“For if by the one man’s offence death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Romans 5:17 emphasis mine.”
The popular belief is that for you to live a righteous life you must stop sinning.
What if the reverse is the truth?
What if you have to become righteous before you stop sinning?
This is what the scriptures say and it sad that you have believed the reverse.
Awake to righteousness and sin not. 1 Corinthians 15:34.
It didn’t say stop sinning then you will awake to righteousness.
The advice is to awake to righteousness. This means waking up to something that is available.
God provides the gift of righteousness. You have to become conscious of the gift.
The problem is that instead of emphasising the gift of righteousness, we have focused on what we can do to be righteous.
You can’t do anything to get the gift of righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus.
It is either you believe this gift of righteousness or you don’t.
Martin Luther described this gift of righteousness as Justitia Alienum, an alien righteousness.
This righteousness belongs to someone else and is offered to you as a gift without works. You receive it by faith.
Luther’s struggle for justification ended the day he discovered the righteousness of faith that comes from believing Jesus Christ.
Knowing the gift of righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus Christ is the beginning of breaking any cycle of sin you find yourself.
If you’ve tried willpower and it didn’t work. I implore you to give the gift of righteousness a chance and let Him help you.
Receive the gift of righteousness by faith
There are two kinds of righteousness.
The righteousness that comes by faith and the righteousness that comes by works.
In the old covenant, the righteousness by works was predominant.
At that time the believers became righteous by their actions.
If they performed well they were righteous. And if they performed poorly they were all unrighteous.
That changed when Jesus Christ came and died on the cross.
Because of His victory over Satan and hell, the gift of righteousness is available for all that believe.
It is no longer about what you can do. Your performance cannot make you earn the gift of righteousness.
Righteousness under the new covenant comes by your faith in Christ Jesus.
Unlike the righteousness that comes from your performance, You can claim the gift of righteousness by speaking it.
Here is how the apostle Paul puts it in Romans 10-
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above). Romans 10:5-6 emphasis mine
The righteousness of faith speaks.
If you believe that you have the gift of righteousness by faith you will prove it by what you say.
I know the title of this post suggests empowerment to break a sinful lifestyle.
It starts by knowing and receiving the gift of righteousness.
One reason you continue to make the same mistake over and over again is that you don’t know your standing with the Lord.
In the eyes of God Almighty, He sees you exactly the same way He sees Jesus Christ. As he is so are you in this world.
The day you change the way you see yourself and start seeing yourself the same the Lord sees you, then your struggle with sin begins to fade.
Why you have continued to sin despite wanting to please Jesus Christ
The power of the gospel is in unveiling Jesus Christ and His gift of righteousness.
Remember when you gave your life to Christ? You also remember that you were willing to go all the way for Him?
What happened along the way?
You noticed that you had the same tendencies to make the same mistakes you made before confessing Him.
This is the point where people claim the gospel is not working.
They will say I want to live a holy life, but it seems something stronger is pulling me from obeying Christ.
You will lose the joy of your salvation if you think you can maintain your salvation by your behaviour.
Don’t get me wrong. Your behaviour is important. But your trust in Christ and what He did for you should come before your behaviour.
If you believe what the Lord did on the cross, and continue to receive the gift of righteousness, your behaviour will align with your confessions.
The problem is that after trusting in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, you are trying to perfect your walk with Him by what you can do.
It is important you know that what you believe will affect how you live.
If you believe your performance is a prerequisite to righteousness, then poor performance affects your relationship with the Lord.
But if you know that you have the gift of grace and the gift of righteousness despite how you perform, it will improve your performance.
The gift of no condemnation
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. John 8:11
Remember the woman caught in adultery in John 8.
They brought her Jesus to know what he would say.
After dismissing the crowd the Lord ask her if no one condemned her. When she responded, the Lord offered her the gift of no condemnation and told her to go and sin no more.
Which one came first?
Go and sin no more or the gift of no condemnation?
You are right. The gift of no condemnation came before she could go and sin no more.
The expectation nowadays is to sin no more then you will receive the gift of no condemnation.
It didn’t work that way at the time of the Lord Jesus’ walk on earth. Neither will it work now in your time.
You have the gift of no condemnation the day you received the gift of righteousness that comes through Christ.
Don’t try to solve the problem before claiming you are righteous.
You know that the righteous lives by faith right?
If you live by faith then you will know that not living a holy life at the moment doesn’t change your identity.
Knowing who you are in Christ gives you the power to say no to recurring sin.
The gift of no condemnation to the woman in John 8 came with no strings attached.
She didn’t deserve it. According to the rules of the day, she ought to be stoned to death.
So if you think you don’t deserve to call yourself a righteous person because of your continued failure…
that is the time you should speak up and say I have the gift of righteousness.
It is a gift. Gift are received not earned. Desist from trying to earn what Christ Jesus gives for free through His Grace.
Say “you are the righteousness of God in Christ” until you see it.
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11:23 NKJV
I mentioned earlier that righteousness of faith speaks.
Speaking your righteousness in Christ is the way you receive the gift of righteousness.
Don’t underestimate the power of speaking to yourself. And don’t ignorantly speak any word that comes to mind to yourself. Speak only the word of God.
A trick that the enemy uses when you sin is to put wrong words in your mouth.
You will hear suggestions like “I am a pervert”. “I am a hypocrite”. “I can never break free from this addiction”.
If you repeat this words to yourself you will end living in that cycle of defeat.
But if you accept the gift of righteousness, you must proclaim it over your life.
There is a principle of faith taught in Mark 11:23. You will have whatever you say.
This verse didn’t speak about prayer. It speaks of what you say. if you say it you will get it.
The more you say it the more it will come to pass in your life.
Thus if you have continued to fail over and over again it is most likely because you continued to repeat wrong words to your hearing.
Why not change your confession.
The next time you make a mistake, instead of saying I am a pervert, why not say I am the righteousness of God in Christ.
Your head will fight with you when this happens. You will feel like a liar because your actions prove otherwise.
But remember that you have it as a gift. It is the gift of righteousness. The more you say it the more it will come to pass in your life.
You cannot stop sinning before you can claim the gift of righteousness.
The day you made Jesus Christ your Lord you received the gift of no condemnation.
Christ offered this same gift to the woman caught in adultery.
Our Lord Jesus Christ offered her the gift of no condemnation before saying go and sin no more.
Your struggles will end the day you receive the gift of no condemnation like the woman did.
This starts by knowing you have the gift of righteousness that comes by believing in Jesus Christ.
Remember that the gift of righteousness comes by faith and not by what you do.
If you receive this gift of righteousness and confess it despite your mistakes…
In time you will see results of what you say because your words are spiritual seeds that germinate and grow.
One reason why you may continue to struggle is that you have spoken wrong words over your life because of the mistakes you made.
The gift of righteousness is activated as you speak it over your life.
Is this the first time you are being exposed to this truth? How has knowing the gift of righteousness helped you so far in your Christian walk?