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A New Creation in Christ – Part 6 – Our Righteousness


Guilty as Charged!


Guilty! That’s the last word you want to hear if you’re on trial. But sadly,​​ because of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden,​​ we all show up on planet earth guilty of sin​​ and condemned to die. And worse,​​ we are helpless to do anything about it!​​ The apostle Paul sums up​​ man’s​​ helpless​​ condition​​ in​​ the first half of​​ Romans 5:18​​ 



“So then as through one transgression​​ <Adam’s sin in the garden>​​ there​​ resulted condemnation​​ <a guilty verdict​​ with a​​ death​​ sentence>​​ to all men​​ <all people everywhere>,​​ ...​​ Romans 5.18a​​ -​​ Comments in chevrons <​​ > mine - RM


Jesus to the Rescue


But​​ God was not surprised​​ when man sinned. He already had a plan to free mankind from​​ his sin debt.​​ (Rom. 5:6)​​ Paul​​ sums up​​ man’s hopeful condition​​ in the​​ second half of​​ Romans 5:18​​ -


“...​​ even so through one act of​​ righteousness​​ <Jesus death on the cross>​​ there resulted​​ justification​​ <innocent verdict>​​ of life to all men​​ <new life in Christ to all who receive him by faith>.​​ Romans 5.18b​​ -​​ Comments in chevrons < > mine - RM


Righteousness and Justification​​ – What Do They Mean?


The word​​ justify​​ is​​ often​​ used in​​ the Bible in​​ a legal sense and​​ simply means to​​ be declared​​ not guilty​​ or​​ to acquit.​​ Righteousness​​ is the quality of​​ being right​​ or​​ just.​​ Both these words are​​ translations of the same Greek root word; and are often used interchangeably.​​ 

Because​​ Christians​​ have their sin debt paid for​​ by the blood/death of Jesus, they​​ are​​ declared​​ not guilty​​ (justified)​​ and​​ are​​ therefore,​​ made​​ righteous.​​ (Rom. 5:19)​​ Our​​ righteousness​​ and justification​​ are​​ not based on​​ anything we do.​​ They are​​ a gift from God. (Rom. 3:24, 5:17)


He made Him who knew no sin​​ to be​​ sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.​​ 2 Corinthians 5.21​​ 


You can think​​ of​​ righteousness​​ as​​ “being in a right relationship”​​ with God.​​ Our sin has been forgiven, thus God is no longer counting our sin against us. (Rom. 5:19)


Note​​ ​​ Some teach that​​ our​​ righteousness is only “positional”, i.e.,​​ “that’s​​ just​​ how God​​ sees us”.​​ Know​​ this,​​ God sees us​​ exactly​​ how we truly are!​​ 

The problem arises when we try to reconcile our feelings and actions with the truth that we are righteous.​​ We know that we don’t always act righteously;​​ and​​ God​​ forbid anyone know​​ all of our​​ thoughts.​​ 

However, our righteousness is not the result of our behavior​​ (aka, self-righteousness), but the result of our union with Christ. (Phil. 3:8-9)

We are a new creation in Christ with a new identity! We are righteous, we are holy, we are completely forgiven,​​ we are​​ redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and​​ we are​​ reconciled to God. In fact, we are saints!​​ So, live accordingly. Amen.


Righteous Behavior


Righteous or righteousness​​ can also refer to​​ one’s behavior, e.g.,​​ Rom. 6:16.​​ ​​ As always,​​ the context of the scripture​​ will​​ indicate the meaning​​ of the word.​​ But know this,​​ an unrighteous person cannot behave righteously! We behave righteously when we​​ are first made righteous and then​​ walk by the​​ leading of the​​ Holy Spirit.


God is​​ Always Righteous​​ and Just


When​​ referring to​​ God,​​ righteous/righteousness​​ refers to his faithfulness to his word without partiality. God does not act according to an external standard. God always acts righteously​​ and​​ just,​​ because that is his nature, thus he can act no other​​ way. ​​ 


Pastor​​ Bob Deffinbaugh states it like this​​ -​​ “God is not defined by the term “righteous,” as much as the term “righteous” is defined by God. God is not measured by the standard of righteousness; God sets the standard of righteousness.”​​ 


Demonstration of God’s Righteousness


For many years God delayed the punishment for Israel’s sin​​ (and the sins of the whole world). But God did not forget. We read​​ in Romans chapter three​​ ​​ 


21​​ But​​ now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.​​ 22​​ We​​ are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.​​ 23​​ For​​ everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.​​ 24​​ Yet​​ God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.​​ 25​​ For​​ God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,​​ 26​​ for​​ he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time.​​ God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.​​ Romans 3.21-26 (NLT2)​​ 


God​​ if faithful and God can be trusted​​ to do what he said he would do. He has made​​ us​​ righteous​​ and that can never be changed!​​ He has forgiven us all our sins​​ and remembers​​ them​​ no more. (Heb. 8:12)​​ Please don’t listen to Satan when he brings up something you did in the past. Whatever it​​ was​​ that​​ you did has been forgiven and forgotten by God.​​ (Rom. 8:1)​​ 


Suggestion​​ –​​ Read​​ Romans chapter 5.​​ 



Note –​​ To see all parts of this series​​ -​​ A New Creation in Christ