One of the most important parts about reading the Bible is allowing the Bible to interpret the Bible. This is Hermeneutics 101 (how to study the Bible). As readers we can know when the Jesus is telling a parable when the Bible reads that Jesus, “said in a parable” (Luke 8:4-15). We know that this is a parable because the Bible said it was. This helps us to fully capture what the reader is speaking.
In the case of righteousness, the Bible reads that it is a gift. Romans 5:17 says that, “by the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness we will reign in life.” So first we know it is a gift, and the second part that we understand is the fact that it is a real righteousness. This gift is not something in the clouds, we are right with God. Are newlyweds, “positionally married?” No they are literally married. It is a marriage that stands as fact. We have right standing with God which allows us to stand before God anytime of the day and talk to Him.
In 2 Corinthians 5:21 the Bible says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This verse is talking about how Jesus became sin (on the cross) so that we can now be righteous. Is Jesus positionally righteous? No, He is literally righteous. We have the righteousness that Jesus has, so if Jesus is literally righteous, so are we. This is letting the Bible interpret the Bible. This is one beautiful exchange that took place at Calvary.
If we look to our actions to see if we are right with God, we will become disappointed. We will think things like, “we aren’t literally righteous. That is just the way God sees us. Our position is one of righteousness, but our condition is that we are unrighteous.” The truth is that it is not just something that only God sees. In other words our standing with God is very literal. When we get to heaven, we need to have right standing with God to stand before him. Because we have this, we have fellowship with him. God wants you to rest your head peacefully tonight knowing you are safe in His arms. Righteousness is not about our good works or some figurative imagination, it is real.