On several occasions, I have been in conversations where I have bluntly asked someone, “are you righteous in the sight of God?”, and then the person in question would hesitate, they would pause, and consider their life and their behaviors, and then with shakiness in their voice answer “I think so…”. This reveals the fact that when it comes to righteousness, such people as the ones I have spoken with, really have no confidence at all in their righteous standing before God; and it’s precisely for this reason that they aren’t standing on the proper foundation… they aren’t standing in Christ, but instead are looking at their own behaviors and performance and judging their righteousness and their standing before God based on that, instead of on the finished work of Christ.
This has a more damaging effect than you may imagine at first, because righteousness by faith in Christ is at the very core of our new identity, and it is very important to successful spiritual warfare; to the utilization of our power in Christ. As we studied last week, God has given us power; He wants us to have it and make use of it… but we will never have success, unless we stand on the proper foundation, and approach from the correct perspective.
So today in this study, we look at the importance of knowing, truly knowing beyond doubt that you are righteous.
As we begin today, we are going to start with the fundamentals. Even if you already know this, it is good to bring it to remembrance, because it is very easy sometimes to get distracted by day-to-day life, and after-all, it only took Peter six days to forget that Jesus was the Christ! (Matthew 16-17)
So let’s first take a look at 2nd Corinthians 5:21:
“For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Take good notice of precisely what this verse is saying: That God the Father, made Jesus to be sin for us. And I placed extra emphasis on that last part because it is vital for us to understand this. Jesus didn’t just become sin for no purpose – He didn’t just put Himself in the place and position of sin for the fun of it. No.
Jesus became sin for us. For you and for me. He did this for a reason, with you and I in mind, and with specific purpose. That purpose is given in the second-half of the verse: that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Now again, I placed extra emphasis on that last part, because as much as we may be familiar with this verse in general, we often do not honestly meditate on what this means…. On what it means to be the very righteousness of God in Christ.
Think about it… this is not speaking of the mere righteousness of an animal, or a man, or even an angel. This is not the righteousness of any creature, but of God Himself! Think about the implications of that fact and that reality. Today in Christ Jesus, you are as righteous, as justified, and in right-standing with God, and Jesus Himself is! That means something! That matters! And that has far-reaching implications for all of life and all existence!
This isn’t just spiritual high-mindedness… this is a direct statement of fact and truth from scripture. Jesus went to the cross with this very purpose in mind. This was His intention from the very beginning. To take your position and place of sin, to die in your place and pay the penalty, so that you can take His place of righteousness and justification, and live as Him.
Now let me ask you a question… if you truly believed that, if you saw yourself as the very righteousness of Jesus Christ, just as completely clean, and beloved and justified as Him, how would that change your life? How would that change your relationship and intimacy with God? How would that change your interaction with Him and with others? And what effect would that have on your peace, joy and happiness every single day?
I can tell you that for me, it completely eliminated the nagging guilt and shame that I had always struggled with. It killed the tremendous fear that used to hold me captive. And it give me a love and intimacy with God that I never even imagined was possible – one that I have shared about in previous studies. Hebrews 10:19-22, mentions that we should enter the holiest most intimate place with God in boldness, that is, confidence; knowing that we are washed completely clean. A far cry from the fear and trepidation that the Old Covenant priests would enter with! It’s a totally different perspective, and a far superior relationship in Christ.
Now I also mentioned earlier how knowing this truth about our righteousness, enables us to have success in spiritual warfare. This wouldn’t mean much if it was simply my word telling you this, so let’s settle this in the scripture, with 1st Timothy 1:18-19:
“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on you, that you by them might war a good warfare;
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”
What we see here is Paul giving Timothy specific instructions on how to war a good warfare. And he says to do so according to the prophecies which went before on you. Now let me ask you, what prophecies has God given about you? If you don’t know what God has spoken about your life, you will not be able to wage a good warfare with them.
3rd John 1:2 makes clear that God’s plan is for us to prosper and be in health, but it happens to the same degree as our soul prospers (your soul is your mind, emotions and thoughts). This is why it is so important to know that you are righteous… not to just think that maybe you are.
God has said in Jeremiah 29:11, an often quoted verse that very few believe and take as their own, that God has thought and planned a good hope and a future for us… one that is pleasant and not filled with evil.
These are all promises which God has given to us in Christ Jesus, and these are the things which we are instructed to hold on to, in order to wage a good warfare against the enemy and his lies.
We see in verse 19, that we are to hold faith which is the information from God regarding the Gospel, the good news of Christ, what He has accomplished, and who we are in Him today. We are to hold onto that in the face of all the lies; and we are to also hold on to a good conscience. Now this is the opposite of a seared conscience – contrary to popular belief, a seared conscience is one that is weighed down with sin and guilt and shame, one that is permanently marked with sin. That is not what you have today in Christ.
Today, you have a good and clean conscience, one that is washed completely by the sacrifice of Jesus. One that isn’t marked with sin, guilt and shame, but as we see from our earlier verse in Hebrews, one were we can come to God with boldness, knowing that we are completely righteous!
This is the key to victory. It begins and ends with Jesus, and who He has made you to be. So that today you can be completely sure that you are righteous, just as He is.