Do you consider yourself to be righteous?
If you are a humble person, you might not want to agree with that description. But the Bible does make a distinct difference between the righteous and the wicked with no category in between. During our study, we will look at what the Bible says about these two categories. And as we do, we will see that it is not what we think about ourselves but what God thinks that matters.
The Righteous and the Wicked
We believe that there is a clear difference between the righteous and the wicked (Gen. 18:23; Mal. 3:16-18; 1 John 5:19). God considers those who are in Christ to be righteous (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and those who continue in sin and unbelief to be wicked (Col. 1:21; John 8:23-24). This distinction becomes permanent after death when the righteous will receive eternal life while the wicked will receive eternal torment (Matt. 7:13-14; 25:34-46). Until then, the wicked can find God’s mercy by turning from their sin and trusting in Jesus (Isa. 55:7; Matt. 9:13; John 3:16).
The key to our righteousness is found in the words “in Christ.” If you look at 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, you will see several times that those words are used. Verse 17 – We have become a new creation in Him. Verse 19 – We have been reconciled to God in Him. Verse 21 – We have become righteous in Him. All of those things are because of Him.
With that in mind, the truth is evident that we are not righteous in ourselves but because of Him. In other words, God views us as righteous because we are trusting in Him. To God, I am righteous, not because I stop sinning or am perfect but because of Jesus. His righteousness covers my sinfulness and God now looks at me as if I am perfectly sinless.
Am I righteous? In God’s eyes I am because I am in Christ.