“What’s the big deal about righteousness?” you might ask. “As a matter of fact, what in the heck is it and why should I care?” might be closer to the truth, perhaps?
Aha! It’s OK. I hadn’t always known about it or what it is, either. Why don’t we do this? I’ll give you the basics, but you at the same time, please cement this suggestion into your thinking: You will never want to let this term, never-ever want to let this term slip out of your vocabulary—once you recognize its significance, OK?
Very briefly, perhaps associate a shorter word and phrase with it, OK? Righteousness is to be declared right … with God. Think of the term justice and its entire concept. Associate just with right. Righteousness is to be declared just; just with God.
So build upon it, briefly … as it pertains to you. Since you have sinned (e.g. lied, lusted, hated, etc.) before a holy God and perfect, just Judge—you owe for the fine. The wage? Death. So, this is where Jesus comes in. Jesus didn’t owe God’s court anything, because He never committed any moral crimes or sins, right? Jesus is perfect, because Jesus is God in the flesh.
So again, where are you in this matter? Well, guilty, for one. How about Jesus? Innocent, right? Right. This is where righteousness comes in. Guilty people need a pardon, right? They need to be declared just or right or righteous before God. Else, the fine is pretty hefty. Death, eternal death. In other words, Hell.
We still have a problem, though. How do you get Christ’s blemish-less record over to your account? This is a pretty big problem and gap, no? Absolutely! But you know what? Big problem, small God—yes?
Conversely: BIG GOD, small problem. Yes? You know it!
(This is a partial excerpt from NO WAY DUDE – How You Got to Heaven)