"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV).
Even though I would tell others that salvation is a gift that cannot be earned, I felt confused when I read certain verses about righteousness (right standing with God). To me, it seemed as though many verses (especially in the Old Testament) like these appeared to indicate it was about my own right doing.
"Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good" (Proverbs 13:21).
These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).
I would often state that salvation was by grace through faith but some part of me still feared I had to do right to be right. The enemy led me to incorrectly interpret these verses as being about performance. When I failed, I felt guilty and condemned.
Thank God the knowledge of the truth has set me free. I now know for certain, the only type of righteousness in the entire Bible, is righteousness by faith.
"….By his (Noah's) faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith" (Hebrews 11:7).
For in the Gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed--a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written. "The righteous will live by faith" (Romans 1:17).
Now I know that every time I see the word righteous (other than Jesus) in the Bible (Old or New Testament) it is speaking of righteousness by faith. This absolute knowledge really helped me understand that earned righteousness before God, does not even exist as a possibility in the Bible. No more fear.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isa 61:10
If you doubt what I have stated is true, I challenge you to find just one person in the entire Bible who was declared righteous before God by works or law keeping. Post it as a comment below this article, or send me a private message through the link at the top right of this article. Make sure to provide your email so I can respond.
Read much more in-depth HERE and HERE about your Righteousness in Christ.