This is an incredible revelation all the more.
So much so, that I have to write about it in this fashion.
I never understood how important, how worthwhile, how essential is the gift of righteousness, but now more than ever I sense its power within me.
Thank you, Jesus, for being my righteousness!
For the longest time, I believed that what I was thinking, what I was feeling, all of that would knock me off that place of rest, that place of peace, that stance of righteousness.
Despite all the times that I heard Pastor Prince explain to me "Don't fight or struggle against bad thoughts. Replace bad thoughts with good thoughts," I was still struggling with those bad thoughts. Lustful thoughts, bitter thoughts, angry thoughts, whatever thoughts that were coming to mind.
My head would get very stiff, tight, upset. I was trying to block or stop those thoughts. It's amazing how much these habits become ingrained in our bodies. It really takes time to be set free. Grace takes time, but it is so worth it!
I am now realizing that bad thoughts, bad ideas, disgusting fantasies, disturbing intimations cannot knock me off my rest in Christ Jesus, the righteousness that I have been made in Christ Jesus!
My righteousness cannot be unmade! No matter what is going on around me, no matter how I may feel, or the upsets, the concerns, the heartaches around me, I will shout as Habakkuk the prophet:
"Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation." (Habakkuk 3:18)
The wicked may surround me (Habakkuk 1:4), but the righteous by faith live! (Habakkuk 1:4)
The very word "Habakkuk" speaks of God's loving embrace! He embraces me, even in the midst of these hard, tough, harsh times, and whatever hard, tough, harsh thoughts I may be thinking or wrestling with.
The most negative, embarassing, hurtful events that have happened to me cannot take away my standing, my righteousness in Christ. This is incredible!
What's more, I used to fear allowing myself to be spared from the sense of shame and guilt following wrongdoing. Yet the Bible is very clear: "The goodness of God leads to repentance" (Romans 2:4). People have this crazy idea that telling people that they are righteous, apart from works, apart from their efforts, will lead them to go crazy with sin.
It's not grace that does that. It's the desire to be free from bondage, it's the need to break away from stultifying restriction on self. Once we receive and keep receiving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, we reign in His life (Romans 5:17). Sin does not have dominion over us anymore!(Romans 6:14)
Righteousness is a gift. It does not matter what follows or does not follow. Two + Two = Four even if some people cannot add properly, or they mistake the sum of two parts, or if they are deliberately trying to cheat. It's a divine, accomplished fact that through Christ Jesus, we are made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21)
I no longer have to fear what is going through my mind, or what may go through my mind from day to day. This life is no longer a life of trying to catch my bad thoughts before they happen. I do not have to wonder or hope that I do not have bad thoughts as I go through from day to day.
This is the everlasting righteousness that Daniel prophesied (Daniel 9:24)