When was the last time you heard the word righteous used in a sermon? It’s one of those old-fashioned terms evoking thoughts of super-spiritual folks and all things liturgical. In the Bible it is often used to contrast believers with the wicked, or non-believers.
The simplest meaning as far as Bible “righteous” goes is ‘being made right with God - without prejudice or partiality, e.g., of the judgment of God.’
In the Old Testament people had to go to unimaginable lengths to obey every jot and tittle of laws painstakingly put forth by God for atonement. This avenue to righteousness was available to anyone who would participate.
When Abraham came along and God called out a people unto Himself the game plan changed. Abraham was saved by faith. Even though Jesus had not come yet, Paul goes into great detail to explain to us in the book of Romans (4:2-3) that if God had accepted Abraham because of his good deeds Abraham would have had something to brag about.
No, it was Abraham’s faith that made him righteous. He believed God. (v.3) and God DECLARED him to BE righteous.
Jesus was raised from the dead to make us righteous (v25). We have peace with God (5:1). No matter who we are or what we’ve done, we are all saved the same way. (3:22), “we are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins.”
I’m convinced that sin wouldn’t be a problem in our lives if we thought of ourselves as righteous children of God. If Christians really believed that there isn’t anything good enough we can do ourselves to earn a right place with God. Romans 4: 4-5 reminds us that when we work our wages are not a gift. People are given God’s stamp of righteousness because of their faith NOT because of their work.
So stop wearing yourself out trying to be good enough for God. Instead ask the Holy Spirit to help you remember these verses that remind us we are already righteous in God’s eyes if we are a Believer. The Holy Spirit gives us the power “to DO right(-eous)” but we first have to believe (faith) we ARE right(-eous).
If I truly think (believe) God thinks of me as righteous already then it takes the pressure off of me to perform. Just knowing He approves of me exponentially adds to my desire to please Him and draws me closer to Him. The closer I am to Him the less my desire is for sin. Being righteous is no longer a chore. Because I AM righteous.
And so are you if you are a Believer.