Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 17 - You Are Righteous! - 30 Days of Grace

 For now my place is in him, and I am not dependent upon any of the self-achieved righteousness of the Law. God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ.   Phil. 3:9 PHP

Where is our place now?  Our place is in Christ!  How is the righteousness of the Law described?  As 'self-achieved' - that means it is all about what we can do in the flesh, in the power of our own ability and strength, to try to become righteous, do right, and be right with God.  Personal experience tells us that trying to be perfectly righteous through our own works (through trying to do the right things and keep all the rules - living by Law) never works and is impossible.  We just can't meet that perfect standard.  The good news of the New Covenant is that we don't have to!  In this New Covenant way, we are not dependent on that self-achieved righteousness of the Law.  That means we can stop trying to be better and do better in order to hopefully be right with God.  It means we can stop looking at our own performance as a gauge of how acceptable we are to God.  That means that we can stop stressing that we have to live under some perfect and unattainable standard that we know we can't meet.  That means we can stop trying to meet that standard, that it is okay to admit we can't do it - because we don't have to meet that standard, for Jesus has gone and met it FOR us!  

Instead of us having to try to act righteous or come up with our own righteousness before Him, what do we have instead?  The genuine righteousness that comes from Christ!  How did we get it?  God has given it to us - it was a complete gift.  How does this gift come to us?  Through faith in Christ.  What does that mean?  It means that we see we are righteous not through us doing anything right but just because He already gave us His righteousness at the cross.  Faith is just saying, "Oh, I don't have to try to be righteous anymore.  Jesus already gave me His perfect righteousness."

We can really say we are righteous with the righteousness of Christ!  Just like before, Adam's sin made us sinners without us even doing his sin, Christ's obedience made us righteous without us even doing one right act!

We have received Christ's own righteousness - what does that mean?  That means we are not only acquitted of wrong or declared innocent, we are also said to have met all the righteous requirements necessary for life!  We are 'as we ought to be' and 'as we should be'.  We are right, set right, put right, straight and true, aligned properly with God.  We are everything He wants us to be, fully meeting the standard, fully acceptable.  We are right with God in every way, pleasing and satisfactory to Him!   We have every right to be in His presence 24/7, because we have been MADE the righteousness of God in Christ!

We are right with God with the Son's own righteousness.  That means that we are righteous just as Jesus is righteous, and we are AS righteous AS Jesus is!  How can we make such a daring and bold statement?  Because the righteousness we have is Jesus' righteousness, therefore perfect!  We are perfectly right with God and just as righteous before the Father as Jesus Himself is.  We stand before the Father as righteous and acceptable and approved as Jesus Himself does!  We have been brought into RIGHT relationship with the Father, and not just any old relationship, either - this RIGHT relationship we've been place into is actually the RIGHT relationship the Father has with the Son!  

Does God have any problems with the Son?  
Does God feel the Son needs improvement?  
Is God in any way disappointed with the Son?  
Does God wish the Son could shape up and do better?  
Does God want to criticize anything in the Son?  

NO!  So He doesn't want to do any of that with you either!   

Think of how God sees Jesus:  He finds no flaw in Him, finds no mistake in Him.  God is  perfectly satisfied with the Son.  The Son is perfectly pleasing, acceptable, excellent, perfect and righteous in His sight.  The Son is so perfect in God's eyes there is no way He would need to improve at all - He is already completely and perfectly satisfactory and right before the Father.  And that is the righteousness you have now!!  That is the gift of righteousness before God that you have been given!  That is how He sees you and how He made you - that is how you really ARE now!   

You may be wondering how God could think so well of you, think of you as He does His Son when you have some sinful behaviors in your life.  Well, think about the Son.  Surely the Son did everything right, and that was wonderful and pleased God, but EVEN BEFORE that, God was already pleased with the Son, right?  Remember at His baptism, before Jesus had done one single miracle or told one parable, God was already saying of Him, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."  God is pleased with the Son not so much because of His works of obedience but first and foremost because He is the SON!   In the same way, you are well-pleasing to God because you've been put into His righteous place before the Father,  - and this is not a place you worked yourself into or earned by behavior, but is a state of being into which you were placed in Christ.  So just as God was pleased with His Son because of His being the Son before He had done any good works, so He is pleased with you, too, apart from any works you do, because you have been put INTO the Son.  

Just as the Father told Jesus at His baptism, so He is saying over you, "This is My beloved son (or daughter!) in whom I am well-pleased!"  The Son is always in right relationship with the Father, is always pleasing to the Father, is always acceptable and approved by the Father. The Son is always righteous and right!  That is the state of being in which He exists, and you have been brought into that same state of being: the state of being righteous, being SINLESS before the Father!  Yes, sinless, because righteous surely means 'right, without sin, not marred by sin, sinless."  Being righteous is the opposite of being sinful!  By being placed in Christ, you have been forever taken out of a sinful condition and forever placed into a righteous condition.  Yes, it's amazingly true, you are in a state of being sinless and totally righteous because you have been put in and identified with Christ the Sinless and Righteous One Himself!  You have been made the righteousness OF GOD in Christ.  That is a perfect, sin-free, divine, always pure righteousness! You are never 'not right with God' or 'wrong, sinful' again!

Never look at yourself as a sinner again.  Never look at yourself as sinful again.  Never look at yourself as a failure, a person deserving judgment, guilty, or deserving condemnation and curse.  Always view yourself according to what Christ has done for you and what Christ has given you in giving you His life and righteousness.  

View yourself as the righteousness of God in Christ.  
View yourself as innocent and righteous!  
View yourself as free from judgment, condemnation and guilt.  
View yourself as not deserving any punishment.  
View yourself as acceptable, affirmed, totally right, as you ought to be.
View yourself as fully compatible to God and fitting into His will.  
View yourself as fully approved by God and well-pleasing to Him!  
View yourself as a righteous person, always right with God and never a disappointment to Him.  
View yourself as a person who is as righteous as Christ Himself, because you are!!  

You have a wonderful gift from God - the gift of Christ's own righteousness, and it is your own possession.  You are defined forevermore by Christ's righteousness and never again by your sins!

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14