What a ludicrous way for us to be thinking, placing ourselves back under the law for righteousness before God. The lunacy of desiring to be under the law, in order to perfect our righteousness in God’s sight. Is it not a foolish notion to suppose that our righteous works can enhance the righteousness that belongs to Jesus Christ, to whom we have been joined. Can a person’s righteous works be added to the righteousness belonging to Jesus Christ himself, in order to arrive at a greater degree of righteousness than the righteousness already belonging to our Savior. Is God requiring that we add our righteous works to Christ’s righteousness that we might become righteous indeed or is Christ’s righteousness the only righteousness from God’s perspective his saints will ever need.
Pride insists upon attributing success to self, we are either under the jurisdiction of the law which requires performance for righteousness or we are under the jurisdiction of Jesus Christ and our position in him is our righteousness, we can not have it both ways. Grace and Law are polar opposites and God will share no one joined to his son with the law. Human righteousness comes from self-interest motivation, it’s self-glorifying, and while it may be of earthly benefit, that won’t cut it when it comes to meeting the demands of God’s perfect justice.
According to Paul, we have how much forgiveness, total forgiveness! If we want God to view us today, we got to be in his son. At the point of our belief in what Christ accomplished where our sins are concerned, we are as closely associated with Christ as anyone could be, we are joined to him. God has kept the fingerprints of the guilt-worthy off of the righteousness he designed for the guilt-worthy. God is not patiently waiting for us to change our mind about what we do, many have done that, thinking it gains salvation. God views us in our glorified identity, he sees us as being joined to his son.
Remember, we were given our righteous standing as a free gift. It’s a grace gift given by God, and we receive it the instant we place our faith in Christ having resolved God’s justice for our sins. This gift decree of righteousness comes totally apart from any and all human promise or all human performance or all human production. No human merit whatsoever for this free gift, God will never consider our works as a payment for God’s justifying declaration. When a person changes their lifestyle after salvation, it is because that person is attempting to set themselves apart from their former lifestyle. Unbelievers are fully capable of setting themselves apart, people are doing that every day and to varying degrees.
The flesh is never capable of performance to the standard of the perfection belonging to God himself, no matter how set apart we try to become. Some believers quit drinking, some say when they quit drinking that God took it away from them. Non-believers quit drinking, did God take it away from them? God sets every believer apart, not some more so than others, but everyone who has believed what his son accomplished is set apart by God himself. God is the sanctifier, not the person, and it comes regardless of how those believers set themselves apart. Our righteous standing before God is accomplished through our being set-apart, the only way we can ever be made totally and perfectly as righteous as God himself is for that believer to be joined to God’s son.
God has set us apart and he calls us righteous based not upon what we do or what we abstain from doing where he’s concerned, or not upon any promise we might make along those lines, but upon Christ’s righteousness and our faith in Christ’s faithful sacrifice on our behalf, because it is at that point of our belief that God’s power from high set us apart. God alters our identity be removing us judicially in God’s mind from an identification with Adam, and now we are judicially identified with Jesus Christ. God places us into Christ, we have been made part of Jesus Christ’s body, part of his flesh, and part of his bones according to Paul.
God planned that his son become sin for the world, which his son did indeed become, but when it comes to being made the righteousness of God in Christ, what response is necessary in order for a person to be made the righteousness of God, by being placed into Christ? Belief in what God’s son accomplished, where sins are concerned, is that required response. It is very simple when we understand the difference in Reconciliation and Righteousness. Not everyone has been baptized into Christ even though Christ’s blood purged his or her sins, when his blood dripped on the Mercy Seat of God’s Ark. If Christ purged only the sins of believers, then Christ did not become a ransom for all.
All believers, we are all alike in this respect, we all continue to struggle with that issue of sins in our lives. Not only do we continue to have the propensity to sin, we do in fact do those things that come short of the glory of God far more often than any of us would like. Paul is not telling us that we will no longer be inclined to do wrong things or to think wrong things, or even that believers will more often than not always choose to do the right thing. What Paul is telling us, is that sin shall not conquer us. Sin shall not have dominion over us because we are not living under the law program, we are living under grace. The victory has already been won and who won it? Jesus Christ won it.
When we get our eyes off our new identity, and try to produce in our daily experience the acceptance God has already extended to us, we will struggle, because the enemy will try to convince us that we are an unworthy, unacceptable, sin-sick person who will never amount to anything in God’s eyes. We are saints whom God has declared righteous, believing the enemies lie will lock us into a defeated, fruitless life, but believing God’s truth about who we are, will set us free. It is imperative to our growth and maturity that we believe God’s truth about who we are in Christ.