Righteousness restored

List of Studies

1. Introduction

Adam and Eve were created in harmony with God’s righteous universe, but by a conscious decision they surrendered righteousness for sin.  If mankind is to be saved, they must regain their original state of righteousness.  

This cannot be accomplished by any means possessed by sinful mankind, or by any effort put forward by them.

This study is concerned with how righteousness is indeed regained.

2. We have no righteousness

We must remember continually that we (mankind) fall far short of the righteousness of Heaven (see study: ‘Salvation 1’, 3).  

We must be always conscious that what we may suppose is righteousness on our part is as filthy rags in the sight of heaven (Is 64:6), and furthermore we can do nothing about it of ourselves.  

On the face of it, we are left with what appears to be an insurmountable problem. 

However, God Himself has intervened and made a way of escape for us - He has given us reason for hope. 

3. Counted as righteous - our only hope

Our only hope is to be counted by God as righteous. The salvation of mankind hinges upon this critically important concept.

We see in study: ‘The Covenant of Grace’ that God made a covenant with Abraham - we call this the Covenant of Grace, whereby Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Ge 15:6).  

Believing this same Covenant is enjoined upon all mankind - it promises a Saviour who will redeem all who believe.

By believing in the promise of a Saviour to come, those who lived before the Cross have righteousness accounted to them.  Since the Cross, all who believe in the Saviour already come (Christ) have the same righteousness accounted to them.

Ro 3:21-23  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 

22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 

23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 

The Covenant of Grace extends to each one on an individual basis.  Those who live according to the light they receive from Heaven have righteousness accounted to them.  

This is known as imputed righteousness.

4. The Imputed Righteousness of God by faith

Imputed righteousness: to be ascribed (assigned) righteousness by a source outside of self.

Ro 4:22  And therefore it was imputed [Strong’s G3049, take an inventory, estimate] to him [Abraham] for righteousness. 

Ja 2:23  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 

Abraham was estimated by God as righteous.

As we have seen, not a single member of the human race is righteous.  Thus we need the righteousness of another, i.e. Christ, imputed to us to cover our unrighteousness.

Ps 32:1  Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 

Ps 85:2  Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. 

Ro 4:6,7  Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 

7  Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 

An (admittedly simplistic) understanding is that when the Father looked upon the Son on the Cross, He saw all sinners.  Now, as a consequence of Calvary, when the Father looks upon a repentant sinner, He sees the Son upon the Cross, and He imputes (ascribes) the Son’s righteousness to that sinner.   

This understanding is simplistic because we cannot possibly understand God - in reality the father was on the Cross. All of God was upon the Cross suffering and dying to make salvation available to all mankind, that anyone who desires to be saved may be so. 

5. The redeemed are justified by God

Those who have righteousness imputed to them are justified in God’s sight:

Is 45:25  In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified [Strong’s H6663, be right], and shall glory. 

Ga 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified [Strong’s G1342, render just, innocent] by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified [H6663] by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 

Tit 3:7  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 

To be justified by God is to be right with Him, to be counted as sinless by Him, in other words, to be restored to righteousness through faith in all His promises, and in the Blood of the Lamb of God. 

To be justified is to live by faith in God's promise of eternal life.  This was the requirement even before the Cross:

Hab 2:4  Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. 

The requirement remains unchanged now, after the Cross:

Rom 1:17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 

Christ has already paid the price of sin for us - it is settled. 

Rom 3:24  {Being justified} [Strong’s G1344, {being} justified] freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 

Here, ‘justified’ is in the present participle form - hence it is translated as a phrase coupled with ‘being’.  It is also plural.

Thus, all who are in Christ are justified NOW.

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 

To be right with God we must be washed in Christ’s regenerating blood - we must live by the indwelling Holy Spirit - we must be MADE new.

6. In Christ, the redeemed are MADE the Righteousness of God

Ga 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 

The Law (the Ten Commandments) demands the death of the sinner.  Christ took that death upon Himself, freeing us from the curse of death.

2Co 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

Christ was MADE what we are, so that we can be MADE what He is: the Righteousness of God. Christ was made what He was not naturally, so that we can be made what we are not naturally. 

All unfallen beings have the same righteousness as God.  If the redeemed are to join the unfallen beings in the Heavenly Kingdom, they must be made as righteous as God.

Note.  There is no process by which Christ could ‘become’ sin and by which we could ‘become’ the Righteousness of God.  These things must be ‘made’ by the love and mighty power of God.

7. The way of righteousness (imparted righteousness)

As we have seen, we have no righteousness of ourselves.  However, there are many exhortations in scripture to live righteously (for example Is 33;15,16; 1Ti 6:11; Tit 2:12). 

God knows our helplessness and weakness (Ps 103:14).  He thus not only makes us righteous in Christ, He enables us to live righteously.

In order to live righteously, we need two things: 

Ps 46:10  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 

Note. ‘Know’ here is in the imperative plural form - it is a command to all.

Jn 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 

Note. ‘Know’ here is in the present active subjunctive plural form - this carries the meaning that God desires that all would come to know Him now, that they might have eternal life.

Ro 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

To know God is to understand His love and His desire to save mankind.

Eze 36:27  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers [Strong’s G2389, a sharer] of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

The divine nature must be aspired to and emulated.

We cannot be as righteous AS Christ, but we can be righteous IN Christ by having His Spirit dwell within us. We will then be enabled to live a new life that reflects our faith - this is imparted righteousness. 

The apostle Paul uses the term 'in Christ' to mean that the redeemed are renewed from death to life.  The redeemed are new creatures (2Co 5:17) because they are covered by Christ's righteousness and are transformed by it - they reflect Christ's character. The redeemed in fact are joined to Christ - see study: 'The Day of Atonement',3.7.

1Jn 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 

If (when) we sin, we may turn to Christ as our Advocate - He will never turn anyone away:  

Jn 6:37 … him that cometh to me I will in no wise [Strong’s G3364, not at all - a double negative] cast out.

In summary, the righteousness that is enjoined upon us is to live in harmony with Heaven, wanting the things of God rather than the things of the world, and trusting God in all and for all.

8. Summary

God, in Christ, has redeemed fallen mankind by making the repentant the Righteousness of God - something they could never do for themselves.  The Righteousness of Christ is ascribed (imputed) to all who believe.  It is God’s free gift by which the redeemed are justified in His sight .  

He then enables believers to live righteously by giving them a share (imparted righteousness) of the divine nature.  God therefore nurtures fallen mankind the whole way from sin and death to eternal life.  For an in-depth scriptural account of salvation, see studies: ‘Salvation 1’ and ‘Salvation 2’.

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