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::Devotional:: ‘The Righteousness I Work For’

November 10, 2010

If you are a Christian, you have been forgiven by God through Jesus’ death on the cross for all of your sin – past, present, and future. If that’s the case, why do you need to confess your sins to God on a daily basis like it is laid out in 1 John 1:9?  Have you ever wondered about that question?  Well, the answer has to do with righteousness.

This past Sunday the question was asked, “How would you define righteousness?”  Righteousness is to be right with God and to do right according to God.  It is composed of two types of righteousness.  On Monday, we took a look at the first type of righteousness – Imputed Righteousness.  That is the righteousness I’ve been given by Jesus Christ.  It is the “…to be right with God” portion of the definition of righteousness.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  Romans 3:22

The important thing to remember about imputed righteousness is that it is Jesus’ righteousness, credited to you, before a holy God.  It has been given to you because of the grace, mercy and love of Jesus Christ – not because you deserve it.  Remember imputed is spelled with a “U” and it has been given to “you.”  So what’s the other part of righteousness all about?

The second part of righteousness is Imparted Righteousness.  This is the righteousness we take part in on a daily basis.  In fact, that is an easy way to remember imparted righteousness – imparted contains the word “part” in its spelling and it is the righteousness you “take part” in daily.  It is the “…and do right according to God” portion of the definition of righteousness mentioned above.

Imparted righteousness requires our cooperation with the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.  When Paul talks about grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 4 it has to do with imparted righteousness.  When John wrote “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness” in 1 John 1:9 it has to do with imparted righteousness.  This type of righteousness varies from believer to believer and can even vary drastically from one point to another in your own life.  The more you mature or grow in Christ the more imparted righteousness your life should display.  This is the type of righteousness that Jesus is working to display in your life.  If you are aware of the process of sanctification, being set apart for a holy purpose, this is the righteousness that is involved.

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

I like the way one translation puts this cooperation in John 3:30 when it says “More or Less of Christ displayed in our lives is dependent upon a decrease or increase in ourselves”. That is imparted righteousness.

The thing to keep in mind is that imparted righteousness takes effort on our part – an effort to cooperate with what God is trying to do within us.  Imparted righteousness is strengthened or weakened depending on you spiritual habits like Bible study, prayer, worship, fellowship with other believers, and so on.  It is not something that happens overnight, but rather is a gradual and lifelong process.  A believer growing in Christ should display more imparted righteousness in their life 5 years from now than they do today.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

So remember, righteousness means to be right with God (imputed righteousness) and to do right according to God (imparted righteousness).

Lord help us to be thankful for the righteousness which you have imputed to us through Jesus death on the cross and our salvation.  Help us to cooperate with the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit within us, to die to ourselves, to live in obedience to your word, so that you may display your glory in our lives through this imparted righteousness.  Amen.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. susan hubbard permalink
    November 10, 2010 10:29 am

    thank you, tony. thankful to be enlightened on this today.

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