Being right with God, means that we have no fears of being at the receiving end of God’s anger which is a reality that every person who falls on the side of disobedience and disregard for God and His laws must face; this is the quality of being righteous, that we are no longer on the side of receiving a judgment of wrath and damnation.
Only God can make men righteous. Many have tried to be righteous by what they feel is the standard that God subscribes to, but it is not really about how good you can be, or how ‘righteous’ you can be on your own, but really about what God does for you. The bible says:
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.”
- Isaiah 64:6 NIV
When men try to do it their way, they will always have a problem with God, because His way is not ours and His thoughts are not ours. So, they try to operate by the will of the flesh which can never please God, and so how do they expect righteousness attributed to them? [Romans 8:7; Galatians 5:17]
His idea of righteousness is that we wait on His own power to make us acceptable to Himself. His way is the way of faith; that we believe that He is the only one able to make us what He wants us to be. So it was with Abraham who believed God and became righteous before the Eternal God as a result of His obedience:
“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
- Genesis 15:6 NIV
This is really what God requires of us, that we believe. So, for every person that believes in the substitutionary sacrifice of His Son, and believes in faith of the acceptance by God through this sacrifice has therefore received righteousness:
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.”
- Romans 3:22 NIV
The righteousness of God comes by faith in Him and in His word:
“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from the first to the last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
- Romans 1:17 NIV
It all about the faith to receive and believe that we are now at peace with God.
The first step to receiving this righteousness is by believing in your heart, that Jesus is the Son of God, and the redemption through His blood is the only acceptable way to God, and also confessing the same with your mouth, that which you have believed. [Romans 5:11; 10:10]
The righteousness of God is taken by faith, and then the good works are transmitted through the Spirit that dwells in us and performed in our bodies as a manifestation. [Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:22-23]
It does not work the other way around; it is not when we try to do things to please God by our own power first, then we come running to Him showing off the good we have been able to accomplish. It is not that we go on a ‘self-rediscovery journey to righteousness’, and try to be perfect of our own might before we come to Him to put a stamp of approval on us. This is not God’s system of righteousness. His way has always been, ‘Come to me all you that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’, notice that He said, ‘He will give us rest.’
It is not by our might or power, but by His Spirit that is in us. [Zechariah 4:6; Ephesians 3:20]
All that He wants us to work in righteousness, He provides Himself. He is responsible for all that we need to please Him, to obey Him, and to love Him. [1 Thessalonians 5:23; Philippians 2:13; Jude 1:24]
So, your duty really, is to rest and have faith in His power to keep you righteous as you continue to walk with Him, for righteousness is of God and is received through faith in God.