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The topic of this video is imputed righteousness, what it is, how we get it, why we so desperately need it in order to be saved and why having imputed righteousness means that we, who believe in Christ for our salvation, can never lose our salvation or be condemned. It gives us an everlasting legal standing of perfect righteousness before God, a position of righteousness before Him, established forever by the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is going to get deep. Let’s look into it. 

In the Christian faith, imputed righteousness can also be referred to as “The Divine Exchange.” Simply put, it means that when we believe in Christ for our salvation, believing that He is God’s Son Who suffered on the cross the pay for our sins, shedding His precious blood to pay for our transgressions, that He died and was buried and then rose on the third day – when we believe in this, two things happen:

  1. Our sins (past, present and future) are removed from our record and placed on Christ, literally nailed to the cross, and
  2. God’s perfect righteousness is placed on us.

From that moment on, we are positionally perfectly righteous before God. From that moment on believers can never lose their salvation. That doesn’t give us license to sin. There are still consequences to sin, and we’ll look at those consequences in this video, but loss of salvation is no longer a consequence of sin for a believer in Christ because, through Christ and by God’s grace, He has taken away our sin and given us His perfect righteousness.  

If all that sounds strange to you, stay tuned. We’re going to show how this works and prove it Biblically. We’re also going to compare this imputed position of righteousness to the daily practice of righteousness, how we live righteously before God day-by-day, and show our position of righteousness and our practice of righteousness are different. 

But let’s start with some definitions:

First, let’s define the word “righteousness.” To be “righteous” in the Bible simply means to be in right-standing with God, acceptable to God. Before I go any further, let me ask you: Are you 100% certain that you are righteous before God at this very moment, that you would be acceptable to God and would be declared righteous before Him if He were to show up right now? If you are not sure, you can be. By the end of this video, I’ll show you how to be forever righteous before God so that you never have to worry about your standing before Him or whether He will accept you. So please stay tuned.

When it comes to righteousness, I’m going to talk about two types in this video:

The first type is Positional Righteousness: This refers to our legal standing before God, our identity in terms of who God sees us to be when He looks at us. God’s throne works like a court room. There is a legal charge against each of us called sin. And the outcome of what will happen to each of us because of that charge has to be handled legally before His throne. We’ll get into that but, for now, just think of positional righteousness as our legal standing before God, our identity before Him.

The second type is the Practice of Righteousness: This refers to our daily practice of righteous living. Are we living a holy life and walking in righteousness before Him day-by-day? 

We’re going to look at how positional righteousness starts the moment we place our faith in Christ for salvation and then how the practice of righteousness should follow after that.

The next word to define is the word, “impute.” In the New Testament, the English word “impute” is translated from the Greek word, “logizomai,” which means “to pass to one’s account.” Similarly, in the Old Testament, the English word “impute” is translated from the Hebrew words, “śûm” or “ḥāšaḇ,” which mean “to put or lay upon, to account.”

When it comes to imputed righteousness, this simply refers to God placing righteousness on someone’s account. This righteousness is not earned. It is simply placed on that person’s account, much like I could impute money to you by placing money into your bank account, money you didn’t earn. I just placed it there. I imputed it to you. I passed it to your account. So imputed righteousness refers to God passing righteousness (or a right standing before Him) to our account, righteousness we did not earn. And we’ll see as we go through some Scripture verses that the righteousness that He passes to our account is His own perfect righteousness.

When we think about this, it immediately raises the question: Why would God need to impute righteousness to our account, let alone His perfect righteousness?

To answer that, we have to understand our legal problem before God. Remember, God’s throne works like a court room. Our problem is that we come as imperfect sinners before His throne, before God’s perfect righteousness.

 That’s a big, big, I mean REALLY BIG problem because God’s standard is perfection. Jesus spoke of this perfect standard that we have to meet in the Sermon on the Mount, when He said,

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 KJV)

God is perfect in all His ways and when He comes to judge us, His standard is not that we’re good compared to other people. His standard is His own perfect righteousness. His standard when He judges us is His own perfection. 

As frail human beings, that’s an impossible standard that none of us can meet. No amount of good works that we do can equal God’s perfect standard. For God’s Word says,

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23 KJV)

All of us, every one of us, even the best of us has sinned. And to show you just how impossible God’s standard is for us, His Word goes on to say,

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10 KJV)

In other words, it just takes one sin on our record to fail the test before God. That’s because His standard is perfection. We like to compare ourselves with others, thinking we’re pretty good compared to a lot of other people out there. Surely God will see that, right? But God doesn’t grade on the curve and He doesn’t compare us with other people. His standard is absolute perfection and nothing less. His Word goes on to say that

“…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6 KJV)

God does not see anything that we do as measuring up to His perfection. All our righteousnesses, the very best that we could possibly do, is still seen as filthy rags compared to God’s perfect righteousness. That is why this movement called Lordship Salvation, which teaches that, after you are saved, you must obey all of Christ’s commandments so as to be counted righteous before Him or you will lose salvation, is so incredibly ludicrous. It’s beyond belief how they can think that our obedience as saved Christians will make us worthy before God and count toward our salvation. 

God’s perfection is so far beyond anything we can even imagine that our very best efforts to be obedient and righteous before Him are still seen as filthy rags. This is why we can never earn our salvation or keep our salvation through our own works of obedience. When it comes to salvation, it is not our obedience that counts. Christ is the One Who is perfectly obedient, not us. He is the One Who is worthy, not us. 

There’s this guy by the name of Todd Friel who does a show called, “Wretched.” On one show, Todd asked viewers to imagine a line with Jesus on one end and Hitler on the other. He asked viewers where they would place themselves on this line in terms of their own righteousness. His point was, at our very best, we are still far closer to Hiter than to Jesus in terms of our walk of holiness and righteousness before God. Now he was trying to make a joke about this and look at it in a comical way, but his point was real: As Christians, at our very best, the way we live our daily lives is still nowhere even remotely close to the perfect righteousness of God. We’re still much closer to someone like Hiter than to meeting God’s perfect standard.

God’s standard when He judges us is His perfection and it’s an impossible standard. But it gets even worse, for God’s Word says,

“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23 KJV)

A wage is something you earn, and what we’ve earned from our sin is death, eternal separation from God in a place of punishment called hell. God is very clear on this. He will not allow imperfect sinners or ANY sin whatsoever into heaven. PERIOD! It is an impossible standard with an extreme penalty.

The solution to all this is that God fixes our problem for us through Christ. Jesus is the answer, the only answer, to this problem.

This is how God solves our problem:  When we believe in Christ for salvation,
our total sin (past, present and future) is removed from our record and placed on Jesus, which He pays for on the cross. He suffers, dies, is buried and rises from the dead for us – completely eradicating the penalty of our sin. And in exchange, God’s perfect righteousness is placed on us. From that moment forward, we stand in His perfect righteousness, a righteousness we did not earn but one that He gave us freely simply through faith in Christ, through us believing in Jesus.

This is the Divine Exchange:
Trading our sin for His perfect righteousness. 

From that moment forward, our legal position before Him, our identity, the way He sees us, is that we are forever standing in His perfect righteousness. We didn’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. It is a free gift by His grace, which means unmerited favor.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

God’s perfect righteousness is imputed to us the moment we believe. That’s what this all means. That’s the overview.

So now, let’s prove all this through Scripture, starting with 2 Corinthians 5:21:

“For He (the Father) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; 

that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 

(2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)

In this tremendous verse, we see both sides of the Divine Exchange. When we believe in the Gospel, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose from the dead, two things happen:

  1. Our sin is imputed to Christ – God “made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us.” Our sin was imputed or placed on Christ, literally nailed to the cross.
  2.  God’s righteousness is imputed to us – “that we might be made the righteousness of God.” God’s perfect righteousness is placed on us. Notice the word, “made,” in this phrase. The word “made” refers to something that is done to us, not something we do ourselves. We are “made” righteous. We do not “become” righteous, as in becoming righteous before God by obeying all sorts of commands. No. We are “made” righteous” by Him. His own righteousness is imputed to us, given to us, credited to us. From that moment on, we stand in His perfect righteousness, not ours.

 And so, we see this Divine Exchange take place where, through believing the Gospel, your sin is removed from you and nailed to the cross, while God’s perfect righteousness is placed on you. This is now your legal standing before God’s throne. This is now your new identity before Him. You may not feel differently right away, but everything has changed. All of your sins (past, present and future) have been nailed to the cross and you are now forever righteous (in right standing) in His sight, not because of anything you did to deserve it, but because of what Christ did, because of His perfect love for you that He would give you such a great gift. That is why He deserves ALL the glory for our salvation, and we deserve none of it. We don’t earn salvation through our obedience. We are “made” righteous through faith in Christ.

Secondly, we have Colossians 2:13-14, speaking of our sins being imputed to Christ.

“And you, BEING DEAD IN YOUR SINS and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened (made alive) together with Him, having FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESSPASSES; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, NAILING IT TO HIS CROSS;” (Colossians 2:13-14 KJV)

This verse starts off saying that, before we turned to Christ, we were completely dead in our sins. Completely dead means no hope of life. Nothing we could do could change that. So God, in His perfect love, changed it for us. It says He made us alive. We didn’t make ourselves alive through our obedience. He did it.

And it says He forgave not just some but ALL of our trespasses. Lordship Salvationists say that only past sins are forgiven. This is a lie of all lies. “All” here means ALL, past, present and future. The verse means what it says – the plain reading of the text – He forgave us of ALL sins. And how did He do this? By nailing our sins to the cross. Our sins were imputed to Christ, and He bore them on the cross, suffered for them, shed His precious blood and died for them, was buried and then rose from the dead.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of this:

“…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was UPON HIM; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 KJV)

Our sin was imputed to Christ, for which He suffered, the very chastisement that brought us our peace, His righteousness being imputed to us.

Romans 5:19: 

“For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One (Christ) shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19 KJV)

Notice how we are made righteous because of His obedience, not ours. When it comes to salvation and being made righteous, Christ’s obedience is the only obedience that counts. His obedience made us righteous. Because of Him, we are forever righteous in God’s presence. That is our new position before God, our new identity. That is who we are in Christ.

Romans 10:4:

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:4 KJV)

Notice this isn’t saying that Christ has done away with the Law, for Christ Himself said “Do not think I am come to destroy the Law” in Matthew 5:17. It says Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. In other words, because of Christ, obedience to the law is not the pathway toward righteousness. Christ put an end to our need to obey laws and commandments to be seen as righteous. This is not saying that we don’t need to obey God. We certainly do and I’ll talk about that when we discuss the practice of righteousness. But our righteous standing before God is not determined by our obedience. Our own obedience is not how we become righteous before God. We are instead made righteous when we believe in Christ.

 Paul confirms this in Galatians 2:21:

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21 KJV)

In other words, if we can make ourselves righteous by our own obedience to the law or a set of commandments, then Christ didn’t need to die. Instead, we are made righteous by the grace of God through faith in Christ.

This imputed righteousness is what make us a new creation in Christ. Or as Paul puts it, “the new man,” in Ephesians 4:24:

“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24 KJV)

Notice that our righteousness wasn’t earned, it was created, given to us. The same for holiness. We don’t obtain righteousness or holiness through our obedience. God creates it in us. He imputes it to us.

Paul reaffirms this in Titus 3:5:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5 KJV)

Our own obedience does not make us righteous and does not count for salvation. Period!

This concept of imputed righteousness is strongly addressed in Romans chapter 4, where Paul first speaks of how Abraham was imputed righteousness for believing God, and then how that same principle of imputed righteousness applies to believers in Christ.

“…Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But TO HIM THAT WORKETH NOTbut believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3-5 KJV)

Abraham believed God and God counted unto him, or imputed unto him, righteousness. Abraham didn’t earn righteousness, so God wasn’t paying him as if he had worked for it. In the same way, it says, “to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Let that phrase, “TO HIM THAT WORKETH NOT” sink in. We don’t earn our worthiness before God by working, by our obedience. Instead, our “faith is counted for righteousness.”

Paul then goes on toward the end of Romans chapter 4 to say that imputed righteousness is not just something for Abraham but for everyone who believes in Christ:

“..for us also (believers in Christ), to whom it (God’s Righteousness) shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:24-25 KJV)

God’s perfect righteousness is imputed to us, credited to our account, when we believe in Jesus. It is through Jesus’ death that our sins are paid for and through His resurrection that we are made righteous, declared just. His death satisfies God’s wrath against our sins. His resurrection is what give us life, righteousness, holiness, sanctification, justification, a new creation.

Paul spoke of this same concept of imputed righteousness in Romans chapter 3:

“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” (Romans 3:21-22 KJV)

This verse isn’t saying that God was simply displaying or manifesting His own righteousness, but that His righteousness was being applied through faith UNTO ALL AND UPON ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE. His righteousness was imputed, credited to, placed upon the account of all them that believe.

But this is where a lot of us get hung up. A lot of us still think we have to earn our worthiness before God for Him to save us, that we have to obey laws and commandments to be found worthy, instead of trusting in the finished work of Christ. In Christ, we are righteous. We are worthy. His work is finished.

Paul speaks of this battle in Romans 3:8-9, where he said his goal is not to obey commandments in an attempt to establish his own righteousness. Instead, his goal was…

“…that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8-9 KJV)

Paul said he was not trying to establish his own righteousness through his own obedience. Our obedience does not make us righteousness before God. Instead, Paul’s goal was to be found in Christ, having the righteousness which is of God by faith. 

The only righteousness that counts for salvation is through faith, not our own obedience. Our obedience is important and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but that has nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is through God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. The only righteousness that counts for salvation is the righteousness which is of God by faith.

In fact, in Romans 10, Paul gives a strong warning to those who would reject this and try to establish their own righteousness through their own obedience.

“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 10:3 KJV)

If you think you have to obey commandments to keep your salvation, to be declared worthy and righteous before God, Paul is saying right here that you are ignorant of God’s righteousness and that you have not submitted yourself to the righteousness of God, which is strictly by faith. We are made righteous by God with His righteousness when we believe in Christ. We do not make ourselves righteous by our own obedience. To think that you have to obey commandments to be saved or to stay saved means that you have not submitted yourself to the Gospel. You have not believed the Gospel. You’re saying, “Yes, I believe Christ died for my sins, but I still have to do my part and obey or I’ll be condemned.” You are not believing that Christ’s work on the cross was truly finished and settled it. Instead, you think you have to, as Paul says here, establish your own righteousness. If you think that way, then you have not submitted yourself to the righteousness of God. You have not believed the Gospel, only part of it. You really don’t believe that Christ saved you completely, so you are trying to save yourself through your own obedience.

The Apostle John also spoke of the imputed righteousness of God in 1 John 3:

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3 KJV)

It’s this last phrase I want you to notice: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, EVEN AS HE IS PURE.” As far as John was concerned, we are already pure because of our faith in Christ. 

In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah also spoke of imputed righteousness, saying that it was so significant that it will forever change the very name we use for God, in Jeremiah 23:

“In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:6 KJV)

The Lord Himself is our righteousness. We don’t make ourselves righteous through our obedience.

Even Isaiah spoke of imputed righteousness in Isaiah 61:10:

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10 KJV)

When we believe in Christ, it is God Who clothes us with the garments of salvation. It is God Who covers us with the robe of righteousness. We don’t earn righteousness. It is placed upon us. It is imputed to us through faith in Christ.

This verse is the picture of the Bridegroom (Christ) and the bride (the Church). We see this fulfilled in Revelation 19:

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:7-8 KJV)

How did the bride make herself ready? It wasn’t by her own obedience. First, it says, “to her it was granted,” signifying all that follows comes from the grace of God. Then it says, “that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white.” “Arrayed” means “to put on” or “to clothe.” Through God’s grace, the bride is clothed in fine linen. This is something that is done to her because He grants it by His grace. That fine linen is the righteousness of saints, the righteousness of God that comes through faith in Christ. Notice that it says, “righteousness of saints” and not “righteous ACTS of saints.” The bride doesn’t establish her own clean clothing through her righteous acts. Her clothing is given to her. Her righteousness is given to her. Her righteousness comes through faith in Christ.

The Practice of Righteousness

So, with all that said about our position of righteousness, let’s transition here and talk about the practice of righteousness. Does this
imputed righteousness mean that we can go on living in sin without consequence? No, of course not.

1 John 3:7 speaks of the importance of practicing righteousness in our daily living, even in light of our position of righteousness before God.

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 John 3:7 KJV)

In this verse, we see both the practice of righteousness and our position of righteousness. First, notice this last phrase, “even as he is righteous.” Believers in Christ are already righteous before God by believing in Christ. That’s our legal position before God and it’s never going to change. But as saved Christians, we are also commanded to do righteousness, to practice it. We are to live righteously, even as we already are righteous. In other words, live like who you really are. You are already saved, already righteous, so live that way. That’s your new identity in Christ. You are righteous before Him because of what He did for you. Now live that way. Practice righteousness in your everyday life.

But what if we don’t? What if we choose not to “do righteousness?” What happens then? Let’s look at that now.

Consequences of Sin

The Bible describes four main consequences of sin that could happen to us, when we choose to sin before God, Who is perfect in righteousness.

  1. Eternal Condemnation, Separation From God, Punishment In Hell – Second Death (Rom. 6:23, Rev. 20:11-15) – Because God is perfect in righteousness, He will never allow sin to exist in His presence. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, referring to eternal separation from God in a place of punishment called hell. Revelation 20:11-15 describes this as the “Second Death” in the lake of fire.

  2. God’s Discipline, Loss of Blessings in This Life (Heb. 12:6-11) – God is perfect love and His desire is to bless us every day. But when we sin, instead of blessing us, God has to start disciplining us. Hebrews 12:6-11 says that God does this for our good that we may share in His holiness. But discipline from God is painful, it takes many forms, including the loss of blessings in this life. 

  3. Possible Early Physical Death (1 John 5:16) – In 1 John 5:16, the Apostle John speaks of a sin that leads to death. If we persist in sin, we can reach a point where God simply says, “Enough,” and ends our physical life.  

  4. Loss of Eternal Rewards in Heaven (2 Cor. 3:12-15, 2 Cor. 5:10) – In 2 Corinthians 3:12-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10, we see how saved believers in Christ will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ and either earn rewards for their faithful service or lose rewards because they weren’t faithful, yet all believers will still be saved. When we sin as believers, God can’t use us to achieve His purposes, so He will use someone else and the rewards we could have had will go to them.

These are the four main consequences of sin. When Christ came, suffered on the cross, died and rose again, He completely took care of the first of these consequences – Eternal condemnation and separation from God. He rescued us from the power of sin and death. Romans 4:25 says that Christ 

“…was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25 KJV)

Through His death, He paid the penalty that God’s wrath demanded for our sins. Through His resurrection, we were declared just, righteous and given new live. 

We are saved and made perfectly righteous simply by believing the Gospel, that:

Salvation = God’s Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone.

When we turn to Christ and believe in Him as our Saviour, the Divine Exchange takes place, where all of our sins (past, present and future) are nailed to the cross and paid for by Christ and, in exchange, God’s righteousness is imputed to us and we become perfectly righteous in His sight.

Another proof that we are made not just righteous but perfectly righteous is that, when we believe, the Holy Spirit immediately indwells us and seals us until the Day of Redemption. If we were not perfectly righteous, the Holy Spirit would not indwell us and seal Himself inside us, for the Holy Spirit will not indwell and live inside of an unrighteous person. The indwelling Holy Spirit Himself is proof of imputed righteousness.

When we believed, we are also adopted into God’s family. We become a child of God and are saved forever from the penalty of sin and death. Through believing the Gospel, Jesus has totally eradicated for us the worst consequence of sin – The Second Death.

So, does this then give us license to go on sinning, since we can no longer be sent to hell? No, absolutely not. Sin is NEVER OK. Look: There are still three remaining consequences of sin that have not been removed. As children of God, we will not lose our salvation because of sin, but there are still serious consequences to sin that can be very painful. 

When we are saved, we are given a new nature. The old sin nature is completely removed and we are no longer under its power. As Christians, we do not have two natures: a new spiritual nature and an old sin nature. In Mark 3:25, Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand. That old sin nature is completely gone. Romans 8:9 says we are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit.

So, it is not an old nature that is still causing us to sin. The problem is that we still live in fleshly bodies that experience pleasure and pain, which can rule our desires, if we let it. And our minds have not been trained to think spiritually but have been trained by the world to think like the world. Our minds are not developed yet for Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t saved until I was 30 years old. That’s 30 years where my mind was trained to think like the world, trained to pursue sin and pleasure. That way of thinking didn’t disappear overnight when I got saved. It took me many years to go from an immature Christian who still struggles mightily with sin to a more mature Christian who now is more and more able to live in holiness before God and for His glory. I’m nowhere near His standard of perfect holiness in my daily living but I’m heading in the right direction, because I’ve started training my mind to think spiritually. And trust me, if I can do it, anyone can. You can become more spiritual in the way you think by retraining your mind. And with each step closer to Him, you’ll find yourself being used more and more by Him for His glory. And the result is pure joy and a peace with God. You enter His rest.

So, for a new Christian, it’s not that you’re still controlled by the old sin nature, but that your mind is still working in its old ways. That’s why Paul said in Romans 12:2

“…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of YOUR MIND…” (Romans 12:1-2 KJV)

We renew our minds by submitting them daily to God, through His Word and through prayer. If you struggle with sin and really want to accelerate a way out, start doing daily Scripture memorization. 

There’s an old saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” Whatever you fill your mind with, that’s the stuff you’re going to get out of it. If you fill your mind with the garbage of this world every day, then you’ll likely struggle with sin because that’s what the world loves. If you fill your mind with God’s Word, then instead of sinful thoughts and actions, you’ll begin to see holiness and righteousness being practiced in your life.

Scripture memorization: I highly recommend it.

But the bottom line is this: 

For A Saved Believer
The Penalty of Sin (Second Death) is Removed
but the Practice of Sin Still Has Consequences

So, sin is never, never, NEVER OK.

Lastly, let’s bring all that we’ve gone through to a conclusion by showing it all graphically.

(See video for graphics)

On the left vertical axis, we have “Righteousness,” ranging from 0% to 100%.  On the bottom horizontal axis, we have “Time.”

Before we were saved, as far as God was concerned, our righteousness was at 0%, for God’s Word says that ALL of our righteousness are as filthy rags in Isaiah 64:6. 

Then came the moment of salvation: the moment we believed in Christ, the moment we believed the Gospel. At that very moment, as far as God is concerned, our righteousness immediately went from 0% to 100% – Perfect Righteousness. By placing our faith in Christ, believing that He died for our sins, was buried and rose on the third day, not only were all of our sins forgiven, but we were given a new identity in Christ. We were declared just, righteous, holy, sanctified. We were adopted into God’s family. Immediately, the very moment we believed in Christ, that is our new identity. That is who we now are. That is how God sees us. The old is past. The new is come. The penalty of sin is forever removed. We have a new position, and it is forever in Christ. No matter what happens from that point forward, that is our legal position before God’s throne, and it will never change. When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” He really meant it. Our battle over sin and death is over. We have won and are now victorious in Christ.

But then comes the practice of living righteously for God. As I just said, the main challenge is that our minds are still trained to think like the world. So, while our position before God is one of perfect righteousness, our daily practice of how we live may look very different because we’re still yielding to our former way of thinking. 

To fix this, with God’s help and leading, we begin the process of learning to walk in our new identity, an identity that we are in fact just, righteous, holy/sanctified, children of God. And as we learn to walk in our new identity, the practice of sin begins to fade and is removed. More and more, instead of sin in our lives, we begin to see holiness manifesting itself in our daily walk. This is the lifelong process of discipleship, becoming transformed to be like Jesus. 

But notice that, even at our best behavior, we are still far short of that 100% righteousness line in terms of our own personal righteousness, how we live. The good news is that we don’t have to perform for God to be found worthy. He has already declared us worthy through faith in Christ. Our position before Him is one of total worthiness because of Christ, not because of us. That’s why this whole movement called Lordship Salvation is so wacked, so ludicrous, thinking that you have to obey commandments to be found worthy or you will lose salvation. It’s totally crazy and it comes down to not believing the Gospel, that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. Instead, they reject this notion that we are declared righteous by God, they reject imputed righteousness, they reject that Christ’s work on the cross was finished, and they instead try to establish their own righteousness by seeking to obey commandments. They have rejected the true Gospel.

Don’t be like them.

As saved believers, if we choose to disobey God, those last 3 of 4 consequences of sin that I listed earlier are still there, so we should obey Him or we will suffer those consequences. But our own obedience will never equal His perfect standard of 100%, so it is ludicrous to think that you must obey commandments to get saved or to stay saved. If you think that, you are not really trusting in Christ.

When we believe in Christ, we are immediately imputed God’s perfect righteousness. That’s now our eternal position before God, though the practice of righteousness in our daily walk will take time to develop as we retrain our minds to think like Christ and become disciples of Christ.

The next step beyond this (and I believe coming up soon) will be the rapture, when we will receive our eternal bodies. At that very moment, when we are in the very presence of Christ and these old mortal bodies are done away with and our cloudy minds are given new clarity, not only will the Penalty of Sin and the Practice of Sin be removed, but finally the very Presence of Sin will be removed. In our new eternal bodies, we will no longer be tempted by sin and have to struggle against it. We will be suitable at that point to live with God with not even a trace or presence of sin in us. Only then will Jesus’ saying in Matthew 5:48 be fulfilled:

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 KJV)

So, when we look at the Position of who we are versus the Practice of how we live, there are two main takeaways:

  1. Salvation is a free gift that comes by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. When we believe in Him, we are imputed with God’s perfect righteousness and have a new Position, a new identity that will never change.
  2. Eternal rewards will be earned or lost based on our Practice of righteousness, how we live. So, become a disciple of Christ and live for Him. 

Just briefly, here are the types of eternal rewards we can earn. I won’t go into these here but will include a link to a detailed study I did on Rewards if you are interested. There are three main types of rewards we can earn in heaven:

1. Crowns

  • Imperishable Crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
  • Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
  • Crown of Life (Revelation 2:10)
  • Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4)
  • Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)

2. Authority and Privileges (Revelation 2:26-27)

3. Eternal Glory (Daniel 12:2-3)

Interestingly, in terms of eternal glory, Daniel 12:3 says that those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the firmament while those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever. So, our eternal bodies will reflect and radiate the light of God more and more for all eternity the more we are faithful in how we live here on this earth. How important it is to practice righteousness. How you live today has eternal consequences.

Finally, in conclusion:

  • We are saved by believing the Gospel

     Salvation = God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone

  • Our Position of Righteousness – When we believe, all our sins are nailed to the cross and God’s perfect righteousness is credited to our account (The Divine Exchange). By His Grace, we stand in His righteousness forever, not our own. That is our new position (how God sees us), our new identity. Therefore, we will never be condemned. Salvation can never be lost.
  • Our Practice of Righteousness – Sin is never OK. There are great consequences when we sin as believers, but loss of salvation is not one of them. Put an end to sin and become a disciple of Christ. Practice righteousness

All this can be summed up in this verse from Romans 8:1-2:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2 KJV)

There is now no condemnation for those who have placed their faith in Christ and are, therefore, saved and in Christ. It then says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” – what does that mean? It means the Gospel, believing the Gospel. It has made me free from the law of sin and death. Sin and death no longer have power to condemn any believer in Christ because we are perfectly righteous in His sight. All because of Christ. Not because of us. 

Now, I’d be remiss to not point out that middle phrase, which is only in the King James version: “who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” There are those in the Lordship Salvation movement who incorrectly point at this phrase saying, “See, only those who do not walk after the flesh have no condemnation. So, it’s up to us to obey commandments or believers could lose salvation and still be condemned.” This is total error and a butchering of God’s Word. They want to make this phrase a condition for having no condemnation. But the phrase doesn’t say “IF” you walk not after the flesh. It says, “who” walk not after the flesh. It’s not making a conditional statement but a descriptive statement, describing what someone who is already saved looks like.

As saved Christians, we ARE those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit, though it may take us a lifetime of learning to do so on a consistent basis. We’re all at different levels when it comes to the Practice of righteousness. But our Position of righteousness never changes. That’s who we are. That’s our identity. Right after this in verse 8, Paul says of believers:

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” (Romans 8:9 KJV)

As saved Christians, we are no longer in the flesh. But, if you are someone who thinks you are saved but never walks after the Spirit and always finds yourself walking after the flesh, then let me ask you: How do you know you are really saved? How is your faith real? When we are truly saved, that changes us into a new creation. God’s Holy Spirit then lives inside us, making us want to seek His Spirit more and more. If that’s not happening in your life, then maybe you’re not saved.

So, let me close with the question I started with:

Are you 100% certain that you are righteous before God, that God would save you if you died today?

You can be 100% certain. But the time to make that decision is almost gone. On our prophetic calendar, we are almost at the Rapture and the start of the final 7-year tribulation, which ends with God pouring out His wrath on mankind that has rejected Him. You do not want to be part of that, and you don’t have to be. The way of escape – the ONLY way of escape – is by putting your faith in Jesus.

Before it’s too late, if you are not 100% sure that you are saved, that if you died today, God would welcome you into heaven, I urge you to make your commitment to Jesus secure right now. Here’s a prayer for salvation that you can pray. But keep in mind that a prayer does not save you. You are saved only when you place your trust in Jesus alone, believing in your heart that He died to pay your debt of sin to God and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life that He offers. This prayer, then, is just a way of formalizing that decision, putting a stake in the ground, saying that you are trusting in Him and never going back. And if you are someone who is saved but has strayed away from God, you can also use this as a prayer of rededication to turn back to God.

If either of those is what you would like to do, please pray with me:

“Lord, I have sinned and I need you to save me. I have not lived the way You desire me to live. Against You and You alone have I sinned. I am so sorry. From this point forward, I want to dedicate my life to You. I believe that Your Son Jesus shed His blood and died on the cross to pay for my sins, and that He rose from the dead to show me the new eternal life You have for me. I believe solely in Jesus to save me, that He paid my debt of sin 100%. Thank you for this forgiveness. Please live inside of me, be my Savior and Lord, and enable me to live for You. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer and meant it from your heart, know right now that you are eternally saved, for God gives you this assurance:

“For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 KJV)

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