THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
GRACE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, & HOLINESS
An innocent person is free from guilt, is sinless, is pure, is upright. Adam and Eve began in that ‘innocent’ state, and therefore had no shame, no real guilt, no false guilt. Their hearts and minds were free and happy. No sin had made them convicted, no past deeds of wrong would torment their minds.
Genesis 2:25 (KJV)
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Adam and Eve became aware of a sudden change, for their sin brought shame, guilt, inner pain. A new prescription from God became necessary.
Genesis 3:7-8 (KJV)
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
They realized that they needed help. They made ‘aprons’ to cover, hoping the shame and fear would leave. Their own prescription was worthless. God had to arrive, call them from their hiding place, and deal with their sickness of sin. The sin consciousness had replaced their God consciousness. Pain and sorrow replaced the peace and faith. Death of soul had come already, and death of body was beginning to claim their bodies. From that time until now, all of mankind has this adamic nature, and is prone to inner uncleanness.
Satan and his cohorts do not let man alone. He will bring false guilt, to make mankind feel guilty for sins already repented. He will soothe the sins that are un-repented, telling man that the wrongs of others justify those wrongs one did in response. The harm done to one by others, is magnified, twisted, and the wounds of such are re-opened continually. The pain one feels now, as one reaches adulthood, is a mass of inner pain and suffering.
The fruit of the Spirit, the ‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, kindness, faithfulness, and self control, are not natural in mankind. The inner guilt, shame, sin, and wounds of life, have made them to be absent in any great measure.
God has been teaching an illustrated lesson, beginning with Adam and Eve, that this inner dirtiness of sin, is only cleansed by ‘blood’.
Genesis 3:21 (KJV)
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Those ‘skins’ were ‘ram’s skins’, and a lamb had to die, blood had to be shed, for them to be clothed from their inner shame. This was a ‘temporary’ shedding of blood, for the real Lamb of God, capable of having His blood atone for all sins, would not come for a time. When Jesus did come, His blood was the atoning blood that is necessary to purge sin, shame, and guilt. The temporary prescription for mankind was the blood of a lamb, which was a type of the blood of Jesus, which would be the atoning agent for the soul and the body that had been destroyed by sin. We are capable of application of that prescription of God.
The grace of God has paid the price,
it is now unmerited favor
that brings us redemption from the curse of sin.
Righteous acts and deeds do not earn grace. Grace brings us into a place with God, where we are in right standing with Him, and then our works and deeds can be appreciated by God.
The word translated righteousness means "in right standing."
When a person accepts Jesus, the person is moved by grace, i.e. undeserved favor, into a place of right standing with God. We don't get righteous by our works, but by relationship with Jesus. He gives us righteousness in the process of reconciling us to God, and bringing us into a place of right standing with God.
II Corinthians 5:19
"...not imputing their trespasses unto them..."
When we become saved by grace (the only way), God no longer holds our former trespasses against us. Because we have no sins being held against us - we have a position of right standing, i.e. righteousness with God. With this new nature that we have been given there are many benefits. We need to realize that righteousness is a free gift of God. He chooses to make us righteous, and all we have to do is accept this gift.
"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Are you righteous? ? ? The answer should be "YES".
The blood of Jesus did not simply cover your sin over when you were saved. No! Rather, the blood of Jesus remitted your sin. It did away with your sin completely. You, as a saved person, are RIGHTEOUS.
Don't try a false humility by defrauding yourself of what is rightfully yours... Righteousness is a free gift of God to you. Too many have what we call a "sin consciousness." A sin consciousness produces defeat and a false sense of humility. Many Christians carry around a sense and burden of past sins that have been washed away.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."
"Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace are ye saved, and hath raised us up together, and made us to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
Instead of living a life that is constantly conscious of past sins and failures, a Christian should live a life of thankfulness to God for the position that He has given to us -- that is, the RIGHT STANDING with God that has been given to us - not for what we have done, but for what Jesus has done for us.
Learn to lean on your "right standing" position with God. Righteousness becomes your driving force, and you can meet the devil face to face and triumph. When we are doing battle with the Wicked One, we are told to take the "breastplate of righteousness." (Ephesians 6:10-18)
As you develop this RIGHTEOUSNESS CONSCIOUSNESS, your prayers will change. You will be able to pray without fear. You will be able to approach God easily. You will pray with confidence. You will find your prayers with God to be more intimate. You will pray brave prayers. This is all possible, because you will know that you are in right standing with God.
I Peter 3:12
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers."
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Realize this, those verses are talking about any person saved by the grace of God. We are RIGHTEOUS because we have been saved by the blood of Jesus. You were a sinner, now you are forgiven. You are God's workmanship. Forget the sins which are now behind you, and move into your new relationship with your Lord.
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in Me."
Paul, who spoke the above verse, had helped to stone Stephen. He had persecuted Christians. He had wronged, defrauded, etc. Yet, this same Paul was saved. He now had Jesus and all the righteousness of Jesus dwelling within him. Christ Jesus paid a high price for this righteousness. Don't underestimate this gift that you received at salvation.
Righteousness is a gift given by the grace of God, it is not earned by us. Grace changes our nature, and by grace we now want to serve God, want to live a holy life, repent when we fail, humbly bless God not credit ourselves for our right standing with Him.
"For as by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous."
Because of Adam's sin in the garden, many became sinners. So, it is not by our own "good works" that we are made righteous. It is because of the obedience of Jesus, that we have the chance to have the gift of righteousness.
Praise God that we don't have to earn righteousness, for you were saved by grace. Grace is given to us as a gift. We need to become aware of it, and enjoy its benefits. Many Christians have the gift of righteousness as an unwrapped present under the Christmas tree. As long as it remains unwrapped, and undiscovered... it is a gift that cannot be enjoyed.
I Corinthians 15:34
"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame."
"Awake" means to become alert to this "righteousness". The lack of being aware of this RIGHTEOUSNESS does become sinful to many Christians. It keeps them from victory. It leaves them unshielded from the "fiery darts" of the enemy. It allows the devil to make you feel defeated and worthless. It makes the devil a victor over you.
Allow this truth of righteousness to fill your being. Praise God for this gift of righteousness. To dwell on our past sins and failures will lead us into sins.
Grace is unearned.
Righteousness is a gift that follows the grace.
Holiness is what we now desire once saved by grace.