Did you know there are two kinds of Righteousness? There is the Gift of Righteousness that I have spoken of continually throughout many studies on this blog site. There is, however, another kind of righteousness and I want to define it and detail it so you can be sure what kind of righteousness you're walking in.
The Gift of Righteousness is what the prophets of old and even the Patriarchs and saints of the Old Testament longed for. Receiving the Gift of God's Righteousness sets one apart and brings favor and blessing in all areas of life. How do we define this Righteousness?
Righteousness is that Gift that gives the believer permanent right standing before God. It's that gift whereby one has everlasting acceptance and approval with God. It's that gift where we are always welcomed in God's presence. It's that gift where we can stand before our Father without any sense of guilt, shame, condemnation, insecurity, or inferiority. It's that gift that causes one's sins never again to be imputed to their account.
This is such good news. Knowing we are accepted and approved and walk without condemnation because of Christ causes us to rejoice in the Father's Love and kindness. We don't shrink back from God, and when we sin we run to our Father not away from Him. Because of our permanent acceptance and favor, we can sing of our Father's Love forever!
That is the Gift of Righteousness, now what is the other kind of righteousness? The other kind of righteousness is self-righteousness. The righteousness of self and personal sacrifice.
Self-righteousness is that righteousness inspired by human zeal and effort. It's actively pursued to receive the accolades and applause of men. Its boast is in its work, its doing, its discipline, and sacrifices made.
How can one tell then whether they are in self-righteousness or walking in the Gift of Righteousness? Glad you asked. To find the answer a simple examination of your words, and what your boasting in is all that's needed.
When one speaks of all their personal disciplines and personal achievements as a result, without honoring God's ability in them and His hand moving on their behalf, be aware that is self-righteousness talking. It's Grace and His goodness that enabled any believer to walk in victory in any area.
When one continually looks to their own sacrifices and all they have given and done for God to ascertain their worth and value in the kingdom, know that is self-righteousness motivating them. It is self-righteousness driving them to keep performing. To keep trying to earn what is only freely given.
How can we contrast the Gift of Righteousness and self-righteousness? Here is the most simplistic way possible:
Relinquish all self-righteousness. All the achievements any personal performance, or spiritual disciplines, or principles of Faith acted on have attained are all rooted in His Finished Work of redemption first and foremost. It was His procuring our salvation, and giving us His life and nature within that caused the desire for any principle or discipline to be acted on. Where is boasting then?
In summation, walk in God's Gift of Righteousness, and remain thankful and humble because it was all of Christ and none of us that brought success in any area of our walk with God. Never boast of your work, your doing, or your success in walking out principles of Faith, Healing, and Holy Spirit power. Boast in Christ's once for all sacrifice and His great Love for you and nothing else and walk in peace.