Many people have a difficulty in understanding how God can make a terrible sinner into a saint by just his believing in Jesus. What if he continues his sinful lifestyle? What if he doesn’t feel any different and still commits the very same sins that he was bound to before he believed? Doesn’t that just go to prove that he is still a sinner and not a righteous man? Let me tell you, that you did not become a sinner when you committed your first sin; rather you were born a sinner because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Now Adam and Eve were created righteous by God, but when they first sinned they became ashamed of their nakedness. Why is that so, weren’t they naked all the while? It is because as soon as they sinned they lost their righteousness. Until now they were more conscious of God and not conscious of their flesh, but sin changed their focus to the flesh and their eyes were opened and they soon felt like they were not worthy to stand in front of God, so they hid themselves from God [Genesis 3:7-8]. We the descendants of Adam were born without righteousness because of the sin nature that we inherited from Adam. In the same manner you do not become righteous because of the good life that you lead but it is because of the righteous life that Jesus lived on earth and because of His death on the cross for you and me, He obtained righteousness and He gives it to us.
Know this, that the Word of God says that God made Jesus to become sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ [2 Corinthians 5:21]. Now if Jesus lived a sinless life, how could He become sin? To understand this you must know that in the Old Testament law when a person sinned, he had to offer a sacrifice for his sin, that sacrifice would usually be an innocent lamb without blemish. When the lamb was sacrificed, the sin of the offender was transferred to the lamb and the innocence or purity of the lamb was transferred to the offender, like an exchange and the man (offender) became justified. Jesus did the very same thing by becoming the Passover lamb for us and he took upon Himself the sin of mankind and gave us His righteousness. This is very well explained by Paul in [Romans 5:12-21]. I have illustrated this in the adjoining figure. Therefore by the grace of God we are given the gift of righteousness or made righteous, once we have this gift from God, no manner of sin is greater than the righteousness of God and therefore cannot contaminate it. So you are eternally sealed with this righteousness.
You may be wondering how God’s righteousness will work in your life. How will you know that you possess it? Jesus said in [John 3:3] (NRSV) “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Being born again or born from above means to be born of the Holy Spirit, this is all about your spirit; your body and soul remain the same, but you have a new spirit birthed in you. This spirit is created in righteousness and holiness [Ephesians 4:24] and this is the righteousness of Jesus that is present in you. This Spirit is just like Jesus, absolutely identical and not just a mere imitation. In this spirit we are equal and one with Jesus and have therefore become children of God and joint-heirs with Christ [Romans 8:16-17].