What is righteousness?
Righteousness is when you are constantly, consistently, always perfect. It is continuous thread of how God is able to do everything: love, create, judge, save, redeem, rescue, glorify.
None of us, any human being, born of Adam, is able to claim righteousness as our own. In other words, we cannot stand before the Perfect Judge and declare ourselves “INNOCENT!” when our experiences, actions, decisions, thoughts, ideas, intentions, and those around us would betray our proclamation. Even if the conscience is seared and the mind is willful to forget or downplay our misdeeds, the deeds are still done and death is all around us.
The law of God exposes this brokenness. There was a time when we didn’t need the law. But the law is necessary because of the sin in our lives and the lives around us. This world is jacked up. It is impossible for you to say, “it is not” when you have a gunman walk through an elementary school and gun down school children. In light of that, for you to say, “It is not” is the suppressing of truth and the searing of your own conscience. This alone is sin. This alone is unrighteousness.
Furthermore, the law of God goes beyond what you have done wrong or what you failed to do right but it actually reveals the perfection of God himself. The law exposes those things that are true on our hearts. What if we never knew the law of God? Are we to be judged still? Paul says so in Romans 2 that those without the law still have a conscience and that conscience can speak to what is right and wrong.
In ourselves, in our own might and in our life, we have no way to be righteous before God and yet, God’s very presence demands righteousness. Some would contend, “I don’t want God so why would I contend to be with him?” This is true. But to say you want nothing to do with God is to agree with his judgment upon you and agree to be apart from him forever. Sin has broken us all. Sin has shattered our lives. God is far above and apart from sin. He alone is the refuge and safe place from the brokenness around us.
Here’s the hope of the Christian: all that is broke will now be fixed. For a moment, if you think that the Christian simply wanted unrestricted gun laws, abortions to be illegal, or a Republican president, then how shallow must our thinking and lives must be. But the Christian hopes in Christ alone because life—eternal life filled with joy and endless pleasures—was the way things should have been.
In other words, you might say to yourself, “Perfection is impossible—Even I started right now, there is no way I can be perfect.” You are right. Furthermore, if you have deluded yourself thinking you can be perfect for the rest of your life, think about this: Then why are you still going to die? Righteousness is perfection not because of a high mark to achieve but it is the bare minimum standard to abide by for life itself. It is not that we have all missed the high mark, as though it is a world record to be beaten, but rather all of us fail to meet the minimum requirement of life:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 1
That is a crushing, despairing truth.
However, the gospel of Christ is not reduced down to what we have done or not done but all because of Christ has done for us. Our failures and sin is surrounded, covered, and washed away by God’s righteous, perfect love:
Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
You might be asking yourself, How do I get this righteousness? I need someone else’s righteousness.
You and I and we need someone else’s righteousness. in order to live. In order to live, we are going to need someone else’s life.
God speaks. He has spoken and it was recorded in the Scriptures.
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. 2
Believe what God has said and He will give you His own righteousness so that you can be with Him and enjoy Him forever. Enjoy the source of all truth, all good, all satisfaction, all life, all peace, all joy, and all pleasures forever.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 3
The question bares to be asked: Is Christ in you?
If Christ is in you, then you have life. If you have life, then you have God. That is love like none other.