“Awake to Righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame”—1Corinthians 15:34
The above scripture calls us to awaken to righteousness. That is, we should be righteousness conscious. As it is the ultimate cure to sin.
This clarion call is so crucial, as many today in the Church of Christ are sin conscious. And that is the major reason many of them are still struggling fruitlessly with sin. Many Christian still believe and confess that they are sinners like every other person. They say everybody is a sinner, including themselves. And somehow, they believe they are being honest…
When you ask them, are you righteous? They quickly answer, no—nobody is righteous, even the bible says so. And this is because of their lack of proper understanding of God’s righteousness.
They believe the scripture that says, “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10) and the scripture that says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God “(Romans 3:23) still applies to them as believers in Christ Jesus.
Then on the other hand, many are struggling to attain to righteousness by their own self works. Hoping that as they keep on struggling to live right, someday, if God keeps them alive long enough, they may attain unto righteousness.
This group of people are ignorant of the scripture that tells us that we are not justified by our own self works. And that our righteousness is as a filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6).
They are ignorant of the scripture that says, ‘by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight’—Romans 3:20. And these delusion of many a believer about God’s righteousness, is the major reason, amongst others, for the multiplication of sin in the Church.
Because no one can actually gain dominion over sin or sinful habits with these kind of sin and self-work (the works of the Law) consciousness. Hence, we will be exploring the true meaning of righteousness that the word of God calls us to awaken to in this dispensation of God’s grace…
How Do We Attain to Righteousness?
Righteousness is a gift of Grace that is freely received by faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:17). We don’t get righteous on our own qualifications but by the merits of Jesus. By the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ on earth and by the price of his death and shared blood on the cross of Calvary, every believer in Christ Jesus, is made absolutely righteous by God.
Here is what the word of God says concerning this in 2Corinthians 5:21 “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”
Thus, any and everybody can easily obtain righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus. No matter how evil the person has been; even if he had murdered a million persons in the past. Even if he had fornicated for years; even if he cursed God in ignorance or said there is no God…
Immediately he believes in Jesus and confess him as his Lord and saviour, he becomes as righteous as Jesus—Romans 10:10.
So if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and saviour, you are born again; and you are absolutely righteous. Now that you know you are righteous—that you are a saint—God’s clarion call in our opening scripture, is that you should awake to righteousness…
That is, you should awaken to the consciousness of whom he has made you –a saint. Let this consciousness saturate and change your mind-set. Let it change the picture you have about yourself. Let this consciousness inform your action. Let it inform your choice of words, dressing, places and events to attend.
Being made the righteousness of God is similar to a great king picking out a condemned criminal from prison, cleaning him up and adopting him as his son. Then to be righteousness conscious or awakening to righteousness, is likened to the adopted son, comporting himself in tandem to his newly conferred, gracious, royal status.
He is to jettison his past personality and identity and put on his present personality and status as a prince. Along this line, the word of God tells us in Romans 6:11:
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
Now that we are in Christ Jesus, we are to reckon or consider ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord in righteousness. Then another scripture buttresses this very fact thus:
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” Ephesians 4:22-23
The word ‘conversation’ in the above scripture refers to behaviour. The Lord is saying, now that you in him, you should jettison your former, corrupt behaviours which are pertinent to unbelievers…
And that after putting off these corrupt behaviours, we should be renewed in the spirit of our mind (our hearts). In order words, we should change our consciousness and mind-set from corruption to righteousness.
The remaining part of the chapter spells out specifically how this change should go thus:
“Wherefore putting off lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”—Ephesians 4:25-32
The above scriptures depict righteousness consciousness in pin-point detail. So there you have it. Awake to righteousness and sin not. Don’t see yourself anymore as a sinner. Never confess again that you are a sinner. That is who you used to be. But now you are righteous. You’re the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. That is what the word of God says you are. And that is what you should confess.
Yes, it is true that if we say that we have not sinned, we make him (God) a liar (1John 1:10). At the same time, it is also very true that after we have come into Christ we still say we are sinners, we are also calling God a liar.
So from now on, begin to confess to yourself and whoever cares to hear, that you are righteous—the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. And as you do continually, it will soon practically become evident in your life in Jesus Name!