Can you define righteousness? If you need help, look in the dictionary.
1 Corinthians 1:30 (BSB) It is because of [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.
Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our trespasses and was raised to life for our justification.
Can you define justification?
How do we become right before God? How do we stay right before God?
By faith we believe that Jesus took our sins on Himself and put them to death, bearing the burden of our guilt for our sin and being crucified.
There was no way for us to be made right before God apart from Christ. We have all sinned.
Romans 3:23 (NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Romans 3:10 (BSB) As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one.”
There’s nothing man can do to make up for our sin and get right with a holy, awesome God. Jesus was the only way. His shed blood bought our right standing with God.
Isaiah 53:10-11 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
It is only by His blood that we are saved, by His death and resurrection.
He accomplishes our righteousness in two ways.
First, we have our sins forgiven and washed away when we come to faith and have our supernatural transaction.
We become the righteousness of God. We are clean and receive His Spirit. Christ’s righteousness is put in us. We are clothed with Christ. God can look at us and see His perfect Son and we are right and blameless before Him.
But the righteousness of God isn’t just some ethereal thing. It’s actual righteousness in us; it’s us doing the right thing, making the right choices.
Here’s a Bible description of one who has been born of God and their relationship to sin and righteousness.
1 John 3:4-10 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
It uses the word “practice” over and over. It’s a bit of an awkward word. We aren’t practicing to get better at sinning or righteousness. It’s more like the first verse there, as in “make a practice of,” something you are doing regularly, normally.
We should NEVER be choosing sin. We do sometimes mess up, and we’re ALWAYS learning and being shown what needs changing in us. But when those times come we have Jesus.
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jesus will ask the Father on our behalf for our forgiveness. We can receive forgiveness when we confess. It is dangerous to think you can just keep sinning and then confess. “Let no one deceive you! Whoever practices righteousness is righteous…. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil.” No one living in the choice of sin is going to heaven. Their father is the devil.
Lesson Point: We receive the righteousness of God when we are saved, and we live in that righteousness, living by God’s word, doing the right things.
Challenge Question: Is there any area of your life where you have made a habit of sinning? Ask God to show you. Ask Him to get rid of that sin and wash it away from you.