As Righteous as Jesus
In order for Christ to unite himself with us. He had to replace us. He crucified our old self so that we could be a new self that is now holy and blameless. The holiness of God means he cannot unite himself to dirty sinners. Instead, he takes dirty sinners and turns them into clean saints. He does this by becoming our sin and giving us his righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).
This is what it means to be born again and saved. At salvation, we are transferred from darkness to light, from our sin to our Savior, from Adam to Christ. Scripture says we are born of him (1 Jn. 2:29). Being born of him means we are like him. We share his spiritual DNA. Jesus is not ashamed to call us brother (Heb. 2:11).
This is why we are told that right now we are just like Jesus (1 Jn. 4:17). Since we are born of him, we have his righteousness, holiness, and acceptance. We are as righteous as Jesus. We have been both created from his righteousness and given his righteousness. Consider the following verses:
“Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.” 1 Jn. 3:7
“And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Eph. 4:24
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21
This does not mean that you are automatically perfect in your behavior. But this does mean that no matter what your behavior looks like, you are righteous. That is the good news of the gospel. Our identity does not come from what we do. Our identity comes from what Jesus has done to us and for us.
This is counterintuitive to what we know on earth. On earth, we do in order to be. We work for our identity and for our position. In order for us to be successful, we have to climb the ladder and perform well in order to earn a position. But the gospel announces that the moment we call on Jesus—we are given the position. We are given the identity. He gives us an A+ and seats us right next to him (Eph. 2:6). It’s like showing up on the first day of work and the boss promotes you to CEO of the company—before you did a thing.
We live from God’s approval of us, not for it. We live from our position in Christ, not for it. This means we no longer have to perform in order for God to accept us and love us. Instead we live from the approval and love for God no matter our performance.
To read more, check out my bestselling book, "The Cross Worked."