Romans 8:4 …in order
that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in
us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
What does the word righteous mean anyway? Most of you reading
this are church workers, maybe you went to a Concordia or the Seminary. You can
offer a dictionary definition of Biblical righteousness, but it’s still a vague
idea in our hearts for the most part. People throw around words like spotless,
holiness, to justify, made right, acts of good moral behavior, but Christ’s
righteousness is so profound that it’s hard to put it in a text box and wrap
our minds around the concept (even after 4 years of Seminary!). Christ is Right, therefore we are right with
God. We can’t do it on our own. We are justified, made holy, spotless when God
sees us, because Christ walked this Earth, died, and rose for us. He welcomes
us in our baptisms, declares us spotless! Blameless! Holy! Right!
How does righteousness affect us in our horizontal
relationships then? How do we “walk according to the Spirit” instead of the
flesh…because we are made right by Christ?
Well, don’t miss the slightly comical word association here.
How many arguments in our married relationships are about wanting to be right?
We don’t want to give up our conviction, in the moment, that we are right, by
golly, and our spouse simply needs to be able to see it. We plow forward,
desperate to show them our point of view. We become more impassioned. Our tone
changes. We stop seeing our spouse. We look through them and can only see our
own perspective. We stop seeing them as a highly valued child of God and see
them as a roadblock.
In that moment, God invites us to see true righteousness. We
have the Spirit of Christ in us. In that moment, we can look our spouse in the
eye and see the Spirit of Christ in them. We can see rightness, and holiness,
and one loved by God. This changes everything. If I see you as holy and
valuable, how will my language change, my tone change, my heart change?
Christ alone makes us right. Nothing in our marriage or our
communication failures can change that. However, God gives us a place in
marriage to honor what Christ has declared. We can see righteousness, instead
of simply being right for a moment.