Righteousness not only affects how we relate to God, it affects how we relate to other people. When we believe that we are righteous in Christ and that we have God’s approval, it gives us an inner confidence. This confidence isn’t based on any of our own talents, abilities, or anything we think we can take credit for. It’s based on the fact that the all-powerful, all-knowing God loves and approves of us. When our confidence is placed in our righteousness in Christ, we can care very little for the approval of man.
This is exactly what Paul did. In Galatians 1:10 he writes “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” Paul left the desire to put up a front in order to earn people’s approval. He knew who he was in Christ and knew that was more important than what anybody else thought about him.
The problem with chasing after man’s approval is that the standard is always changing. The things that worked yesterday won’t work tomorrow. We’ll stay in a constant state of insecurity and negative change because we don’t know what everyone will want from us tomorrow. This is another way that man’s reality pales in comparison to God’s reality. Man’s reality is inconsistent, and if we choose to live in it, we will be inconsistent.
The foundation of God’s reality is His word. That’s why we can be confident in His approval, because His standard never changes and was already met by Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Knowing that we are righteous shouldn’t make us feel like we are better than people, though. We should be humble in our righteousness, because, like everything else good in our lives, it came from God, not ourselves. In fact, our being righteous in Christ should make people feel more at ease when they are around us. We know that we’ve been accepted by a loving God, and it gives us the ability to accept other people, and not look down on them.
Let’s be a people who places all of our confidence in the finished work of Jesus. Let’s allow the fact that we are loved and accepted by God so that other people’s eyes can be opened and learn the same is true for them.