“...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” [Romans 10:9]
WHAT’S WITH ARMOR?
When I think of the armor of God, I sometimes find it a bit strange that the virtues listed in Ephesians 6 are described as armor. This seems kind of random, honestly. Why do people need armor anyways? Soldiers need armor to protect themselves from an enemy’s attack. So by relating righteousness to a breastplate (armor protecting a soldiers torso/vital organs), Paul is making the claim that righteousness will protect Christians from attack. If this is true, then that makes me want to ask what is righteousness? How can I get it?
WHAT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS
So I’m going to write a bit about righteousness, but disclaimer: this can sometimes be a complicated theological topic, and I’m only writing a couple of paragraphs about it. So keep that in mind! :-) Righteousness can refer to a couple of things. First, it can refer to justice. Isaiah 59:15 says that, “...it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.” Justice is clearly something that is high on God’s priority list. Secondly-and this is what Paul is referring to here-righteousness refers to our our morality and if we are in “right standing” with God. God is perfect and therefore cannot associate with imperfection. But, since He loves you and me so much, He died for us, in our place, so that He can have a relationship with us! THIS IS INCREDIBLE NEWS! So we are freely given righteousness through faith. Paul also writes about this in Romans 4:3. Here, he says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Since He died, we can come into relationship with Him through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Righteousness is our new state of being forgiven by God and allows us to be in relationship with Him.
So how do we get righteousness? We believe that Christ died and God raised Him from the dead. If you turn from your sin towards God, in faith, you are righteous. Romans 10:9 says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” So if you are already a Christian, you are already declared righteous by God because of your faith! If you are not a Christian, this is how you get righteousness: believing that Jesus died for you and was raised from the dead as Lord.
So really practically, what does this mean for us? This means that we don't have to prove anything. Our faith makes us righteous, so we do not have to earn God’s love, and we don't have to do enough “good things” to gain God’s forgiveness. So if you're feeling pressure to earn anything from God, know that there is no place for striving in your relationship with Him. He has won your righteousness already.
Father, thank You for dying for me. Please teach me more about righteousness and show me more of Your love. Teach me what Jesus’ death and resurrection truly means for me. Amen.