“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The journey continues…
I struggled with the idea of being “righteous in Christ” for a while. I was familiar with the teaching that we are made righteous by faith and not works (Romans 3:28). But still, I had difficulty accepting the doctrine. I just could not believe that God had declared me righteous. And so, like some of my fellow believers, I focused on doing good works to be acceptable to God.
Nonetheless, when we genuinely seek God’s face, He will help us to understand His truth; it might take a while, but the revelation will come. According to Acts 8:26-39, the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the Bible and did not understand, as a result, God sent Phillip to help him. Phillip obeyed and explained the Scripture to him and he received salvation.
Not so long ago, I was watching a sermon by Joseph Prince about the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and I received the insight that I have been made righteous through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Hence, my good deeds do not make me righteous, I am already righteous. It is my responsibility to go forth by faith and dwell on godly thoughts and do good deeds. This revelation has changed my perspective to the extent that, when I look at myself nowadays, I see the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus was made a sacrifice for our sins so that in Him we might become righteous. The moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become righteous. Therefore, when God looks at us, He sees no sin, but righteousness. Since we are in a state of righteousness, we have the power to choose godly thoughts and actions. The Bible says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6). We can speak kind words to encourage our listeners instead of hurtful words that will offend or discourage them. Moreover, we have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of self-control to help us manage our thoughts and emotions so that we can use them to glorify God.
As believers in Christ, God expects us to do good deeds, the apostle Paul says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Furthermore, the Bible says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Although God has equipped us to do good deeds, does that mean we will never sin? Of course not! The reality is that we will sin, however, when we do, Jesus expects us to confess our sins and he will cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).