Righteousness in the eyes of man may mean “being right with men” and doing what men approve. For example, it may mean dressing in a certain way generally acceptable to man or talking in a certain way! But in God’s viewpoint, righteousness isn’t just an act, it is not what man finds very moral, it has nothing to do with what man can do. Righteousness in God’s perspective is the character, ability and nature of God. God can’t be wrong, He is right all the time!
God is righteous, not because He does righteous things. Rather, the things He does are righteous because He is righteous. He is perfect and righteous in all His ways. The Psalmist wrote in 145:17
“The LORD is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness.”
Certain things God do may not seem right in the eyes of men because men cannot naturally discern the righteousness of God but everything God does is righteous. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, it may seem vicious and very unkind but in the end, we still saw God’s righteousness manifest in ways we never expected. To be righteous therefore means to be like God. It means to possess the character, ability, nature, plans and purpose of God. It means to be in conformity with God’s word. Abraham believed God’ word and it was counted unto him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). Being moral may be fruits of righteousness but they aren’t righteousness on its own.
We became as righteous as God not by our own merits but on the merits of Jesus. When you read through the books of the law and see the requirements of the law, they are so heavy that we cannot carry it. To this regard, Jesus said in Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Let’s understand it this way. Jesus is God’s way of being on earth, we know that Jesus is the word of God with which everything that was made was made. (John 1:1) The man was made by God’s word which is Jesus and Jesus also came to earth to take responsibility for the man He made. Although we were given the choice to choose, God also took responsibility for our wrong choices. We come into agreement with God by believing and accepting the means by which He has taken responsibility for our wrong choices.
This is how we attain to righteousness, by yielding to what Jesus has done and not standing on our own strength. Sin isn’t just what we do, it is a nature that was passed into man’s spirit from the first day of Adam’s disobedience. The Bible says in Romans 5:19
“Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”
This is why man can only be born again to experience a dimension of God’s kingdom. There are realms we can’t attain to until we are born again! Jesus said in John 3:3
“I tell you the truth unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God”.
The natural man lives in the natural realm, he cannot understand so many spiritual things and his experiences are limited to the natural things. It is only when we are born again that we start living the God-life. This is why the Bible says in John 3:16, that anyone who believes, receives this new life! It is this new life that makes us born again! To be born again means that the life and the nature of God have been imparted into our spirit. Although you have a physical life, inside you is something more glorious. Your physical life may be flawed but when you’re born again, you’re born of incorruptible seed. (1 Peter 1:23)
We get born again simply by believing! And when we believe, what was a promise becomes a reality for us. This is how Christ in us becomes our hope of glory. Whatever God says is right, is right! Therefore, through Jesus, you have been made right with God. Our righteousness is not under debate, it is not in doubt because God declared us righteous! If He said “let there be light” and there was light, how much more when He says we are righteous? In the Old Testament, the Bible declared prophetically in Psalm 103:12
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”
How far is the east to the west? It is like two parallel lines that cannot meet! Our sins weren’t removed based on our ability not to engage in sinful acts anymore, it was not removed based on our ability never to have wrong thoughts or fall into temptations but based on the sacrifices of Jesus. Just the same way it took one man for all men to become sinners, it also took one man for all men to be made righteous! We personalize what Jesus has done for ourselves when we believe!
Isn’t that amazing? The gospel is not about rules and regulations, it is not about condemning people but about God’s love for man and the extent He went with His love to save man from eternal damnation! For the believer in Christ Jesus, the issue of sin has been settled once and for all!
God bless you!