|RIGHTEOUSNESS: What is Righteousness?
Sandra G. Kennedy
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Mar 13 2009 08:00 AM
How can a holy, righteous God accept sinful man? How can God justify us? How can He make it permissible for us to
stand in His presence after what we have done? That's what Job wanted to know.
As the death seed entered mankind, as it passed from generation to generation, and sin filled the atmosphere, it
seemed an impossibility to accomplish such a thing. But, in truth, reconciliation and restoration were foremost in the
plan of God! The process of justifying the ungodly and what God did out of His own heart's desire - Justification - is a
work of His hand.
The Great Judge of All has proclaimed, declared, and decreed that man is justified before Him because of the Blood of
the Lamb that was poured out from the Body of our Lord Jesus. This grace paved a way for you and me to once again
come back into the presence of God and have intimate fellowship with him. You see, the Father so desperately wanted
us back, He, Himself, paid the debt that was on each one of our heads. How can we understand and grasp such a
marvelous work? That a Holy God would love the human race so much that He would die for us - the Sinless for the
sinner. Truly, His mercy is unfathomable!
Yet, justification was only the beginning of this grace that has flowed toward us through the ages. Just as Scripture
relates that God had to release the Children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt to bring them into the promised land,
that's what He has also done for us.
It's Not A Behavior
Justification released us from the bondage of sin and death that held us captive so that He could bring us into a right
position with Him where His divine blessings abound. Out of justification comes righteousness.
in him." II Corinthians 5:21
Righteousness in simplicity is right-standing with God. It is something we become; who we are in the eyes of God. It is
not a behavior, rather the ability to come and stand in the presence of God Almighty - to approach the very throne of
God without guilt, condemnation, or inferiority.
Most of the church world knows nothing about this marvelous blessing. Many Christians think of themselves as
unworthy no-goods who go before the Father begging, pleading - hoping maybe somewhere, someday they might talk
Him into doing something for them if they implore and cry long enough.
This kind of behavior is completely contrary to the Word of God! We have such a loving Father, so filled with grace,
that He not only invites us, but commands us to come boldly before Him to receive what we need because we have a
High Priest well familiar with our human weaknesses.
points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that
we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15,16
Read it again! We've been instructed to come boldly, not arrogantly, but boldly to the Throne of Grace - to the Mercy
Seat itself, where the Blood of Jesus was poured out for you and me to not just hope, but obtain the mercy and grace
That Mercy Seat in the heavenly Holy of Holies was made for us. It certainly wasn't made for Him. He didn't need it
except that it was necessary to reconcile us back into His presence. Righteousness places us in a position to come
before Him as kings and priests without the guilt and shame that has plagued us for years.
We're At God's Table
Most people struggle with inferiority; one reason why we miss the blessings of God. Without knowing and accepting our
rightful place - welcomed at His side and in His presence because of the righteousness He gave us - we stay at a
distance because we are afraid. We are much like Adam and Eve after the fall!
Scripture says that God has prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23). Obviously, that is
not a heavenly feast, but one here on this earth because we have no enemies in heaven. However, instead of sitting at
the table He has prepared, we are crawling around on our hands and knees, hoping we might be able to grab some
morsel of blessing that hits the floor!
Righteousness sits us at the table with God Almighty, not as beggars but as kings and priests! Do you see how we
have missed it?
Guilt and condemnation bring inferiority. I'm sorry to say that we have been taught these things in Church by the hell,
fire, and damnation messages we've all heard. Yes, we agree that we should go to hell, but thank God for His grace
and mercy! Praise Him for the Good News of the Gospel. That is exactly why Jesus came; to set us free and lift us back
into His presence, up at His level!
In Heavenly Places
Oh, the goodness of God is beyond anything we could ever hope or dream! I love knowing that He did not want anyone
to go to hell and that He made a way for us to escape the penalty we so rightly deserved. I am thrilled to know that He is
not mad, or just waiting to thrust His wrath at us when we make mistakes.
Our Father loves us and knows the frailty of our flesh. He knows how broken and messed up we are yet, still offers His
love. That is why He made a provision for us to come out of that sin nature - to be loosed from Satan's grip - to wipe
away our past so that we may be seated with Him in heavenly places. Glory to God!
It is awful to live our entire life in condemnation - afraid to approach our Father. It's dreadful to live eaten up with guilt
when God has declared us righteous before Him. No, we didn't commit any righteousness among our sin and Jesus
didn't commit any sin in the midst of His righteousness. We were totally sinful and He was totally righteous. But let's
look at II Corinthians 5:21 again.
in him." II Corinthians 5:21
Jesus didn't commit any sin but was made to be our sin. He took our iniquity so that He could give us His right-standing
with the Father. Think about that. It's not that we are righteous, but that God declares us to be righteous in His sight
because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary we accept in our heart. What a God we serve!
Too Good To Be True
The devil strives hard to keep us heavily weighted with the guilt and condemnation of our past, when in truth, God has
wiped it away. There is no evidence of our past!
Righteousness is so marvelous it can hardly be fathomed. It can only be comprehended by faith deep in our spirit.
Our carnal mind can't even begin to understand the wonders of being in right-standing with God. It sounds too good to
be true because we know how we've been - we know what we've done and how we have acted - and what our life has
been like with all it's failures. We know ourselves!
Yet, God has declared us righteous and He is not a man that He should lie. With our own mouth we need to start
declaring that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! He is the One Who declared it; we are just agreeing
The first few times we are bold enough to even attempt to say such a thing, our knees may be knocking so loud others
may hear them. But God is the One Who said we are in right standing with Him. He accomplished the work. We just
need to agree with Him, believe what He said, and enter in.
Breaking Satan's Power
Once we are born again, Romans 6 says that the hold of sin is broken in our lives. Justification declares that sin shall
no longer lord it over us.
Satan does not have the power to make us continue sinning because his authority has been completely broken where
we are concerned. He only has the ability to suggest sinful behavior in our weak areas. He merely comes and says
things to us that we are already leaning toward anyway. He keeps whispering in our ears and counts on us to yield to
his suggestions. But he surely cannot make us sin.
Yet he has something almost as devious and just as effective as iniquity itself. If we won't sin, then he keeps us thinking
about sin - our past failures, what others have done to us, or keeps us watching everybody else's iniquity. That is
called being sin-conscious.
People who murmur and gossip fall into this category. Sin-consciousness causes them to feel inferior, so they try to
make themselves look better by pointing out the flaws of others.
Such people have a real problem with their own self worth - and it's why they talk about everyone else. It keeps the
attention off of themselves and their own imperfections. People who stay tuned to themselves and how "nobody
understands" them and their problems have an inferiority complex.
These saints do not understand righteousness, nor what God has done for His people through it. They are guilt and
condemnation conscious. They are aware of what believers ought to be, but like to point out how you've missed the
mark while keeping silent about their own mistakes.
The more we center on our weaknesses, the more our weaknesses show up in our life - and it is why we never seem to
break free of them. We must stay focused on righteousness and the work of God's hand in our lives. Our whole intent
is to grow in the things of God - to become more conformed to the image of our Father's Dear Son.
Deliberate, habitual sin is not becoming nor natural to believers. Too many misuse God's grace - sloppily and cheaply -
when it is neither. Grace toward man cost God His Son on the Cross of Calvary. And when we begin to be truly
thankful for His grace in our lives and appreciate it, then we'll handle both sin and grace differently.
If we can ever understand righteousness (to forget about our sin and let His Blood be sufficient), then, my friend, we can
go on. We need to quit examining everyone else and deal with our own defects in the light of righteousness and the
power of the Blood.
Once this is understood, murmuring and backbiting would cease in the churches. It's the inferiorities within us, the
things we won't turn loose of, that make us point out the problems of others. The Almighty has declared us in right
standing with Him so we can come before Him without guilt, condemnation, or inferiority!
No More Guilt
Righteousness pushes back darkness and brings us to greater heights in Him. When we can clearly "see" that all guilt
is gone and that we truly can stand before God Who is holy and pure and spotless; if we can look beyond the frailties
we know we all have and be what He has declared, we are on the path to victory!
The only way we escape from the condemnation, guilt, and inferiority that has driven us all of our lives is by faith that
God meant what He said and by staking our life on that Word. Righteousness makes us a king and priest before God,
Is It Possible?
Some of you are saying, "There is none righteous, no not one." And, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Let's examine the first part. Yes, that verse can be found in Romans 3:10, but He is talking about the unregenerate
man, people who do not seek after God. In the next verses, He says their throats are open sepulchers and that their
feet are swift to shed blood, and that there is no fear of God before their eyes. Is that a picture of God's true people?
No, they are not symptomatic of authentic Christian behavior throughout the New Testament. Such conduct contradicts
the Words of our Father for Godly living.
Now let's take a look at that second statement: that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It can be found in
verse 23 of that same chapter, but let's read it in context. This passage of Scripture wasn't even talking about sin.
there is no difference:
the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
believeth in Jesus."
These verses tell us that His righteousness comes to all and on all who have faith in Jesus Christ. And that
righteousness comes to those who believe because we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory!
The Word declares that God justifies freely by grace those who have faith in the Blood that was shed on Calvary's
Cross - so that He may pass over and ignore former sins without punishment. The Amplified Bible says that God
Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus (verse 26). Glory to
Righteousness has come upon all who have been born again into this Great Family - it had to, for God is no respecter
of persons and all of us have missed the mark. My brothers and sisters, it's settled!
God is not upset with us, but He has made it possible for everyone to come into His presence without guilt,
condemnation, or inferiority. Praise God forevermore!
of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:17
Here is the same verse in the Amplified Bible:
will those who receive [God's] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness
[putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the
Messiah, the Anointed One).
Death had passed to all mankind because of Adam's transgression in the Garden. And it reigned supreme over each
man's life. It was one hundred percent effective with no option of escape of any body. But much more surely than the
grip death had on us, those who will receive God's overflowing grace and walk in His free gift of righteousness can reign
in this world as kings over the circumstances of life by the Man, Jesus Christ - in truth, the Word of the Living God!
God Declared It!
We are righteous in the eyes of God Almighty. It is something He, Himself, has accomplished in the lives of each one of
Righteousness is a natural by-product of the justification process. So when we say, "We are righteous" that is not a
faith statement, but truth based on the Word of god and the fact that He cannot lie.
If we are born again, from God's point of view, we are righteous. And remember this: we cannot get to be more
righteous or less righteous - we are simply in right-standing with God.
If we say, "I am a Christian" then in the same breath, we should say, "I am righteous" because they are one in the
same. We can't be a Christian without being righteous and if we are righteous, we are Christians.
Religion has made righteousness one of those Sunday School words that might be attainable in the distant future -
something we have to work toward, when we in fact, are declared righteous by the new birth!
Don't Be Fooled
By saying Christians can be defeated, Satan has sold us a big lie. We should never be defeated! Christians means
"little Christ" or "Christ-like" and He most assuredly is not conquered and crushed.
So why is it that we have so many defeated, born again, Holy Ghost filled believers? I am convinced it is because we
don't know who we are. We simply don't comprehend what the Father has done for us.
Scripture declares that God's people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge - and because we are in ignorance, we've
bought a lie. We have believed there was no way we could ever be righteous - that we don't have the ability - that the
Word really doesn't mean what it says. Therefore, we have never walked out who we are in Christ Jesus - justified and
in right-standing with the Father.
Remember, it was God's full intention from the beginning to break the power of darkness over His creation and bring
them back into the glory of their original condition. And that includes, while always subordinate and obedient to
Almighty God, ruling and reigning as kings on this planet.
We are not to be out there somewhere just doing our own thing or pressing our own agenda. No! We are to rightly
discern the will of God - take His Words - speak them as a king and rule over circumstances so that His will can be done
on earth as it is in heaven. But we will never step out and do that without a revelation so real and deep within us that it
wipes away every doubt that we, indeed, are righteous before God through Christ Jesus.
Our Image of God
Hebrews says that we are to come boldly to the Throne of Grace. We are invited to walk right in the door where God
lives, go through the curtain of the flesh of His Son Jesus - knowing that we are totally accepted there without
condemnation, inferiority, or guilt. But, if that truth is not real to us, if we don't know who we are, we won't live like the
kings that God has created us to be. We'll spend our time trying to maybe, one day, get the ear of God - just hoping He
will answer our prayers.
People by the thousands try to attract the Father's attention, then become depressed because nothing is working in
their lives, and leave the Church. Most of the time, they leave because people sitting in the pews, who think they "know"
but are ignorant of God and His ways, put some guilt trip on the new Christian who is trying to grow in the things of God.
Such people make the Christian life seem too difficult and too hard. They make God to be judgmental, ready to strike
some kind of destruction on us every time we slip. The "babe in Christ" leaves, thinking they could never walk this life
the Creator expects.
All of this deceit has come out of the carnal, religious attitudes of self righteous Christians who have no understanding
of God's compassion nor what He has accomplished for us. They are lies straight out of hell!
You see, there are different groups within the Church. First, there are those who are serious in their walk with the Lord
and strive in every area to be what He wants them to be by the Word of God.
Next, there is a group that is "playing" church, but when the services are over, they have no intention of growing in
Christ. They merely act "right" at the House of God, but intend to go home and do just as they please. They only want
to have an image and they use the Church to achieve that objective.
Finally, there are people who desire to go on with God and dig deep into His Word and be what He wants them to be.
Yet, the religious lies they have accepted have made it a "works" mentality until, in their minds, the proper Christian
lifestyle becomes too difficult to live out.
I am convinced that at least ninety percent of the Church is not living as God intends. They are striving - hoping one
day to be accepted and have favor with the Father - all because they don't know who they are. If we can understand
the fact that we don't have to work to be righteous - to make our sins disappear, or to get out of condemnation - then we
can begin to live like the righteous sons and daughters of the Great Jehovah God we have been declared to be.
We must receive this gift of righteousness by faith to be able to reign in life as stated in Romans 5:17. It takes faith to
accept what Jesus did for us and walk in it because the idea itself is so marvelous. The concept that we have the same
right-standing with God as Jesus is mind-boggling! But at some point, for us to walk in the benefits of righteousness,
we've got to believe. Again, we must accept the Words of God as truth because He cannot lie! And His Word is the law
of this land.
The devil is a liar. He has deceived the Church and has taught that righteousness is based on whether or not we wear
make-up or how long we keep our hair. We've dreamed about being righteous, but thought it to be something beyond
our reach when in reality it's what we are in the eyes of God.
The Church has even helped the devil and kept the majority of the people ignorant of this fabulous truth. Many in the
pulpit are guilty of teaching things about God not found in the Word.
We need to know that the Almighty is a holy, righteous, kind, and loving Father. He is for us - not against us. He so
desires that His people live in the victory and the blessings He has provided, that He gave His own Son to destroy the
works of the devil! He has made it possible for us to look hell square in the face and say, "No! No more!"
The Lord has set us free, cleaned us up, redeemed and justified us in the courts of heaven and given us an open
invitation to come boldly tot he Throne of Grace! Why? Because we are now sons and daughters of the Most High God.
Beyond that, righteousness has given us His full armor: His precious Blood, His Mighty Word, His Kingdom authority, His
explosive power, and the wonderful Name of Jesus to which every knee must bow. What a God!
If we walk around in darkness, ignorant of who we are in Christ Jesus and too lazy to find out, Satan will continue to
reign in our lives because he moves in darkness.
The Bible says we are complete in Him and righteousness restores us to every single thing God has had for us since
before the foundation of the world. Adam lost everything in the garden with his act of treason, but the Last Adam,
Jesus, reclaimed it and has placed it in the hands of the Church.
Once we understand righteousness, we will discover it is a masterful thing. It literally puts us as masters over situations
in our lives.
Most of us bow and cower like weaklings, failing to stand in the midst of our trials because we don't know who we are.
Each person must make their own decision regarding this truth. For example, I can go on with God in the benefits of
righteousness, while you sit back in the pew and just dream of them.
It is my (Sandra G. Kennedy's) desire that we move forward together for this is the will of God; that His people, His Body,
rise up and keep the devil under our feet.
Can you imagine the powerhouse the Church would be if we would get serious and take hold of this truth? It is hard to
envision what God could accomplish in these last days with a people who knew their rightful position.
Settle this thing forever. As a child of God you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Walking in righteousness
will destroy the sin consciousness that we have wallowed in and it will give us new liberty in prayer. This revelation will
bring us back into powerful fellowship with God - allowing us to see ourselves unashamedly as joint heir with Jesus
Christ. It will enable us to work with Him as co-laborers, taking authority over the devil in the Name of Jesus.
Today, He is waiting on us to take from Him what He offers. With total confidence, standing on the Word, we need to
wear our robe of righteousness to the glory of God the Father.
YOUR ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, by Sandra G. Kennedy, Copyright 2004, LifeBridge Books.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES