Being the righteousness of God in Christ
2 Cor. 5:19-21: “that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. V.21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
The righteousness of God is our being given salvation from God, justified through the blood of Christ, his substitutionary death, we are currently experiencing sanctification through his Spirit; that righteousness, justification, and holiness are to daily be our life we receive through HIM until he takes us home.
The one who was perfectly innocent, gave himself in a voluntary substitution for his enemies; was treated as IF he were guilty of our sins; subjected himself to the wrath and punishment for sin that we deserve. We who are guilty and who deserve to be punished, were treated, vicariously as innocent; as if we had not sinned because of Christ’s righteousness. Thus expression of substitution resulted in salvation for all who believe. Our faith reconciled us to him.
As Christ did not literally become our sin we do not literally become his righteousness until we are glorified and completed in him. The fallen race from Adam are "treated as righteous" by God in a legal sense, and are continually conformed into his image as we surrender our will daily. It is by the Scripture given for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:17). But we will one day be righteous as the new man in Christ when we are resurrected, immortal, without sin in our body. We will be like Christ (the first fruits of the resurrection) in that we will be immortal and sinless; not gods.
So we are told to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). To seek God’s kingdom first and His righteousness is to put His will and ways over our own. This is done through faith, by learning and obeying His Word, which can only be accomplished by the strength he gave us by the Holy Spirit indwelling us. “The fruit of the Spirit is love,” and “goodness, righteousness, and truth” (Ephesians 5:9).
Rom. 8:10-11 “And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
He was made sin; we are made righteous; he was treated as if he were a sinner, (yet was pure and sinless) we are treated as if we are righteous, (yet sinful).
The phrase "righteousness of God," refers to the fact that this is his plan of making people righteous, first by justifying them. Clearing them of guilt as a lawyer in a courtroom. Chapter 1 of Job points out that Satan attacked Job because of his righteousness, not for his sin.
Chapter 1 points out that Satan attacked Job because of his righteousness, not for his sin. Job desired such help “Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both” (Job 9:33) Yet he prophesied “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth” (Job 19:25).
The gospel is about our need for a righteousness that is not our own. The natural (unspiritual man) man finds it difficult to accept that one could suffer in the place of another, take his deserved penalty, and out of mercy give that person Christ’s perfect righteousness, with it an accompanied life of freedom and spiritual riches for doing nothing except exercise faith in Christ’s work – the gospel
Rom. 3:25-26 “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Each of us have experienced what the Jews did at Passover, where the angel did not require our life and instead gave mercy by passing over when he saw the blood.
Rom 4:5 “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness”
We are made righteous in God’s eyes because of Christ, we have a righteousness imputed to us by God because of our trust (faith) in His work. That we might be the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor.5:21)
Gal 5:5 “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
We have not fully received it but are waiting as we are day by day changed into his image walking in Christ’s moral nature.
That is what is spoken by Paul in Rom 8:17-19 “and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”
1 Corinthians 15:49: “And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” Paul goes on to explain the resurrection will be the axis for this event to take pace, when our flesh is transformed to immortality. For now, we are still sinful and wait for that day of the resurrection that we will become like Jesus completely and permanently (Romans 6:5).