When you live in righteousness, you are right before the eyes of God. You might have trouble trusting this. You might say, “Wait a minute, I sinned.” Well, yes you did. You live in your flesh. But you’re sinless before the eyes of God. Every day, Jesus is your advocate. He goes before God and He says, “Yes, Jeremy did sin, but he has a defense. I am his defense. I died for that sin. Jeremy’s sin is covered by my blood.” As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12), because we walk in His righteousness and holiness.
When your flesh sins, is that a real sin? Yes. And you need to confess it, either to other believers or to God. That confession is for you. It sets you free from your shame. It allows you to come in the light so you don’t live in the darkness. Darkness will kill you! Ah, but righteousness allows you to live in the light.
I know this can be a confusing concept. I know it’s hard to understand how it is that God looks at us and sees His righteous children, when all along we know that we are sinning. Does this mean that we can go ahead and do anything we want to do? Paul says no! When you live by the Spirit, you act by the Spirit. You live by the Spirit of God. You don’t sin because you don’t want to sin. His Spirit is in you, so you love people! You don’t want to hurt them or make them feel bad. You don’t want to yell at your kids or drink to drunkenness. You don’t have to perform a certain way. You can just be. You don’t have to control your family or your employees. You can just love on them and encourage them. Figure out what makes them thrive, and bring out the best in them. What do they need? Find out, and make it happen.
This is the effect. When you know how God sees you, you will rise to His image of you. He sees you as holy and righteous, and when you understand that, you will be holy and righteous. He frees you.
Think about it this way. Suppose you knew that tomorrow, no matter what you have on the schedule, God will smile on you. Knowing that, would you just sit back and do nothing at all? No! You would play or work or serve with all-out freedom. You’d show up saying, “I’m going to nail this thing!” And you’d have fun! When you know who you are, your confidence just shoots up. So God is saying, “I’m telling you, you’re righteous and holy! Live like it! Be holy. I am holy. You are in me and I am in you, and therefore, you are holy!”
God is literally saying to you, “Because of Jesus, and your faith in Him, you are right in my eyes. You don’t have to live in shame. You don’t have to fear that you are not worthy enough. You are worthy! You are worthy to come before my throne. So come. Live in joy, open and free.”