"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)
Righteousness is a gift. We receive it as such. A gift has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with the giver.
The bigger question emerges: Are you willing to receive it, or are you insisting on achieving it in some fashion?
Ever since Pastor Prince expounded on Romans 5:17, I was invested in receiving and receiving this gift.
Yet I had no idea that in my own mind, to an extent, I was still trying to earn it. If there were bad circumstances, if there were mean people who shamed or harmed me, if there were bad feelings, or environmental upsets, I would still question my righteousness.
In this was a problem for me because I was still attaching myself and my circumstances to my status of righteousness.
This is a bad habit which God wants to break us free of.
I had to get to the point where I was found guilty without cause in a courtroom, and I was forced into sentencing, then faced unjust outcomes. In the midst of all these circumstances, I learned to understand that no matter what's happening around me I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ. It has absolutely nothing to do with me myself my circumstances my status my sentiments absolutely nothing.
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 1:7).
Faith in what, though? Our righteous standing in Christ!
This faced some trials, but by the grace of God I have come out stronger, and more entrenched in the truth of who I am in Christ Jesus!
"In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54:14)
None of the weapons of the past have prospered against me.
It's all about understanding the gift of righteousness, and to realize that whether I have done something wrong, or even if I have done something right, my righteous standing in Christ before God has nothing to do with me.