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According to the dictionary, the word righteousness is defined as: an attribute that implies that a person’s actions are justified, and can have the connotation that the person has been “judged” or “reckoned” as leading a life that is pleasing to God.

Let’s look at a portion where the word ‘righteousness’ is used.  2 Corinthians 5:20-21 says, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  This is an amazing truth!  We, who know the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, have been made the “righteousness of God.”  We have not just been made righteous; we have been made the righteousness of God in him…the Lord Jesus Christ.  So, according to our definition, we have been reckoned by God to be pleasing to Him the same way that Christ is pleasing to Him.  Does this sound too good to be true?  1 John 4:17 teaches us, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”  As believers, we do not have to fear the judgment or wrath of God.  Even as Christ is the righteous one, so we are the righteousness of God in Him.

Make no mistake though; no one is righteous apart from the Lord Jesus.  We read in Romans 3:10, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”  Absolutely no one!  No matter how much we may try to do the right thing, in the eyes of the Lord we are sinners and, according to Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

How is that they we can become righteous?  Romans 5:19-21 tells us, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”  It is through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are able to be made the righteousness of God.  When we put our faith in Him, all our sins are transferred to Him and His righteousness is transferred to us.  What an amazing truth!

What we have had so far is what we sometimes call ‘positional truth.’  That means that in the eyes of the Lord, our standing before Him is one of righteousness.  When He looks at us, He sees us as already having reached His righteous standards, because we are in Christ.

There is also a practical side to the truth of righteousness.  Although we are righteous, we need to strive to live lives of practical righteousness, doing the things that please and honor the Lord.  The Lord said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”  These are the people who have a strong desire for righteousness in their own lives.  They long to be in obedience to the Father’s will.  They want their lives to stand for and exhibit the love of God to all.  To these people, they shall be filled, or satisfied.  May we, who are the righteousness of God, also live lives that demonstrate that righteousness to others.  (118.1)