Understanding Our Righteousness in Christ
If we desire a relationship with God, we must understand that God is absolutely perfect, sinless, and righteous, and that He will never compromise His own sinless perfection in order to relate to us. This is a problem because we are not perfect and God desires a unique relationship that encompasses every facet of our life and being. God actually desires a unity in which His heart is one with our hearts, and our hearts are one with His heart. This unity and oneness is absolutely impossible due to our sinful condition. With sin being a part of our nature, our hearts are not like His, nor is His like ours. We will never be able to make up for our sins, nor do we have the capacity to improve ourselves into a person who possesses a sinless nature that is only inclined toward righteousness in every way. Knowing this, it would take a miraculous act of God on our behalf to achieve the unity of heart that would enable a relationship between man and God.
True Righteousness is Beyond Our Reach
To understand what kind of miracle it would take for a relationship between man and God, we must first understand what would be required of us in order to make us righteous so that we could have this relationship. First, we would have to pay the penalty for our sins and have the sin nature that is within us destroyed, but this is still not enough. We also need the very heart and nature of God living within our spirits so that our hearts can be joined and unified in righteousness with his heart. None of this is possible through our own efforts or ability. It’s beyond our reach.
Only Jesus has the Ability to Make us Truly Righteous
The good news is that all of this has been accomplished for us by Jesus. He died and suffered on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins that we deserved to pay ourselves. By doing this, our sins are forgiven, and the penalty of sin is no longer held against us. His death was also a supernatural act that joined our sin nature with Him on the cross, crucifying the sin nature within us, so that our sin nature would be put to death. His resurrection from the dead was not His resurrection only, but was a resurrection of pure righteousness that He shares with those who have also been put to death in terms of the sin nature, causing us to be in need of resurrection life. It is His resurrection life that comes to live within our spirits if simply we simply accept by faith, what Jesus has done on our behalf, apart from any attempt to earn this gift of life through our own good works or acts of righteousness.
Why do I make such a point of what Jesus has done for us instead of emphasizing our own works and effort to try to be good? Because the Bible lets us that the righteousness standard that God accepts is not something that we can achieve on our own. There are no amount of laws we can keep, or works that we can do to bring ourselves into a true relationship of heart unity with God. It’s only by the miracle provision of God that He gives us righteousness as a gift through the work accomplished by the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Our part is to believe that God freely does this for us as an act of grace, apart from our efforts.
God’s Grace Enables His Goodness to Flow Through Our Lives
God’s goodness and grace towards us is often hard for us to grasp because as we read through the Bible, it is apparent that good works are highly valued by God, and good works are indeed to be a part of our lives. However, those works are to be a product of first receiving God’s grace, and allowing His goodness to flow through us, not the other way around. We do not earn the right to have access to God through our good works, rather Jesus grants us access to God as a free gift, and as we partake of the life that comes from free access to God, His goodness flows through us in the form of good works.
Righteousnesss is Given by God’s Grace, Not Human Effort
The following verses show us that our right standing before God is not a product of anything that we earn because of our goodness, but rather it is a product of the free gift of God’s grace that He offers through Jesus Christ. As you read through the verses, notice that the actions that God has done on our behalf to make us right in his eyes is in bold print. Reviewing these verses daily will keep you in the grace of God, which is much more powerful than human effort.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.
For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace which he has freely given us in the one he loves.
In him we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace which he has lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death, to present you holy in His sight without blemish and free from accusation.
Because by one sacrifice, he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is anyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that by faith, we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
…He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and stood opposed to us; he took it all away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
…he saved us not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified through his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
But now a righteousness from God apart from Law has been made known to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
However to the man who does not work, but who trusts in God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited to him as righteousness.
Isaiah 53: 3-6
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is He that condemns? Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
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 the gift of righteousness, reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ?
For it is by grace you have been saved by faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.