It’s amazing what a change of perspective can do for our understanding. Imagine for a moment, a seven year old boy hearing the words, “He’s a good boy.” He overhears his father saying that about him to another adult, and he takes pride in the way that his father sees him. He hears it being said of another boy and becomes envious and acts out aggressively.
If he hears it being spoken to a new babysitter before his parents go out for the evening, he may use those words as motivation to behave well while they’re gone. If he misbehaves but hears the babysitter saying anyway, “He was a good boy,” several things would probably happen. While considering himself pretty lucky to have gotten away with it, he may also feel a certain sense of guilt (however short-lived it may be).
Of course, the boy is the same person in each of these circumstances. He hasn’t changed at all. Only the context or perspective has.
Now put yourself in the shoes of the little boy. We’re told that, thanks to the dying work of Jesus, we’re considered righteous (another word for good) in the eyes of God. At times we may take pride in knowing how God sees us. At other times, to think that someone else may be forgiven, especially for the way they acted, may very well result in a self-righteous attitude not unlike a seven year old boy’s.
Sometimes, however, we can’t see how it is possible to be considered righteous, knowing what we know about ourselves and all that we’ve done. This is where faith comes in, for we believe in “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” (Rom. 4:17.)
Think about that for a moment: God calls things that are not as though they were! This is not a case of God lying or trying to put a good spin on things. He can call things that are not as though they were because he has the power to make them so. He created the heavens and the earth by speaking them into existence. Jesus, as God in human form, raised Lazarus from the dead simply by calling out to him. If the God of the universe can do those things, we can be “fully persuaded that God [has] power to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:21) in calling us righteous. Allow that to change your perspective, and then delight in how God sees you.