What does it mean to be established in righteousness?
It means that righteousness, our righteous standing, is a fixed truth, something that is part of who we are.
Righteousness defines who we are, and it is not something that can be taken away by any circumstance or feeling. This status of being righteous, being righteousness, before God the Father in Christ Jesus.
One preacher shared:
"Jesus did not just take our sin. He became sin."
Why is that distinction so important? If someone takes something from you, they can give it back to you at some other time. If someone becomes something that belongs to you, that object, that "thing" if you will can never be returned to you.
How about that?
Consider what Paul the Apostle wrote to the Corinthians in his Second Epistle:
"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." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus became sin, and He bore our sins in His body (1 Peter 2:24).
We became the righteousness of God in Him!
We become, we are made a new creature in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
For a long time, I meditated on righteousness as something that is outside of me, i.e. something that I receive and keep receiving, certainly, but something that as a status comes from outside to within me. (Romans 5:17).
However, Isaiah prophesies "In righteousness you shall be established."
If the only way that righteousness enters us is through receiving and receiving again, then we are not established in it.
But we are established in His righteousness today, because Jesus accomplished the Great Exchange at the Cross.
This righteousness, and all the blessings attached to it, having nothing to do with our circumstances or other outcomes around us.
Our standing before God in Christ Jesus has nothing to do with us at all!
Righteousness is a gift:
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)
It's a gift, and we need to be conscious of this incredible gift, that we keep on receiving it, even when we fail, when we fall, when we flip out or fess up to wrongdoing of any kind.
This Gift of Righteousness defines who we are in Christ Jesus!
"[H]e that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous." (1 John 3:7)
To do righteousness, within the context of this passage, is to seek the Blood of Jesus to establish us from all sin and in His righteousness, i.e. to believe on Him!
Then what follows:
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)
Christ Jesus is made our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
For a long time, however, I was not fully established in this. I was still worried that I would be punished for my sins in some fashion--In that regard, I was not established in His righteousness.
There were tough times, when it seemed that nothing was going right, and I would yell at God, wondering why He wasn't doing anything -- at least, so it seemed. I was not established in righteousness then because I was still evaluating my position based on my circumstances.
"How could I be in this difficulty now? I thought I was passed this!"
When I realized that all of my sins have been forgiven, put away, and that no matter what is happening at that moment, I am still righteous before God, everything in my life just changed without any trouble.
This status of being the righteousness of God in Christ had been in place with me ever since I believed in Jesus and made him Lord and Savior of my life, because He became my life. Gosh, there is so much about our inheritance through Christ Jesus that we have to learn.
There is so much that I had to unlearn, too.
I was the righteousness of God in Christ when I was working at the grocery store. I was the rightoeusness of God in Christ when I was a teacher in different classrooms all over Los Angeles County.
I was the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus when I was 13 years old and claimed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Even then, as a young boy almost out of Seventh Grade.
I was the rightoeusness of God in Christ Jesus when my mother left me at the Torrance airport.
I was the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, with perfect standing and honor before my Daddy God when I was arrested in Huntington Park, California ... for no good reason.
I was the righteousness of God in Christ when I failed student teaching the first time.
I have not only been the righteousness of God in Christ, but I have been a long-standing heir of so many promises in Christ Jesus, because ...
"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:17)
And the sufferings?
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)
They are a mere nothing.
No matter what the sufferings may be, I am the righteousness of God in Christ.
And THAT is what it means to be established in righteousness! (Isaiah 54:14)