This morning, I received a phone call from my two youngest grandchildren, who are eleven and eight years old, as they were on their way to school. They had a question for me. It wasn’t “Digi, can we come over and play at your house this weekend?” Before eight o’clock in the morning they asked, “What is righteousness?” WOW…where did that come from? It turns out they had run across the word righteousness in their morning devotion time and were not really sure what it meant. After looking it up in the dictionary with their Mom, they knew it meant morally excellent and virtuous. But, they were not sure what it meant for them personally.

Of course, it is always easier to answer these types of questions with twenty-twenty hindsight but in the moment I explained, that the meaning of the word righteousness is just what the dictionary tells us. It is to be good all of the time. There is no such thing as part-time or episodic righteousness. The problem is that we humans find it impossible to live life in a state of righteousness one hundred percent of the time and this is why we need Jesus! He lived His life perfectly everyday He was on earth. On the cross, Jesus died for us, so that “in Him” we are seen by God as “righteous.” Without Jesus, God sees us as we truly are, unrighteous.

This week, I had an opportunity to go to a firing range to experience shooting at a target. After several rounds I had hit the bullseye, that is, right in the center, only a couple of times. For my first time ever, I’m told this wasn’t too bad. However, unlike target practice, there is no such thing as “close enough” when it comes to righteousness. Maybe in the world’s eyes we get credit, even if we don’t “hit the bullseye” of righteousness every time but before God, perfection is our only target. Does this mean we shouldn’t try to aim for the “bullseye” if we can’t make it every time? “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” [Ephesians 5:1-2]

Scripture teaches us to “be imitators of God….” You and I may not be able to attain complete righteousness on our own, but “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” [Hebrews 10:10] In the Book of Romans we read, “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Jesus] the many will be made righteous.”

Dear God, thank You for making a way for me to stand before you “in righteousness,” in Jesus. AMEN

To The One Who promises “because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” [Hebrews 10:14]