“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8, KJV)
In the Old Testament, righteousness to the Israelites was doing what God told them to do. In the New Testament, in Paul’s grace gospel, Christ has been made onto us righteousness.
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30)
Therefore, Christ must live in us in order to BE our righteousness. We don’t and can’t work for it; we need only to believe in Christ, and we become one spirit with Christ, Christ as our life, Christ as our righteousness before God. The Holy Spirit teaches this to the born-again believer, and He comforts us in this knowledge.
So, what does this mean for our sins, our works, our daily living? Well, we’re not off the hook completely.
The Holy Spirit works in our minds, wills, and emotions through our circumstances and situations (Warren Litzman calls it the ‘C & S gang’) in our lives. The Holy Spirit steps in when we are to make decisions and choices. He guides and teaches us more and more of Christ, revealing the mind of Christ in these moments of highs and lows in our lives. Although we may still make poor choices, we are not judged or condemned, but constantly growing in the knowledge of Christ in us and our relationship with Him. We have the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, to thank as we grow up in Christ and His righteousness begins to shine through.