Being righteous and doing right are related and dependent upon one another, but not the way most people understand. Most people think being righteous is dependent upon doing right, but it is the exact opposite. Doing right is dependent upon being righteous.
I was told, and I believed for many years, that I was a sinner. And as a sinner, I needed to do right. I was, in essence, being told to live in contradiction to what I was. The truth is, I was a sinner when Jesus found me, but He MADE me righteous.
Through His blood and not by or because of my good behavior, I was born a second time and became a new creature with a new nature and a new identity. Based upon this and this alone, I am not a sinner anymore and will never be one again. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I am no longer trying to live in contradiction to what I am.
Now that I have been made righteous, I have the wherewithal to do right. The more my mind is reconditioned to my new nature and new identity, the more my life reflects the reality of the righteousness I have become. So being right and doing right are dependent upon one another. But trying to “do” right in order to “be” right is futile and unacceptable to God. Because He made me right, I “be” right, and because I “be” right, I can “do” right.
I humbly and joyfully submit myself to the righteousness of God.