Today we possess a life that is not ours, as though this life belongs to us, because in actual fact it does. It might sound like nonsense but this is the paradox and mystery of new covenant life. This is Christ our life. Christ in place of us and Christ in us to become who we are and what we do. Incarnation is grace active in our lives as the righteousness of God. This is not only righteousness but life itself - spirit and life.
‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ 2 Cor 5.21 NIV.
Most people I know have a desire to be righteous. I do. So do those I love. Sometimes we are impelled to prop-up our own righteousness and make excuses. We are so invested in attempting to be seen to do the right thing in our own eyes and the eyes of others that we will ‘bust a gut’ to look good.
Grace allows us to be wrong. Even more so it enables us to admit we were wrong and have fallen short. Grace provides the opportunity for Christ to enter that event and display His love through forgiveness. We are given permission to be ourselves and not be desperate about saving face. In more way than one. In Jesus we have the ability to have a life.
PEACE AND LIFE
For peace of mind and joy, we need to live in Christ and not in Adam. Adam was separated from God. Jesus is God and part of the trinity as well as the Son of Man. In Christ we are always in God and we always belong. A few years ago a prophetic woman had a message for me from God. She said, ‘He wants you to know that nothing you can ever do can separate you from God.’ This is both the message of Jesus and the testimony of scripture. In this way Bonface Odhiambo writes,
“Today righteousness has been classiﬁed into two phases, they call it positional righteousness and practical righteousness. They say we are righteous positionally but we have to work out practical righteousness. Paul addresses this issue, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness (positional as they call it), and seeking to establish their own righteousness (practical as they say), have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3).
[What is the righteousness of God? Is it the law? No. Is it a bunch of Christian “must Do’s?’ Not at all. It is Christ in you and Christ manifest as you.’]
“Trying to establish our own righteousness, we fail to receive the gift of Righteousness. It’s either you are righteous by faith or not at all. There is nothing like practical righteousness. Righteousness has never been and will never be a reward for good behaviour. I know there are many who are having questions over this statement. Have you seen people who are very well behaved but know nothing about Christ? That kind of behaviour does not make anyone righteous in God’s eyes. God knows only one righteousness which is of Christ and all who have identiﬁed themselves with Him enjoy this righteousness.” YOU, THE LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT
Practical righteousness is Christ manifest as you at any time and in any place. With Him as our life we only do what He is doing and everything we do is charged with His spirit and life. No dead works to be seen here! To say that Christ is ‘in us’ and is our life is not to say that He is restricted to some compartment of our being, reaching out to this sector and that to put things right. There is no little ‘Christ box in our being.’ We are not separated from Christ in the world or in our being. He is with us and in us – in all of us. But more than this His Spirit imbues the whole of our being. We call this incarnation. It is life in the Spirit. This is how we become the manifestation of Jesus yet are fully ourselves as the sons of God.
Having ‘a righteousness of our own’ dims our possession of Christ. Living from the law almost extinguishes Him in our being and joins us to the body of death – the pre-cross old and dead way of the tree. But Paul declares,