In my younger years, I compared myself to certain others who appeared to be holy. These people seemed to be aglow — always upbeat, smiling, seeming much more Christlike than I. I never thought I measured up to their holiness, so I prayed, "Lord, make me righteous like Brother So-and-so. How wonderful it must be to live that way for You."
How wrong I was! These people were not who I thought they were. Indeed, I have learned that nothing is as it appears; no one is quite as evil or quite as good as he may seem. Rather, there is only One who is truly righteous — Jesus Christ our Lord — and His righteousness is perfect.
If we are in Christ, we have His righteousness and it is not attributed to us by degrees. No one receives more or less of it — rather, by faith we receive it in its fullness.
We are to measure ourselves by His righteousness alone and not by anyone else's supposed righteousness. "But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. . . . According to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you" (2 Corinthians 10:12-13).
Paul is saying here, "There's a rule you can use to measure yourself. It is this: Everyone who truly repents and believes in the perfect righteousness of Christ — who comes to Him in faith, believing in His work on the cross — is made perfectly righteous in the sight of God. You may not have everything worked out yet. There is still a daily work of sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit. But you are accepted in the beloved, imputed with the very righteousness of Christ."
Dearly beloved, it is time you stopped putting yourself either up or down as measured against others. God has imputed to you the full measure of the perfect righteousness of Christ: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).