Paul writes, ‘Everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness… he is a babe.’ Righteousness isn’t a condition you achieve through human effort, it’s a position God places you in when you trust in Christ. From then on, God wants you to see yourself as ‘righteous’, which is how He sees you.
‘By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed… to all and on all who believe.’ (Romans 3:20–22 NKJV) If you’re struggling to be righteous to get into Heaven, read this: ‘He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV) In the same sense that God made Jesus ‘to be sin’, the moment you believe in Jesus, He makes you ‘to be righteous’.
Will you still sin because you live in an unregenerate body? Yes. And until you get your new body, that will always be so. Ever hear of phantom pain—a sensation stemming from a body part that’s no longer there? As believers, we have phantom pains we need to get rid of. How? By understanding the difference between our position and our condition. Our position ‘in Christ’ is what gives us confidence towards God. Here’s an important Scripture: ‘The Kingdom of God is… righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ (Romans 14:17 NKJV) Note the order. Because we know we’re deemed righteous in God’s eyes, we have peace, and because we have peace—we have joy.