A Sonship Right
The dictionary says that Righteousness 'is meeting the standards of what is right and just, being guiltless'. This is all true according to the Word of God. To be righteous means that you are free from sin, just as God is free from sin. It does not mean that we will never sin in the flesh, but that spiritually we are free from sin. The gift of holy spirit received when we are born again is what makes us righteous, not our works, or how 'good' we are. The book of Romans tells us a lot about righteousness.
Romans 3: 21 - 24 -- But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
These verses tell us that righteousness does not come by the law (or our works), but by believing on Jesus Christ. It is admitted that we all sin, and certainly 'come short of the glory of God'. We also see how righteousness is related to the other sonship rights, justification and redemption. Justification is the legal side of righteousness. It was by a judicial act of God that we were declared justified, and our record wiped clean. We were acquitted. Redemption means that Christ paid the price for our freedom.
Romans 8: 10 -- And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Because of the sinful nature of our human body, it is mortal and must eventually die unless Jesus Christ returns first. But our spirit is life because it is free from sin.
Romans 10: 9, 10 -- That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
These verses describe what happens when a person is born again. He 'believes' and becomes righteous.
Romans 5: 19 -- For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Adam's disobedience made us all sinners. Christ, and the price he paid with his life, made all those that believe to be righteous.
II Corinthians 5: 21 -- For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
This verse in Corinthians supports Romans. Christ did not sin (the only human who never did), but he bore our sins on the cross so that we could become righteous - free from sin. See the next verse in Peter.
I Peter 2: 24 -- Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
God makes it very clear to us that we should not attempt to 'make' ourselves righteous because only He can do that.
Galatians 2: 21 -- I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead [died] in vain.
Following the Old Testament law, or other fleshly works, does not make us righteous. We can certainly do 'good deeds', which is expected, but they do not make us righteous. Study the following scriptures:
Romans 4: 3 – For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Romans 4: 4 – Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Romans 4: 5 – But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Romans 10: 3 – For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Romans 10: 4 – For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Romans 10: 5 – For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
Romans 10: 6 -- But the righteousness which is of faith [believing] speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above: )
So what does this mean? Does it mean that we should go ahead and sin? It looks like we can get away with it as long as we are born again. But, that is not God's will.
Romans 6: 13 -- Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
I Corinthians 15: 34 -- Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
Ephesians 4: 24 -- And that ye put on the new man, which after God is [was] created in righteousness and true holiness.
Renew your mind and don't sin. How do we renew our minds, and put off the sinful nature of mankind?
II Timothy 3: 16 -- All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [which is] instruction in righteousness.
The scripture, the Word of God, will help us, if we read, understand it, and most importantly, APPLY IT. The Word is profitable (we'll get something out of it) for doctrine, reproof and correction, which is instruction in righteousness -- how to be free from sin.
Let’s now list some of the benefits of righteousness available to the born again believer who is renewing his or her mind.
II Corinthians 6: 7 -- By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
Ephesians 6: 14 -- Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
What is armor, or the breastplate for? It is for protection. This sonship right, as long as we recognize it, and know we have it, and act like it, is spiritual protection. It can help to prevent us from getting hurt.
Another benefit refers to the 'fruits' of righteousness:
Philippians 1: 11 -- Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Hebrews 12: 11 -- Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
If we are reproved or corrected (see II Timothy 3: 16 above), it may at first be grievous, but afterwards we experience the peaceable fruit of righteousness. We can experience peace, calmness and tranquility.
In conclusion, the Word of God, in James, speaks clearly and powerfully concerning the great benefit of peace as a result of your Sonship Right of RIGHTEOUSNESS.
James 3: 18 -- And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Righteousness is the harvest that is sown in peace. We are free from sin because God made us that way, and we should be thankful and renew our minds to act like God's children. Our righteousness is our armor against the adversary, as long as we remember to put it on. But remember, we are not 'self-righteous'. Our works, good deeds, or acts did not make us righteous. It was the act of Jesus Christ, and his offering, that made this sonship right available to those that believe.