Lesson 11: The Fruit of the Spirit is Righteousness
(I changed the title purposefully from just Righteousness to His Righteousness…Read on to find out why I did that)
When I hear (or) read this word, my brain is stormed with both positive and negative feelings. On the negative side – I feel guilty, shameful, lost knowing that as a mere human being I am no where close to being righteous. On the positive side – I feel forgiven, honored and saved realizing that I have Jesus Christ as my savior. I would like you to hold on to these feelings (only if you feel the same), because this is what we are going to be talking about in this lesson.
Let’s do a little recap of your life. I would like you to go back to the time when you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. The very first feeling that probably hit you is the feeling of being free from sin and the excitement of living a new life without sin (or) in the context of this lesson…living a righteous (blameless & right with God) life. From my personal experience and you can relate to this too, that before we even completed celebrating our victory over sin, we would have fallen again. All that good feeling and the determination of leading a righteous life, yet again seems to be an impossible task to achieve.
It is this feeling of guilt (for sinning), shamefulness (for dishonoring God with our actions), lost (the fear of God rejecting us) brings us to our knees that, we cannot do this on our own. The best part is that, Jesus Christ doesn’t want us to do this on our own. He already paid the price by shedding His precious and righteous blood on the cross for us, so that we can be eligible to stand in the Holy presence of a sinless, pure and holy God – “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” 2 Corinthians 5:21
This is the melting point where your feelings change from being guilty to being forgiven (for God has promised to forgive your sins), shameful to being honored (for God has called you to be His sons & daughters), from feeling lost to being saved (for Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price). This my dear loved ones is ‘IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS’
So often, we get carried away by the thought that, our good deeds make us righteous. The word of God is very clear that our righteous acts cannot and will not make us righteous. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” Titus 3:5
Now, let’s not draw a conclusion here very soon that, we are not called to live a righteous life (or) can live a sinful life because Christ has already saved us.
Think about this, Jesus Christ gave His robe of righteousness for us by sacrificing his life and that is Christ’s way of showing His love for us (An action). Now as Christians we obviously are indebted and if at all anything are grateful for His gift of salvation, because of which we all love Him. Just words of ‘I love my Jesus’ cannot be comprehended as true love for God. The best part is that, Jesus Himself told us as to how we can show our love to Him and I quote Jesus Christ’s words – “If ye love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15
With that made clear, our love requires action. We are not the most perfect people to be able to do everything right off the back. But in order to carry our righteous acts, we need the true source and essence of Christ’s love and righteousness in us and Praise God, that He has promised to give it to us*.(* Refer Matthew 5:6) This my beloved brothers and sisters is ‘IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS’
Just remember…we are nothing but an empty vessel that needs:
- the Imputed Righteousness of Jesus Christ to be worthy of salvation and
- the Imparted Righteousness of Jesus Christ to be equipped to live and serve God & man.