LESSON 4 – I am Righteous in God’s sight
I’m so full of beans I could fill a burrito! I try to be righteous. I fail. I try again. I fail again. I should hold a sign over my head with Paul’s words in bold letters:
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing (Romans 7:19).
Luke tells us about Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah.
Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly (Luke 1:6).
Elizabeth was righteous in the sight of God. No doubt she sinned as all humans do. But she loved God and sought to be obedient to Him. God knows we sin, but because we have forgiveness through Jesus, God chooses to see us as righteous when we are trying to obey Him and follow His commandments—just as Elizabeth and Zechariah did.
Scripture repeatedly tells us that we are holy (Hebrews 10:10; 10:14, 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Corinthians 3:18). The word holy is defined as “being set apart for God; devoted to God, sacred. In other words, Scripture tells us that when we accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, He sets us apart, claims us as His own, declares us to be sacred; righteous.
But there’s a difference between being made holy by Jesus and being credited as righteous. The latter is about living a righteous life—on purpose. That’s what Elizabeth did. And that’s what Jesus wants from us.
God knows I’m not perfect even though He—a perfect God—made me. He knows I sin but because I have accepted Jesus’ salvation, Jesus has declared me holy and righteous. I’m not holy on my own. Jesus declared me holy anyway. God thus sees me as righteous. But our part of righteousness is shown through our actions. Just as Elizabeth lived a life of righteousness through her actions, as we give our lives to Christ, we too will be credited with righteousness by what we do and how we live for Him.
We are not perfect, but acceptance of Jesus enables us to allow Him to begin the work of making us perfect—present tense ongoing—until the day of Christ.
. . . he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
Scripture tells us that Elizabeth was “very old.” Thus, God had no doubt been at work in Elizabeth’s life for a long time, working in her to perfect her and make her the woman He intended. When I think of Elizabeth, I picture a kindly, loving senior. Likely she did good deeds, helped others, gave of her time and material things to those in need. But when she bowed her head in prayer, I imagine she did so in humble, grateful submission, knowing that God saw her sin but chose to look at her through the lens of His righteousness.
I also imagine Elizabeth reading Luke 6 today, slightly embarrassed that her life was recorded as “righteous,” but thanking God for seeing her that way. Certainly we all desire to be seen as righteous. Certainly we all know that we’re not, which makes us eternally grateful that God has chosen to look at us through the righteous eyes of Jesus.
If Elizabeth were here she would say this was her story. She was righteous in the sight of God.
When we realize that God chooses to see His children as righteous, we understand how He might see His women of faith. We can respond:
I am like Elizabeth.
For Thought and Discussion
- How can we reconcile the difference between the reality of our sinful nature and the reality that God chooses to see us as righteous because of Jesus?
- In what specific ways do you feel righteous?
- In what specific ways do you feel unrighteous? Or self-righteous?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you so much for choosing to see us as righteous. Thank you that you have chosen to see us as the perfected beings we will be one day when we see you face to face. Please keep working in our hearts until then. Amen.