IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: RIGHTEOUSNESS, NOT OF OUR OWN MAKING
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM.
“Righteousness is a gift that comes from the Lord to those who accept what Jesus has done for them by faith”
Traditional thinking confuses righteousness with holiness. Many people never stop to ask the question, “What is righteousness?” They think they already know the answer and believe righteousness is the way you act, but this is not true. Holiness is your conduct; righteousness is what you are—the nature of God.
In other words, righteousness is not a “goody-goody” way of acting or something that can be attained. The word translated righteousness literally means “in right-standing.” We have been put in right-standing with God through the work of Jesus at Calvary. When a person accepts Jesus, he or she is moved into a position of new birth and enters into the kingdom of God as God’s very own child and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. And it is critical that Christians begin to see themselves as righteous—because there is power in their knowing the truth about righteousness.
One thing holding more Christians in bondage than anything else is a lack of understanding righteousness. That’s why every day of your life on this earth, Satan is going to try to convince you that you don’t have any right to the things of God. He’s going to try to bring you into bondage again to sin in order to control your life. But he won’t be able to do it if you’ll reawaken yourself every day to who you really are in Jesus.
“Righteousness” and its counterpart, “righteous,” appear 540 times in 520 verses of the Bible. In contrast, “faith,” “faithfulness,” and “faithful” are only used 348 times in 328 verses. This means that there are 1.5 times as many scriptures about righteousness as there are about faith. Righteousness is important.
One of the things that blinds people to a true understanding of righteousness is confusion about how we become right in the sight of God. It is commonly thought that our actions are the determining factor in God’s judgment of our righteousness. That’s not true. There is a relationship between our actions and our right standing with God, but right relationship with God produces actions, not the other way around. That is to say, we are not made righteous by what we do.
Righteousness is a gift that comes from the Lord to those who accept what Jesus has done for them by faith (Rom. 5:17-18). The gift of salvation produces a changed heart that, in turn, changes our actions. Actions cannot change our hearts. It’s the heart of man that God looks upon (1 Sam. 16:7), and we must be righteous in our hearts to truly worship God (John 4:24
God is all light and glory; He is perfect in purity and holiness; He cannot be approached by sinful creatures. The prophet Isaiah once had a vision in which he saw the Lord God on His throne. Heavenly beings around the throne were praising God, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)
We must have a righteousness that is acceptable to Him. Forgiveness is like taking a bath; righteousness is like putting on clean clothes. We take a bath that we might be cleansed from all impurities; we put on proper clothes that we might be suitable dressed to appear before people.
Are you born again? Then you’re right with God. Now, there may be some things in your life you need to change, but you’re right with God. Righteousness is not connected to our conduct—you can’t earn righteousness with good behavior. It comes only through faith in Jesus Christ and is “for everyone who believes, no matter who we are” (Romans 3:22). That is a powerful and miraculous truth that will change your life forever when you really get revelation of it.
So, in spite of anything you’ve heard or believed, the truth is, righteousness is a free gift.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” –Romans 8:1
If you were to ask most Christians, “Are you righteous?” they would say, “Me? No!” They are trying to be humble. They’re afraid God wouldn’t like it if they said they were righteous. Actually, they’re speaking from the way they feel—from the way they’ve been trained—from ignorance of the Word of God concerning righteousness.
“Much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness…reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” –Romans 5:17 (AMPC)
Righteousness is a powerful force, and this verse makes it clear—receiving righteousness enables us to “reign as kings in life.” In other words, when you make Jesus the Lord of your life, you receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness to enable you to reign in life as a king over your life circumstances.
Are you reigning over your life, or is your life reigning over you? Your righteousness is power—power to reign over your life, your garden, your body and your household. Take that power, and refuse to let sickness and disease come on your body. Take authority over it. Refuse to let poverty come into your household. Take authority over anything that threatens your safety.
In conclusion, when you get a revelation of the truth about righteousness, you will finally be able to answer the question, “What is righteousness?” You will discover you can’t earn righteousness, that sin consciousness is not God’s will for you, and that righteousness is a powerful force. Once you awake to righteousness, you won’t ever again question your right-standing with God. You were made to focus on, live in and operate by the power of righteousness. It’s God’s will for you. And that is the truth about righteousness.
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