, see 2 Corinthians 5:21: “God made Jesus who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Christ, we could be made the righteousness of God.”
A person might ask, “What does it mean to be “made” righteous?” Romans 4:3 tells us, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” Romans 3:22 (NLT) says we are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, and that this is true for everyone who believes—no matter who we are. Similar references appear throughout the Bible. It is unanimous! God’s requirement for imputing or crediting us with righteousness is that we simply believe Him. Like Jesus says in Mark 5:36, “Only believe.”
Now righteousness rules grace, meaning grace follows righteousness. Grace, too, is unmerited—another free gift. It is experienced by trusting God and having faith in His Word. The more you accept your righteousness, the more you allow grace to manifest on your behalf.
It is time for Christians to be extremely aware of our righteousness, so that every finished work of Jesus Christ can show up in our lives. We realize that we are saved by faith, but we must also resolve in our hearts that we are the righteousness of God! The Bible and God say that we are, and neither of them can lie.
Your position on righteousness will establish your position of power. Determine to see all your challenges through the eyes of knowing that you are the righteousness of God. The strength of this awareness will decide how effective you are in life. You will experience more victories, and the Bible says sin will have no more dominion over you. You will go from wondering or considering that you might be right with God to knowing that you are the righteousness of God!