The devil has also succeeded in erecting fences around the gift of righteousness. Today, conventional theology teaches you that not only is there such a thing as “positional righteousness”, there is also something known as “practical righteousness”.
They are saying that even though you were made righteous by grace, you now have to do right and keep the law to continue being righteous. They call this having “practical righteousness”.
This is something that Apostle Paul never taught! There is only one righteousness in Christ Jesus. Let’s see what Paul says about those who are ignorant of this righteousness.
He said, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness [that’s what some people term ‘positional righteousness’], and seeking to establish their own righteousness [now that would be what they call ‘practical righteousness’], have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (see Romans 10:3).
So it is clear that Paul is against any teaching that says that you have to earn and merit your own righteousness. You are either righteous or you are not. There is no such thing as first having “positional righteousness” and then having to maintain that through “practical righteousness”.
You are the righteousness of God in Christ, period! Notice that the strategy here is to deceive the believer into believing that righteousness is something that you need to achieve by keeping the law perfectly. It all sounds very good to the flesh, but if that is so, then the promise of the gift of righteousness is completely thrown out of the window.
The devil is very crafty. He has no problem with righteousness, but he wants to deceive you into pursuing your own righteousness through the law. He wants you to depend on your own self-righteousness, so he throws out the little word “gift” from the phrase “gift of righteousness”.
Then, he gives you a false impression that you are responsible for earning your own righteousness through your own works and self-efforts, instead of depending on the finished work of Jesus.
You are the righteousness of God in Christ, period! There are many believers who are very sincere about keeping the law and earning their own righteousness, but I’m sorry to say this: They are sincerely wrong.
God’s way is by grace. Righteousness cannot be earned by good works. It can only come as a gift. A gift is no longer a gift if you have to work for it.
For example, if I gave you a brand new dazzling red Ferrari on the condition that you pay me R200k every month for the rest of your life, is the Ferrari really a gift? Of course not! How can it be a gift if you have to pay or work for it? That is double-talk! But that is what some people are preaching today. They say that God gives you the gift of righteousness, on the condition that you keep the Ten Commandments for the rest of your life to remain righteous. Now, is this a real gift? Come on, when God gave you the gift of righteousness, it was a real gift.
Stop trying to earn it with your own works. God’s gifts to us are unconditional! Start believing that righteousness is a gift in the new covenant! Many believers are defeated today because they are trying to earn their own righteousness by their law-keeping and good works.
My friend, righteousness is a gift because of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross for you. All your sins — past, present and future — have been washed clean by His precious blood. You are completely forgiven and from the moment you received Jesus into your life, you will never be held liable for your sins ever again.
You have been made as righteous as Jesus not through your behavior, but by faith in Him and His finished work on the cross (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). There is nothing that you can do that will make God love you more and there is nothing that you can do that will make Him love you less.
Perhaps you are saying, “But… but… I didn’t do anything to become righteous!” That is exactly right. You did nothing to become righteous. And Jesus did nothing to become sin. You are clothed not with your own righteousness, but with Jesus’ perfect righteousness.
It is a gift that He purchased for you with His own blood! Therefore, righteousness before the Lord cannot be earned. Your righteous standing or right standing before Him can only be received as a gift.
Today, your right to be righteous is a blood-bought right! There is nothing that you can do that will make God love you more and there is nothing that you can do that will make Him love you less. He loves you perfectly and He sees you clothed with Jesus’ righteousness. So begin to see yourself clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.
Love and Grace,
Pastors Dane and Tersia Mesane