Whose Righteousness Anyway?, By Pastor Dean Harvey – A Transcript from his daily radio show
The second question we asked was, "Can God be righteous for us?" Before answering the question, we must ask, "Why would He want to do that?" What benefit would that be to either God or me, for God to be righteous for me? Would we want to obey for our children? With much time and effort, we teach our children to obey, and it pleases us when they choose to obey, especially for the right reasons. In the same way, it pleases God when we choose, for the right reasons, to obey Him. When we do that, we are living righteously. A friend complimented a lady recently for the good behavior of her children. Her response was, "It is not me, it is all of God." She talked as if she had nothing to do with her children’s behavior, but my friend knew that she was a very good mother, and her training was being revealed through her children. Is God a good Father?
Both Old and New Testaments tell us that we should live by faith. Some have used Eph. 2:8-9 to say that God gives us faith. If so, why doesn’t God give everyone faith. Is it really because of predestination, or election? I think not. If indeed we could receive faith from Christ, it could not rightly be called faith. Neither would it please God. God does not give anyone faith to believe. What He does give is the capacity to have faith (that is how He created us), the opportunity to have faith, and every reason to have faith (The heavens declare the glory of God.). But He cannot believe for us. If He could believe for us, then He would have the responsibility to believe for everyone. In the process, love would evaporate and mankind would essentially become robots.
The main purpose which God had in creating man in His own image was to share His love in a special relationship with creatures like Himself, creatures who can think and reason, creatures who can appreciate and respond to God’s goodness and love, creatures who have freedom of will to voluntarily choose to love Him, or to choose not to love Him. God cannot stop us from sinning unless He removes our free will, and it is our free will which is the primary ingredient in the "image of God." In the same way, God cannot be righteous for us without removing our free will, which would go against the very reason for our creation. The fact is that we are free to live righteously by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, or to live sinfully in rebellion against God. And sadly, many call themselves Christians, who are still living sinfully in rebellion against God.