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Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Philippians 3:9 

What does the Bible say?

In the eyes of the first century Jewish religious establishment, Pharisee Saul (later known as Apostle Paul) was one of the most righteous people of his day, yet he realised that his own righteousness was hopelessly inadequate. In fact, while casual observers were impressed with all his religious accomplishments, Paul judged himself to be the “worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

How could this man be the most religious and the worst sinner at the same time? Because man judges the outside and God judges the heart. Paul, when judging himself from God’s perspective, was not impressed with his own righteousness. He knew he needed the righteousness that comes from God through faith in Christ. To understand our need for the gift of righteousness, we must know that . . .

1 – God is Righteous.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.

Psalm 145:17

(see also Psalm 97:2) 

Everything God does is simultaneously righteous, just, and loving. God, not man, is the standard for what is righteous and what is not.

2 – Man is not righteous.

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Romans 3:10-12 

When we compare ourselves to one another, we can always find someone who is more wicked, who can make us look relatively righteous before God. But when compared to God’s righteous standard, we all fall pitifully short.

3 – Jesus Christ is our righteousness. 

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1:30 

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17 

The Bible says righteousness is a gift we can receive because of what Jesus Christ did for us. When we stop trying to work our way into right relationship with God and instead put our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross, Jesus then becomes our righteousness, our holiness, and our redemption.

4 – Righteousness is a gift from God to man, not from man to God.

For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

Romans 10:2-3 

Paul, after trying unsuccessfully to establish his own righteousness, discovered a righteousness that comes from God. Many zealous, but ignorant, religious people are still trying to establish their own righteousness, rather than humbly submitting to God’s righteousness.

5 – Righteousness is a gift received, not a wage earned.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17 

6 – Righteousness comes by faith, not by keeping the Law.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

Romans 3:21-22 

The first century Jews thought they could earn righteousness by keeping the law. They were wrong. Since righteousness is a gift, it cannot be earned.

What is the relevance to my life?

  • When we say God is righteous, what do you think this means? Why is righteousness a gift? Why is Christ our only righteousness?
  • Reread Romans 3:10-12. How does this differ from how we view ourselves?
  • What is the difference between self-righteousness and true righteousness? Since righteousness is a gift, how should this affect the way you live?

How do I apply this to my life?

  • Do you believe that we can only be righteous before God because of Jesus Christ? if not, would you like to make a decision today to receive His gift of righteousness and forgiveness?
  • How will the truth of God’s righteousness affect the way you live this week?
  • Do you sometimes try to earn your own righteousness? What can you do to walk in Christ’s righteousness in your life every day?
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1 Comment

Chi Allinger · December 19, 2018 at 4:29 pm

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