Even after being born again I continued to wonder – what is righteousness and sin? Was I always supposed to do everything right and perfectly because I am under HIS radar? I knew HE loved me but did HIS pleasure in me fluctuate according to my performance?
For years I constantly strived to reach that one point in my life where God would or could say – “Finally, I am satisfied with her”. Well guess what I kept striving and trying but I could not reach that place in my head. I felt flawed and useless because I felt God saw me like that because of my failure to remain 100% righteous in my acts. This journey in the striving land continued for a long time. I became extremely self righteous, looked like I knew God and loved HIM but was far far away from His heart for me.
Until one day when I decided to not carry this burden anymore and leave GOD. But a deepest part of my heart knew God loved me (even though He expects perfection). Many questions resonated in my heart like, “Why does this GOD whose love took HIM to grave, treat me so bad and harshly?” This God either did not die for me and if HE did then what happened to HIM?
So I decided to go to GOD the way I was and asked HIM – “Jesus do YOU love me unconditionally or not?”
I heard this appealing voice – “Yes I do love you unconditionally but you have not given me a chance to define it to you. Since I am love, freedom, righteousness and kindness, you have to let Me define these for you”
My eyes opened and I could see my blindness. Yes, I knew the cross, the death, the resurrection but I failed to see the gentle forgiving heart behind it. See when the world forgives you – it expects you to maintain either certain level of brilliance or would still keep talking about what you did. God doesn’t forgive like that! His forgiveness is just not a spot in heaven which you need to somehow manage to not lose. His forgiveness restores you to become who you were always supposed to be. HIS offspring who is righteous and has 100 percent bold access to HIS lap. His death paid your price but HIS resurrection gave you a new life – which is righteous by definition and not performance (ROMANS 5:10 – For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!) Does that mean – I don’t live a righteous life since God has done all the work already? Can I do whatever I want to?
No, I completely believe we are called to be righteous and not sin but today I want to re-define them for you. Righteousness is not an act. It is being and believing (Genesis 15:6 – Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness). It is not an earned title but a received gift through faith. When Adam was created by God, nowhere in the book of Genesis have I found Adam “striving” to please God for a happy fellowship. HIS source of righteousness was that HE was in GOD and HE believed GOD for who GOD is and what GOD said Adam was. It was his God given legal right to “BE” with GOD and dwell with HIM – that my friends is righteousness. Every good deed or a truthful stand you take -that flows out of you as a result of this relationship with GOD is not righteousness. Those are the fruit of operating as who you are (though that’s the banner people like to put on it) . God says, “Your righteous acts are like filthy rags for me” (Isaiah 64:6). God does not ask you to display your righteous acts but to demonstrate HIS righteousness (Isaiah 42:6 – “I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness). So righteousness is about and through GOD while fruits are through you if you believe in HIS righteousness that HE has given you to wear (Isaiah 61:10 – For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness; John 11:40 – Believe and you will see the glory of GOD).
Righteousness is running to HIM for help while fighting temptations, to love others when it’s hard and yourself when it is the hardest, to take refuge in HIM when you are in trouble, to call upon HIM for answers, it is to remove your daily fluctuating measure of self and replace it with GOD’s never changing love for you.
SIN on the other hand is not committing disgusting gossip stirring wrong acts (they are the fruit of Sin). Adam eating the apple was not sin – it was a fruit of SIN . His sin was when he did not run to GOD in the time of temptation. Or for that matter Eve did not stand strong on the truth of her power and authority. That was her sin! Lack of trust in what God has created her to be. She was the righteous one already and had full time access to GOD – she could have made a choice to ask and receive. Sadly, she did not believe GOD and who she was through HIM. She fell into sin and committed the most talked about event ever.
On an honest note, we young people who love GOD need to focus more on what the cross has made them into rather than trying to become righteous by acting like we have everything together. This generation needs to stop focusing on doing first and should start relying on what has been done for them already. Then, the creation would witness no child of GOD losing a battle or giving up on GOD`s heart.