Are you righteous in Christ no matter how much you sin? Some would stand firm by the assertion that no matter how much sin permeates your life after conversion, that once you receive righteousness, you are always and forever righteous. Of course, they have reason to believe that way based on some very important verses. Here are some of them:
Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus (Romans 3:24, 25 Amplified Bible).
For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)(Romans 5:17 Amplified Bible).
For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness] (2 Corinthians 5:21 Amplified Bible).
When we come to Jesus, make Him our Lord, and are born again, we are made pure and righteousness from all our past sins. We begin the Christian life with a clean slate! The Lord “passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.” Glory to God! Clean, sanctified, and made righteous in the blood! That is the truth about being born again!
Here is a question for you. Though that is the absolute truth, does that mean that you can practice sin like the world as a Christian and continue to be righteous before God? If it’s true that regardless of your sins you continue in righteousness, then what do you do with the following verses?
Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous. The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning(1 John 3:7, 8 NET).
If you know that He is righteous, you also know that everyone who practices righteousness has been fathered by Him (1 John 2:29 NET).
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness(1 John 1:9 NET).
If once you are righteous you can never step out of that righteousness through sin, then why must you confess your sins if you commit them? Why must the one who commits sin be cleansed from unrighteousness if once righteous always righteous?
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 NET).
If a Christian practices unrighteousness and does not repent and confess their sins, will he or she inherit the kingdom of God? Did you know Paul refers to things that will disqualify a person from their inheritance in the kingdom of God?
That is the other side of the righteousness theme in the Bible. Did you note that I haven’t quoted one verse from the Old Testament yet? This is NEW Testament, but it is also found throughout the Old Testament.
Can your spirit be contaminated by sin AFTER you become a follower of Jesus? Some believe that if you sin it is only the “flesh” and that it does not pollute the spirit. If that were true, then why did Paul say the following to the Corinthian church and include Himself in the equation?
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that could defile the body and the spirit, and thus accomplish holiness out of reverence for God(2 Corinthians 7:1 NET).
These are truths generally denied or overlooked by many in evangelical Christianity.
Here is the truth. When you come to Jesus, you were made righteous by His blood. After you are a believer, if you sin and do not repent and confess your sins to God, then your righteous standing with God is interrupted UNTIL you act on 1 John 1:9. Doing First John 1:9 is how you are cleansed from all the unrighteousness you did and then your righteousness is restored.
I know this is a one-two punch against many erroneous and traditional ideas. I am happy to do it because these have been entrenched in our thinking for far too long. It has robbed many Christians from pursuing righteousness in all they do. That is another good point. Why pursue righteousness if you are already righteous forever with no possibility of messing it up through sin? Why did Paul tell Christians to pursue (run hard after) righteousness if righteousness can never be forfeited? See 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22.
This podcast will begin to set the record straight in these areas.
From the Back Cover:
A Call to Return—Restoring the Roots of Our Relationship with Jesus explores the depths of the Scriptures to excavate, refine, and lift up its words of power, revealing deep truths that will radically change the lives of believers. By tapping into this rich vein of biblical insight, Dan Alan Rodriguez offers Christians the insights to enable them to set out upon paths of discipleship that follow Jesus closely and that lead to profound experiences of His presence and power.
Drawing upon the author’s study of first-century Judaism and Christianity and resting upon a diverse array of sources steeped in the foundational texts of these traditions, the twelve chapters of A Call to Return address a series of interlocking topics: a prophetic call to return; the revival of lawlessness; the revival, purpose, and preexistence of God’s commandments; the church’s commandments and their connections to faith, grace, and good works; the association of works of the law to Jewish tradition and ceremony; holiness; the fear of the Lord; each believer as a temple of the holy; and the meaning of loving the Lord Jesus.
If you have a sense that Jesus’s message and ministry are calling you to embark upon a walk with Him that might take you away from all in Christianity that requires no accountability or responsibility before God, then A Call to Return—Restoring the Roots of Our Relationship with Jesus is the right book for you to read. It will give you the keys for understanding and responding to the Lord’s call to return to Him and to follow where He leads.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 2:29 NASB).