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Christian Understanding of Righteousness
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Christian understanding of Righteousness
Righteous/Righteousness: we throw those words around a lot, but I am not sure we really understand the meaning. Righteousness is an attribute of God; and just as God is Love, or Holy, He is Righteous. He can do no wrong and is perfect and so if we say that we are righteous, we know that is impossible. No person can be righteous in himself, but the person can have the righteousness of Christ once they are born-again. Often Christians think that they are righteous because they are saved and therefore better than the unsaved person; this is not so and causes many of the unsaved to look at the Christians as hypocrites. One thing that we as Christians need to remember: when we sin, that sin stands out like a neon light to a non-Christian because they know what a Christian is supposed to be, and we do not meet that standard, we can’t because we still fall short.
I remember when I first became a Christian; I thought that nothing could ever go wrong in my life and I was not going to sin again, and that I was going to spend every waking moment worshiping the Lord and studying His Word. That lasted until I got home from church and things started going wrong. Not to be deterred, I started to tell my family how I was now a Christian and they needed to come to church and on, and on until they thought I was both crazy and unbearable because I was trying to shove God down their throats. The next day I went crying to my pastor and he explained that I was not going to convert the whole world in three minutes and things would go wrong every day. Being a Christian was very hard and I needed to take one step at a time because the only person that needed to change and grow for now was me.
After 35 years I am still learning and growing; even though I was surprised in the beginning to find out that I still sinned, I learned how to repent, ask forgiveness, and grow a little more in the Lord. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us once we become Christians and we are made righteous (spiritually); this allows us to boldly enter in prayer to God because He sees us through the righteousness of His Son. If His Son was not between us, God could not look upon us or hear us, because He would see our sin. When Jesus died on the cross and had the sins of the world placed upon Him, God had to turn His back and forsake His Son because He could not look upon sin.
We can understand holiness and righteousness a little bit, but to truly understand what Jesus went through for us is far beyond what we can comprehend in our human minds. All we can do is accept His sacrifice and know that all are equally lost without Him. A Christian is no better or worse than a non-Christian (humanly speaking); the only difference is that the Christians have accepted Christ as their Savior. This does not make the Christian better; it merely makes them forgiven and part of God’s family.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God, They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one,” (Romans 3:10-12).
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you,” (Romans 8:5-11).
So in conclusion, your human body or human self is not righteous and is dead to God; however, if you are born again and have accepted Christ you are a new creature and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to you. You are now spiritually born into God’s family and alive to God. How wonderful is that? We may not understand it fully, but we can accept it as our own.
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