Have you ever wondered if you have made the right decision about something? You may have pondered and pondered over what to do or what to choose before finally making a decision only to second guess whether you made the right choice or not. This has happened to me many times during my life. Not only that, I've sometimes made a decision that everyone told me was the right one only to discover that they and I were wrong. It is true that just because you have the right to do something doesn't make what you do right! But how can we know what are the right things to do? This is especially important when it comes to doing what God has determined to be the right things.
In the Bible, the word "righteousness" in both the Greek and Hebrew means to do the right thing and to be in the right, and a righteous person is one who does what is right. It does not mean one who is perfect or without sin or who has never sinned. Biblically, it means one who is viewed by God as doing the right thing. In the Old Testament that usually meant one who served God and obeyed God's commandments and laws. Jesus refined its meaning to mean one who conforms to the will of God. The Apostle Paul clarified this meaning as being in the right relation to God through Christ and something that comes only through faith in Christ.
There is a direct connection between righteousness and living in accordance to God's will that can only come through belief in Christ and living in the light of His perfection. No one is righteous in themselves (Rom. 3:10&20) but all who are in Christ are made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21) and do not need to continually repent in order to be viewed by God as righteous - even if they still sin at times (Rom. 3:21-26, Rom. 4:6-8, Rom. 8:1). Our faith, not our perfection, yields righteousness (Gal. 3:11-14). That doesn't mean we who are Christ-followers shouldn't repent when we sin; it only means that our righteousness in the eyes of God isn't based upon it.
Nor does this mean that it is ok to sin. Sin is never ok! The Bible clearly teaches that Christ-followers should never intentionally sin even if, through Christ, they have already been forgiven for that sin (Ps. 119:133, Rom. 6:1-4 & 10-12). Sin has and will always separate us from fellowship with God. The Bible clearly reveals that God's anger burns over sin. Sin is always self-centered and will always be wrong even if it appears to produce "good" or "right" things in the eyes of man. The great pastor and Bible teacher Oswald Chambers said it best: "The disposition of sin is not immorality and wrong-doing, but the disposition of self-realization - I am my own god. This disposition may work out in decorous morality or in indecorous immorality, but it has the one basis, my claim to my right to myself."
God's desire is for us to be conformed to His will and to choose to do so because we love Him. The truth is that the righteousness received through faith in Christ should move us to an ever deepening relationship with God, conforming us to His will, and thus should move us farther away from sin. God intends for us to do His will and only His will which can only happen as we grow closer and closer to Him. We Christ-followers sometimes choose to do things contrary to God's will because of our sinful nature but God desires for us to choose to obey Him not simply because He commands it (and of course He does) but more importantly because we love Him. If we are Christ-followers , God views us as righteous because of our faith but He desires that we also choose because of our love for Him to live righteously by living in accordance to His will.
We may have the right to choose to sin but having the right to do so does not make that choice right. Sinning is clearly a time when it is wrong to be right!
Dr. Richard Tompkins