Clothed in Christ: His Righteousness

By Jim Olsen

Key Verse
Eph 4:24 “and to put on (endyo) the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness (dikaios) and holiness.”

Wearing Christ just like he was clothing; not a familiar concept to westerners, but the Apostles used the analogy quite often. That’s because, in all the world, there is nothing more protective than a relationship with God. The Greek word, endyo, means ‘clothe’ and as we’re finding out through this world-wide pandemic, we need Jesus now more than ever. Clothing is right next to our skin and while our world is being shaken; we need that protection. We need to go back to believing in a first person faith; a Jesus that is part of our daily lives, who actually lives inside us. The idea of Jesus seated only in heaven is foreign to the Bible writers. The Apostles understood that Christ and his attributes are to be ‘put on’ or worn as clothing. Jesus wants his followers to be covered with himself, his Spirit.


Rom 13:14 “Instead, clothe (endyo) yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”


There are many attributes that we are to put on as clothing. Paul goes through an extensive list when describing the armor of God, how we are to fight to maintain and share our faith. But, the analogy goes much further than just armor used in battle; both Christ and the Apostles want us to wear God’s attributes as our everyday clothing. The concept of being clothed with the Spirit started at the day of Pentecost, where Jesus said, wait “until you have been clothed (endyo) with power from on high. (Luke 24:39).”


In this session, we’ll look at Christ’s righteousness. It’s an essential part of our faith and should be considered part of our everyday clothing, making his righteousness part of our lives. The Bible’s definition of righteousness is subtlety different than the one you learned in school. Righteousness in English means “morally right or justifiable; virtuous.” To our modern culture, righteousness is based on actions. A righteous person is one found to be doing virtuous actions.


The Bible speaks of a different kind of righteousness. It uses at least three Greek words: dikaios, dikaiosyne, and dikaioo, all of which mean “innocence, faultless, guiltless.” You see, the Bible’s interpretation of righteous is primarily based in the result of a virtuous life, rather than the actions leading to it. That’s because Christ is our righteousness and he is the only human in all of history who was ever able to please God perfectly. He was God’s own son, born without sin. The good news of the Gospel is that Christ purchased perfect righteousness for us; we need to clothe ourselves in it.

Eph 4:24 “and to put on (endyo) the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness (dikaios) and holiness.”

Except for love, there is nothing more important than knowing that Christ considers you ‘innocent, faultless and guiltless.’  Paul identified righteousness as a part of your spiritual armor; what you need to stand on when trials come. He called the clothing a ‘breastplate,’ a part of the armor that covers your most vital organ, your heart. In these times of trial, especially when you are alone, it’s easy to hear words that condemn, depress and criticize, memories have a way of haunting us. Wearing righteousness stops self-accusations and those from the enemy in a heartbeat: God considers me innocent.


Eph 6:14 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness (dikaios) arrayed,”



Righteousness doesn’t come from obedience to rules; it’s imparted to us by God. Paul clearly stated that ‘no one’ is justified by obeying the law. In fact, the whole Old Testament can be summed up in one saying: “Man’s righteousness never worked; the law can’t change your heart, it only informs you of what you are doing wrong.” The reverse is true; once you clothe yourself with God’s righteousness, you are now given the ability to choose what is right, because your heart is changed, wearing righteousness gives you an innocent heart. Innocence comes from justification; a Greek word related to righteousness, dikaioo, which means ‘to render innocent.’


Rom 3:20 “Therefore no one will be justified (dikaioo) in His sight by works of the law. For the law merely brings awareness of sin.  21 But now, apart from the law, the righteousness (dikaios) of God has been revealed, as attested by the Law and the Prophets. “


So, to be proclaimed innocent, blameless and spotless, you need God’s type of righteousness. It’s a righteousness you can put on as clothing or armor. It comes from God. The question is: How do I get it? The answer is faith; righteousness comes by exercising faith, trusting that what God has promised, he is able to perform. So, it’s imparted, personally, to you. Start by believing the fantastic news that Jesus loves me and is preparing a kingdom for me. Believe that Jesus rose from the dead, confess it with your mouth, and then put some legs on your faith. Read his word and obey. Acting out your faith is easy; start by showing compassion and love to another person, encouraging their day. Bear in mind; righteounes sonly comes from God, the Bible clearly states, everyone has sinned, there is no one righteous in himself.


Rom 3:22 “And this righteousness (dikaios) from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction,  23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  24 and are justified (dikaioo) freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”


The idea that God would declare someone righteous by faith originated before God gave the law to Moses. Abraham was the father of faith. This faith declared him righteous. What he did was believe God’s promise: That a son would be born to him in old age, an impossibility considering his wife’s Sarah’s age. He believed and also acted on God’s promise, making him the father of all who believe God. Abraham was reckoned righteous because of his faith.


Rom 4:20 “Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through disbelief in the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,  21 being fully persuaded that God was able to do what He had promised.  22 That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness (dikaios).”


So, let’s take this righteousness personal. Stop now. Ask Jesus for his gift of righteousness. As you pray, listen for what he’ll tell you. Ignore the words of doubt that say “I’m not good enough,” for no one deserves forgiveness. Recognize God’s power breaks any vow you may have made to stay under condemnation. Jesus says – “seek first the kingdom of God.” That means you start saying “thank you” instead of worrying about the future. It means trusting in his love for us and showing it by loving others, doing good… “Perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18.)  Take a new look at the following words.


Matt 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For the pagans strive after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.  33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (dikaios), and all these things will be added unto you.”


Jesus has the greatest exchange in history waiting for you. He is here right now, ready to carry your heavy burden, forgive your sin. For the first time in your life you can know that you are righteous, clean, perfect spotless. The God of the universe who formed every cell in your body, who even knows every thought you’ve ever had, has the full authority to proclaim you perfectly righteous and innocent. Because of that proclamation, you’ll start acting like the person he’s made you to be. And you’ll soon see, your life will change, because righteous people live righteous lives. And you are the righteousness of God in Christ.


2 Cor 5:21 “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness (dikaios) of God.”