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What is righteousness? What does it mean to be righteous?

Quick Answer: Righteousness, in a Biblical context, is to be right with God at the core of your being. It means that on a scale of 1-10, you’re an 11! No human is righteous through their own efforts (Romans 3:19-20). But through Christ, we have been imputed and imparted the very righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:21; Romans 4:25; Romans 6:18).

Diving Deeper:
Righteousness means to be right with God. God wants people righteous to the core of their beings. Anything short of this is not God’s design. When we believe in Christ, we are given the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:21; Romans 4:25; Romans 6:18).

God has imputed and imparted His righteousness to us. Righteousness is imputed in the sense that it is credited to us (Romans 4:5). We are unconditionally justified before God no matter what (Romans 5:1). Yet, if we were only justified in a “bookkeeping” sense, there would be no empowerment for us to live godly lives.

This is why God also imparted His righteousness to us at salvation. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states that we became the righteousness of God – that is who we are by nature now.

Galatians 3:21 tells us that the Law could not impart life to us, but Christ did impart life to us, making us righteous. This means we have an “imparted life” type righteousness. This is precisely why Romans 4:25 says Jesus was “raised for our justification.” It is the resurrection of Christ (and our co-resurrection in Him) that makes us new and righteous. Lastly, Romans 6:18 says we have become “slaves of righteousness.”

All of these passages communicate that our righteousness is real, not merely imputed by God but also imparted (shared) with us. We have been given a new heart and a new nature (2 Peter 1:3-4; Ezekiel 36:26-27, Hebrews 8:8-12). We have become one with Christ, and we desire what He desires. In every sense of the word, we believers are now righteous in Jesus Christ!

Let’s Make It a Conversation!
1. React to this statement: You are as righteous as Jesus Christ.
2. Is being as righteous as Jesus an easy concept for you to accept? Why or why not?
3. Why is it important to have righteousness both imputed (credited) and imparted (given) to us?

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