Tough going? The way seems rugged, hilly, twisted and crooked? Well, no matter what the problems are, your Christian walk need not be hindered by it. If you are sinning; if your life is confused, and you don’t know which way to turn next, that need not happen. How do I know that? Because I read these words from in God’s Word:
The path of the righteous is level; You clear a straight path for the righteous.—Isaiah 26:7.
But what does it mean to be righteous? To put the word in simple terms it means to be “right” in God’s sight.
Ah, but how can one be right? First, he must be justified. This takes place by a once-for-all judicial act in which God declares a person “righteous” before Him. But how can that be, since we are all sinners?
A person is justified by faith. Faith in what?
In Jesus Christ. When he hears about the Good News and believes it, it is faith that makes the difference. The good news is that Jesus died, taking the punishment for all those sinners who would believe the good news. The good news (or Gospel) is that Christ died for sinners and rose again from the dead (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Believe that He took your punishment for your sin and you will be justified before God.
But it isn’t forensic (declared) righteousness about which the passage is speaking—it is talking to those who have already been justified (declared righteous), who can actually become righteous before God in their daily walk because they are His children, and are doing His will. This righteousness is actual righteousness by which one, through the help of the Holy Spirit, more and more obeys God, day by day becoming more like Jesus.
Live righteously—doing what Christ commanded—and you can expect a level path. That doesn’t mean trouble will be removed, but that, as you face it, God will clear your way through it.