RIGHTEOUSNESS AND GOOD CONDUCT
EPHESIANS 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
There is a difference between righteousness and right living or what is called good conduct. Righteousness is a free gift of God. We become righteous by faith in the finished work of Christ and not by our good conduct. We became righteous the day we received the gospel or got born again. We were washed and made perfect once and forever. Christ in you is righteousness.
Our righteousness does not depend on our conduct or good deeds but our faith in Jesus. How are good deeds related to righteousness? God justifies us on the grounds of our faith in Jesus whiles men justify us on the grounds of our good conducts. Righteousness is a state or identity and good deeds are fruits of who were are.
The lack of good conduct does not make the believer less righteous nor does the presence of good conduct make a believer more righteous. Righteousness is a nature and not an act. Out of this nature comes out good conduct. Righteousness is our root whiles good conduct is our fruit. A dog is not a dog because it barks, but because it is a dog, it will surely bark.
Lack of good deeds simply means the believer is ignorant of his identity or is not mature to be able to bear much fruit. Fruitfulness depends on how mature you are in the revelation of your identity. A baby who walks outside naked and cries when hungry is not less human than a mature adult who will not walk outside naked or cry when hungry.
Living righteous or putting up good conduct is simply the manifestation of self-awareness of your identity or who you are in Christ. A little girl may bath in public but when she grows and become aware of herself, she stops exposing herself in public. We were created righteous to do good works and not that we do good deeds to become righteous.
Good conduct is therefore expected of the believer. Live to exhibit practically how righteous you are in Christ. We are righteous and holy therefore we must manifest righteous and holy conduct. We must grow in the knowledge of our identity in Christ to exhibit the fruit of Christian maturity which is good conduct. The nature of righteousness I received from Christ produces good conduct in my life.
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (Romans 5:19). Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you…” This is because the man or woman who’s born again is born sin-free. On the other hand, the unregenerate man, the person who isn’t born again, is a sinner by nature, and enslaved to sin. He can’t but sin, even when he doesn’t want to, because he has the nature of sin.
However, this isn’t the case with you that are born again. Righteousness, which is the nature of God, was imparted to your spirit at the New Birth. You didn’t ask for it or do anything to become righteous; you’re righteous by nature. God made it so. Your righteousness is the righteousness of Christ, and has nothing to do with your “performance”; it’s a gift from God (Romans 5:17).
Just as there’s nothing you could have done on your own through your own human perfection to become righteous, in Christ, there’s also nothing you can do or not do that’ll take away your righteousness. You’re as righteous today as you could ever be. Better than that, you’re as righteous as Jesus is righteous, considering that He gave you His own righteousness. He substituted His righteousness for your sin-nature when you confessed His Lordship over your life.
You might be forced to ask, “How about when I do something wrong, does it affect my righteousness?” First, your righteousness wasn’t pre-conditioned on your good works. Ephesians 2:9 says, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Think about it this way: A baby doesn’t get more human as he grows. He’s hundred per cent human already. Then, he starts learning how to use all he’s got; his human faculties: his legs, his hands, his eyes, his brain, his mind, etc.
Now, during the process of training and educating that child, if he makes a mistake or does something wrong, that doesn’t mean he’s no longer human. He’s human by nature, not by actions. It’s the same thing with our righteousness. We’re righteous by nature; thus, it’s our “default setting” to produce fruits and works of righteousness. Therefore, learn to live the God-life. Glory to God.
I’m the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus; therefore, I can please God every time and in every way, because I live by the faith of the Son of God who gave Himself for me. I’m sin-free, because Christ has given me a new life. I’m alive to God, and live unto righteousness, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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