I want to continue my posts on Ten Key Words for Christian Living by looking at the second of those words, righteousness. I am using the word in its judicial sense, namely our right standing with God. I am speaking of positional righteousness more than practical righteousness, even though the two are closely related. I think that the word righteousness is key for the Christian because we need to be frequently reminded of who we are in Christ.
Ours is an alien righteousness – it is not inherent to us since “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Is. 64:6). We lack what we must have but it is ours in Christ. Righteousness naturally follows faith because it is by faith that we receive the righteousness of Christ (Philippians 3:8-9).
It is not the intention of this post to give a full-blown treatise on the doctrine of imputation, but rather to focus on its practical application in our lives. I have long believed that we have failed in the church in a very practical area of discipleship. We spend more time teaching new believers what they should do rather than grounding them in who they are. Consequently, the first time these new believers inevitably stumble they become paralyzed and withdrawn believing that they are somehow second-class citizens of heaven. Nothing gives us joy, courage and boldness like knowing that we are counted righteous in Christ. We are accepted by God, not because of what we have done, but because of the redemption accomplished by His Son.
The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is not a doctrine to be debated but an identity to be cherished. Step out boldly each day knowing that Christ is our righteousness and each day God is bringing our behavior in line with our identity.