The dictionary defines righteous as “morally right or justifiable.” The question could be phrased what do I need to do to be seen by God as justified to be in his presence. Since God cannot tolerate sin, the question can further be asked, what can I do so that God sees me as someone who is sin-free? The answer is simple. You can’t–at least not in your own power.
The Bible makes it clear that human beings are not able to obtain through their own efforts the perfection required to stand before God. Paul, an apostle of Christ, in writing to the Church in Rome almost 2000 years ago, quoted from ancient scripture:
As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
The only way anyone can be righteous or right-standing before God is by trusting in Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us on the cross. When our sins are covered by this atoning sacrifice, the shed blood of Jesus, we are forgiven and are then accepted as righteous before God. Think of it this way, Jesus’ righteousness–His perfection– is applied to us and God then sees Jesus in us and not our sin. How can this happen? John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples spelled it out in one of his letters.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
If you would like to learn more about this process of being seen by God as righteous, then we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?