“If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of him.”
It stands to reason that if the Lord our God is a righteous God, then His standard is righteousness. There is no room for sin or ungodly ways as we stand before a righteous God. The righteousness in His character precludes any sin, any sin at all. God’s standard is holiness, perfection, and a complete absence of sinfulness or unrighteousness. We all stand before Him already condemned because we are unrighteous beings and we practice our nature naturally and without thought. Something has to happen to us to enable us to stand before the Lord our God. We must shed the sinful nature and gain righteousness. We can do neither by ourselves but depend on the Lord to provide for us and cover all our sin and shame.
This He did in Christ. Jesus has borne the penalty for us and paid for our sin and by confession and repentance it is washed away. We also gain the merits of the righteousness of our Saviour and are actually made righteous people because of what he did in His life and death. Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness to be our worthy Saviour and so that His goodness could be recompensed to us. He died so that sin could be paid for and the guilt and shame could be washed away through His shed blood.
It is logical that those who live righteous lives are demonstrating that they love the Lord and belong to Him. If we have experienced this great change in our spiritual status, we will be completely different people and will want different things than we used to when we walked in sinfulness. We will want to be like our Lord because our hearts are now soft to Him and our souls alive to His salvation.
“For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”
The righteousness that is required of us is the righteousness of faith. As we put our trust and hope in the sacrifice Jesus made for us, we are counted as righteous. This is a transaction only God can make to convert a corrupt nature into one that He sees as righteous. Like Abraham we are regarded as righteous because of our faith. We can take no credit for any part of this transaction, for it is all by the mercy of God. The fact that we seek Him, our righteous God and seek to be righteous people, is a miracle of God in our mind and heart. The very faith we exercise is from Him and surely salvation is of the Lord. We will therefore practice righteousness and live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.