Keep this definition in mind when you consider Job’s question found in Job 9.2: “But how can a mortal be righteous before God?”
There are two ways of achieving such righteousness:
1) Righteousness According to Law
2) Righteousness According to Faith
Ecclesiastes 7.20 (NIV) states: “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Jesus is the only one who can stand in righteousness according to law.
Philippians 3.9 (NIV) states: “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”
Job (Old Testament) and Paul (New Testament) were both imperfect people. Job had to ask God for forgiveness because he presumed to know the wonders of God (Job 42). And Paul persecuted Jesus and His disciples (Acts 9.1-5). Both these men had made mistakes, yet they claimed Righteousness by Faith, and the people hated them for it.
In Job 31.6, Job tells his friends boldly about his righteousness through faith, “Let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless.” This upset Job’s friends so much that they left him: “So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes” (Job 32.1).
In Acts 23:1-3 (MSG), Paul proclaims his own righteousness before the High Council: “Paul surveyed the members of the council with a steady gaze, and then said his piece: ‘Friends, I’ve lived with a clear conscience before God all my life, up to this very moment.’ That set the Chief Priest Ananias off. He ordered his aides to slap Paul in the face. Paul shot back, ‘God will slap you down! What a fake you are! You sit there and judge me by the Law and then break the Law by ordering me slapped around!'”
How can Job and Paul be so bold as to claim their own righteousness when they obviously have not lived perfect lives? They stood strong on a divine handicap that people cannot see. They understood God’s grace, and theirfaith became stronger than their failures.
If we have righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, why is the world chalked full of guilt ridden, insecure Christians? Why are we not claiming the spiritual handicap that is ours, and determining our victory by the grace God gives us? I believe more Christians would claim their God-given promises and do the impossible for the kingdom of God if they truly understood what it means to be made righteous by faith.