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What is Righteousness?

God is perfect righteousness and goodness. You and I have imperfect righteousness. We can't live in heaven without perfect righteousness.

Psalms 14:3 says, "All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one."

When Adam and Eve sinned, they were separated from God. Since we are born into Adam's family, we are separated from God too.

Isaiah 59:2 says, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear."

It is our sin that separates us from God. It prevents us from being truly righteous.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"

Romans 3:10-12 says, "As it is written: '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 3:23 says, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Nobody has the perfect righteousness of God.

The immoral man does not have the perfect righteousness of God.

Romans 1:18 says, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness."

The moral man does not have the perfect righteousness of God.

Isaiah 64:6 says, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."

The religious man does not have the perfect righteousness of God.

Romans 2:28 says, "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly.

Matthew 5:20 says, "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Job 42:5 says, "Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

Isaiah 6:5 says, "Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips."

What are we to do? How can we ever live up to God's standard of perfect righteousness?

Romans 3:21-22 says, "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. There is no difference."

God's own righteousness is available to us.

He did this through the doctrine of imputation. Imputation means charging something to another person's account. Wouldn't it be great if someone gave us their credit card to use? We could buy things, but it would be charged to their account.

This is what happened when Adam sinned. Adam's sin was charged to our account. We received Adam's sin. We are guilty, simply because we were born into Adam's family.

Romans 5:12 says, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned."

But praise God that, in the same way, our sins are charged to Christ.

Isaiah 53:4-6 says, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

This is what Paul told Philemon to do for Onesimus.

Philemon 17-18 says, "So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me."

God lays our sin on Christ, and He gives Christ's righteousness to us. Our sins are charged to Christ's account, and He credits our account with the righteousness of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

The doctrine of justification teaches that we have been declared to be righteous. We are now found absolutely not guilty, just like we would be found legally not guilty in a court of law. We are free to go. But this is not just an excuse. It is godly justice, because we are now truly innocent, because of the blood of Christ.

We have a saying, that "there are no free lunches." When we eat lunch, somebody has to pay for it. Either you pay, or somebody else pays. Praise God that Christ has paid for our sins.

How can God be righteous and just by admitting sinners into heaven?

Romans 3:26 says, "He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

God removed our guilt by imputing Christ's absolute righteousness to us.

Romans 3:24-25 says, "...and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished."

We only believed God. This is the same thing God did for Abraham.

Genesis 15:6 says, "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness."

Abraham did not have true righteousness, but God credited His perfect righteousness to him. What must we do to be declared righteous?

Acts 16:31 says, "They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God exchanges your sin for the righteousness of Christ. What a bargain.

Romans 4:25 says, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."

How are we justified? We are justified by God, and declared to be righteous.

Romans 8:30-33 says, "And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified... Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies."

We are justified by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are made righteous.

Romans 3:24,26 says, "...we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus... he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

We are justified by faith--not by works.

Romans 3:28 says, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law."

What do we have, now that we're justified?

Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We have peace and righteousness, now that we are justified by God's grace.

Romans 3:24 says, "and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

We don't deserve Christ's righteousness. Our works are filthy, and we can't earn justification. Only through faith can we claim Christ's righteousness. It is only by grace, through faith.

We are justified by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:11 says, "You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

The Holy Spirit regenerates us. He brings us new spiritual birth. He Places us in Christ. We share His righteousness, so we can be declared justified.

We are justified in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Jesus is the reason that we can be justified. We are new creations in Jesus Christ, having the perfect righteousness of Christ.

Ephesians 1:6 says, "...to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."

If you are a believer in Christ, you will never face hell. God has imputed your sin to Jesus Christ. He has imputed Christ's absolute righteousness to your account.

Because we are absolutely righteous through Christ, God has declared us to be righteous.
You must accept the truth, and believe it, or else it doesn't help you. May this truth give you comfort and direction in your lives.

Owen Weber 2009