In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says something very powerful. He says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (life’s needs) will be added unto you.” This is a command linked to a promise.
In the past, I have focused on “and all these things will be added” rather than the imperative command to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” While I was meditating on this verse, my eyes fell on the word “His.” What we are to seek is “His righteousness.” What Jesus is asking is not a way to build our own righteousness with God by our good works. We are not seeking to construct a self-righteousness where I relate to God based on what I have done. Rather, I relate to God on the basis of what He has done. This is not a right standing with God that comes from any good thing we might do. This is a right standing, that is to say, a right relationship with God that is given to us as a gift. This righteousness we stand in is “His righteousness.”
This gift of righteousness is given to us freely but don’t miss the amazing truth that our right standing with God came at a very high cost. God gave His only begotten Son to purchase righteousness for us. Therefore, the right standing with God we enjoy is of priceless value and should never be taken for granted. Jesus died so we could walk with Him in newness of life. Jesus shed His life’s blood so we are privileged to call God “Father” and when we call on our Father He answers.
Our sin is forgiven completely but there is more good news. Not only is our sin forgiven fully, freely and forever, but Paul says in Romans 6:5-7 “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin.” Paul goes on to say in Romans 6:10-11 “For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Beloved, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are to walk in this gift of righteousness by relating to God as our Father, realizing that we are fully alive to His Spirit and considering ourselves dead to sin. I have found that sin is like quicksand. The harder you struggle with it, the faster you sink into its suffocating power. But as we focus on God’s love for us, understanding that our sins are not only forgiven but the power of sin was defeated by the work of the cross, I can walk with God in greater degrees of holiness. Don’t get me wrong, I still sin. But sin’s grip on me is fading as I consider myself dead to its power. I am not a slave to sin anymore. Sin no longer has dominion over me. And as I renew my mind to the good news of the Gospel, I am being transformed.