Righteousness is something that I haven’t often FELT. My past, my hang ups, my sin struggles in this life all contribute to the self-perception that I will never be “right enough” no matter how hard I try and to a degree… it’s true. “I” cannot make myself righteous. But there is One who can.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
Are you like me? Do you look at all your sins, faults, and failures and begin to drown under the pull of condemnation? Condemnation has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember- if I didn’t perform just perfectly for everyone around me, I was sentenced and discarded as worthless, unlovable, and as a hopeless case. Later in life, this turned into an immense amount of pressure to be everything for everyone in every possible capacity. And I failed. A lot. And every time I “failed”, or thought I had failed someone or in some kind of circumstance, I heaped more condemnation on myself and my self-perception only continued to get worse. This vicious cycle continued well into my years as a born-again believer. The enemy made sure that there was always someone in my life to remind me of just how awful I was and how I could never be truly accepted into the kingdom. Let me tell you- it is downright EXHAUSTING to live this way!
Accepting that I was made righteous in Christ has probably been one of my greatest struggles as a believer…
The word for righteousness in the above verse is:
Dikaiosunē (G1343 Strong’s)
It’s means equity of character of a (righteous) act, but specifically, it means Christian justification.
According to research on this theology blog, The Rebel God,
“Dikaiosunē is the same word the LXX uses to translate the Hebrew צדקה(t’sedeka) in the Old Testament which likewise can be translated either as righteousness or justice. Because the LXX was the official translation the New Testament authors used to quote from the Old Testament, it follows that Paul was thinking of t’sedeka justice in Romans when he used the word dikaiosunē . There are many words for justice in Hebrew, and among them t’sedeka justice refers specifically to setting things right. T’sedeka justice/righteousness is associated with acts of charity, and today Jewish charities are often named t’sedeka which has become synonemous with charity.” (for the whole post by Derek Flood, click here)
He further explains that this word, in essence, means “to be lovingly set right” by God. This concept is mind-blowing to me. My default way of thinking has always been, “You’ve blown it, there’s no turning this thing around now, you’ll NEVER measure up, be good enough, be able to make this right ever again.” Yet, according to this scripture, that just isn’t so! God promises to lovingly set me right with Him again and again.
“Lovingly” is the key word here for me. No one ever lovingly set me right before. I’ve gotten judged, scream at, hit, sentenced, criticized, punished and a whole lot worse… but my heavenly Father, lovingly, gently, patiently gifts dikaiosunē to me. He doesn’t give up on me– or you, either!
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9
Without going into a long word study, the word forgive in this context means “I send away, release, remit, forgive, permit”… scripture tells us that it is HE who does this. He sends our sins away. “To cleanse” in this context means: “I cleanse, make clean, literally, ceremonially, or spiritually.” Again, GOD is the one who does it. We confess, He forgives and cleanses. Anyone who tells you any differently is just plain wrong.
The word for unrighteousness in 1 John 1:9 is: adikia. It’s meaning covers injustice, unrighteousness and hurt. God promises to forgive and heal it ALL dear sister. There isn’t a sin or hurt that is beyond His forgiveness or cleansing. And He doesn’t condemn or judge you for it, He lovingly sets you right before Him, gifting you with righteousness! You really can be righteous, and by His power, you can STAY that way!
Father, thank You for gifting me righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for being faithful to forgive me and cleanse as I have need, for lovingly setting me right. I know this is not something I can do in and of myself, so I lay the whole of my dependence upon You, Your Word, Your Love, Your Faithfulness to for give my sins, to set right my injustices, and to heal every hurt. I praise You Father for Dikaiosunē in Christ Jesus. Thank You Father, In Jesus name, amen.
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Romans 5:17
Words to pay attention to: trespass, abundant, provision, grace, gift, righteousness, reign, life
I’ll see you next week with another Reflections Truth!