What makes us righteous? Is it having our sins forgiven, and then living free from sin? Or is it our relationship with God; having his Holy Spirit in us? Jesus didn’t claim to have his own righteousness, but said only God is good or righteous.
Mark 10:17-18 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Of course Jesus is God, the Son of God. Jesus was saying that all righteousness comes only from our connection and relationship with God. The fact that our sins are forgiven and we have a discipline that helps us keep living a sin free life is necessary. But all our goodness and righteousness comes from God himself, not from our self disciplined Christian life. For this relationship to successfully continue, we must be sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit. The struggle and way we understand and have faith to be sanctified can be very different for each person. But eventually everyone needs to fully consecrate their heart and life to God. It’s the only way to having long-lasting victory over temptations to sin.
Realizing the need to be consecrated or sanctified can make us feel abandoned because we feel our separation from the world. When we completely give ourselves to God, we consecrate ourselves and our will to him in sanctification. We set ourselves apart to be holy and used however God chooses.
Finally, the righteousness of God and wisdom are not revealed by worldly wisdom. The Spirit and his power can be demonstrated by words that aren’t elegant or beautifully formed (not with “enticing words”). The princes or important people in the world will not recognize God’s wisdom, just like they didn’t recognize it in the apostle Paul’s day.
I Corinthians 2:4-8 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world …Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Paul was like today’s child that is raised in the truth. They have knowledge of truth and God’s word but are not connected to the righteousness of God until they’re saved. It took a while for Paul to see what the Spirit of God revealed to him, but he was used mightily when he finally saw it. Man could not reveal what God wanted him to see. He was especially used because of his brokenness and willingness to let God use him in all his hardships.
I Corinthians 2:9-16 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The mysteries and hidden wisdom of God are only revealed to us by the Spirit of God. There are so many schedules, busyness, and distractions in the world. If we get out of balance in our life, spiritual things can seem like foolishness. We can miss what is only discerned by the Spirit speaking to us if we’re too focused on doctrine, or a ritual of steps to be saved or sanctified. We have to fight a battle so we don’t let our own wisdom or things and activities of the world separate us from God. We must take the necessary time to commune with God! He alone is our righteousness.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Richard Lehman)