I’d like to begin this post by stating that the reason why right living doesn’t produce righteousness is because righteousness is not a product of our effort. It’s imparted in us by simply exhibiting faith in Christ and His finished work – and not by our efforts in prayer, fasting, reading God’s Word.
Suffice it to say that praying, fasting, reading God’s Word are all wonderful spiritual exercises which we all need in our Christian walk with God, but at the same time, none of them makes us righteous. This is because we’re not righteous by what we do, but by faith in what Christ has done. Our prayer, fasting and studying of God’s Word, have what they do in our lives, but not to make us righteous or more righteous. God’s Word doesn’t teach us that you become more righteous with your longevity in the faith.
Rather, what the Bible refers to as our righteousness in Christ is basically the impartation of the very life of God into our born again spirit. This is the straightforward reason why you don’t become more righteous as a result of your longevity in the faith; but you can grow in your consciousness of Christ’s righteousness by growing in your knowledge of it. It’s either you have this new life in Christ called righteousness or not. No Christian has more of it or less of it.
Righteousness is not a state; it’s God’s life in man. You don’t have to strive to become righteous, you simply believe in Christ and His finished work. Also, you don’t grow in it; you just have it in full when you’re born again, and that’s all. Jesus tells us so in John 10:10 [Amplified] when He says “… I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”.
Your right stand before God isn’t righteousness; rather, it’s the outcome of God’s imputed righteousness to you. In other words, we have a right stand before God because we’re His righteousness in Christ.
You see, trying to be righteous by praying, fasting and studying God’s Word is likened to wanting to gain God’s approval or blessings by keeping the Law [10 commandments], which in most cases, we end up breaking.
Romans 4:15-16 [TLB]
15 But the fact of the matter is this: when we try to gain God’s blessing and salvation by keeping his laws we always end up under his anger, for we always fail to keep them. The only way we can keep from breaking laws is not to have any to break!
Romans 4:16 tells us exactly how to receive God’s blessing, and that includes His righteousness, because that’s where it all begins: “So God’s blessings are given to us by faith, as a free gift; we are certain to get them whether or not we follow Jewish customs if we have faith like Abraham’s, for Abraham is the father of us all when it comes to these matters of faith”.
Just like Abraham, our responsibility is to have faith – trust God absolutely by believing in the Person of Jesus and what He has done. Speaking by the Holy Spirit, Paul tells us that “17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform “ [Romans 4:17-21 [KJV].
What Was the Outcome of Abraham’s Faith in God?
Romans 4:22 [KJV]
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for RIGHTEOUSNESS [“dikaiosunē,” meaning, “equity of character”.
By faith [absolute trust] in God, Abraham received God’s blessings, which came in two dimensions: firstly, God forgave him completely of all his sins; and secondly, God declared him “not guilty” [that is, he received the gift of “no condemnation”]. In other words, God’s righteousness was imputed to him. He got spiritually promoted to a level of equity in character with God. He became just like God. That’s the reason why God could call him “His friend”.
These blessings came by faith, not by Abraham’s works or self efforts. He got them by simply accepting or agreeing with what God said to him.
My friend, this issue doesn’t end with Abraham. Apostle Paul goes further to say “23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” [Romans 4:23-25 KJV].
The assurance here is that God accepts us in the same way He accepted Abraham, in spite of how terrible our past has been. If only you can believe in Him just like Abraham did; by paying attention to Jesus and what He has done for mankind. Faith in the Person of Christ and His finished work is the basis for receiving God’s forgiveness and righteousness.
All you need is faith in the fact that Jesus died for your sins, so that you can have God’s complete forgiveness, and then He was brought back to life again in order to impute to you the righteousness [very life / equity of character] of God.
Believe that because of what Jesus has done, and because you have accepted Him into your life as your Lord and Saviour, you’re now born of God. That’s what it means to be born again. The implication is that your sins are all completely forgiven, and you have God’s life in you, brought by the resurrection of Christ. That’s what makes you share God’s righteousness.
This means that you share the same life with God: a life that’s not just full of health, but that’s health itself; a life that’s never weak, even in the midst of challenges. It’s a life that cannot be defeated. It’s an endless life; a life that can’t be contaminated by whatever – say, sickness, poison, or sin. It’s a life that’s a constant threat to Satan.
This new life in Christ, called God’s righteousness, contains everything God is. It was with this understanding that John said, “As he is, so am I in this world” [1John 4:17]. He was speaking by revelation about our supernatural elevation in Christ to a place of excellence, where we share the same life with God. Peter referred to this privilege as “being partakers of the divine nature” [2Peter 1:2-4].
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Read my foundation post on this issue under the title “New Life in Christ: Understanding God’s Righteousness”.
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You’re deeply loved, highly favoured and greatly blessed because you’re a life-giving spirit just like Jesus.
Jesus Is Lord!