I AM RIGHTEOUS

 

I'm righteous! This sounds so prideful. Yet that is how God sees us when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As a boy growing up in church, I saw people who thought they were righteous and would tell you so, but I didn't want to be like them because the way they acted in church was different than when they were not in church

I now understand that they weren't righteous, just religious. Our righteousness is not of ourselves, but a gift from God. In fact, without this gift we are most unrighteous. God by His very nature is righteous, and He gives us the gift of righteousness so we can fellowship with Him through praise and worship.

There is none righteous.
Paul writing by the Spirit of God in Romans chapter 3, states in verses 10-12, "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

The prophet Jeremiah, also speaking the words of God by His spirit said in chapter 17, verse 9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Well, God knows our hearts and He says they are desperately wicked.

And in Isaiah 64:6, God speaking through His servant said, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." It should be very clear that we are not righteous because of our imperfect and wicked hearts.

Righteousness is not of the law.
Not only are we by our very nature unrighteous, we cannot make our selves righteous through word or deed. We cannot be good enough or obey any or all commandments to become righteous. Righteousness only comes through faith in the blood of Jesus or stated another way, faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

This is defined in 1st Corinthians chapter 15 as the Gospel. In Galatians 2:21, Paul states, "I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." If you think obeying the 10 Commandments makes you righteous, you frustrate the grace of God, Jesus died in vain for you and you are still dead in your sins.

Paul writing in Philippians, chapter 3 is talking about counting all that he is as dung so that he may win Christ and in verse 9, "And be found in him (Jesus), not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:" Trying to keep the Law of Moses is self righteousness, which is pride.

Righteousness comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. If we were righteous of our own accord, we would not need Jesus. He said in Mark 2:17, "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Paul stated in 1st Timothy 1:9 that the law was not made for a righteous man. (You can read my teaching on the 10 Commandments by clicking this link. Scroll down to The Law is not for you).

Righteousness is revealed in the Gospel.
Paul writing to the church at Rome, declares in chapter 1, verses 16-17, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith."

Continuing on in chapter 10, verse 4, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Believe what? Let's read verses 9 and 10. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Even though our hearts are desperately wicked, God sees us as righteous if we believe that He raised Jesus from the dead.

God sees us as righteous.
In the book of Habakkuk, chapter 1, verse 13, the prophet is speaking about God; "Thou are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity:" If God is so pure that He cannot look upon our evil hearts, how does he view us as righteous?

Thank God for the prophet Isaiah. He wrote in chapter 61, verse 10, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." God has covered our unrighteousness with a robe of righteousness when we believe the Gospel.

In Romans chapter 4, verse 3, Paul is talking about Abraham, who was before the law and before Jesus, "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." When we believe God and what he did for us when he raised Jesus from the dead, we are righteous. It was Abraham's faith in God that made him righteous. And it is our faith in God through Jesus that makes us righteous.

God leads us in righteousness.
Psalm 145:17, declares, "The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." As I stated earlier, God's very nature is righteousness. John writing in his first epistle, states in chapter 3, verse 7, "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous."

If you read this with Psalm 23:3 which states, "...he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake," it becomes clear we are righteous when we do righteous acts, but it is God that leads us in these paths of righteousness and it is for His sake and His glory, not our own.

Again, we cannot achieve it on our own. The Pharisees were the teachers of the law and Jesus stated in Matthew 5:20, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." The only way our righteousness can exceed that of the law is by believing God, not following a set of rules.

Benefits of walking in the righteousness of God.
Jesus stated in Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." And in teaching about all the things we need in life (food, clothing, shelter, etc.), he stated in Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." When we seek the righteousness of God, we are blessed in all our needs.

Why? "For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright." (Psalm 11:7). We experience the love of God when we walk in His righteousness. Isaiah in chapter 32:17 stated, "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." Peace and quiet comes from the righteousness of God.

The book of James, chapter 5:16 declares, "...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Our prayers bring results. And in Ephesians chapter 6, Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God so we can withstand evil and part of this armor is the "breastplate of righteousness".

One of the blessings that has been most encouraging to me is the account in Genesis 18, where Abraham settled with the Lord that the righteous will not be judged with the wicked. When, as stated in Psalm 91, there is evil, destruction, pestilence and famine all around us, "it shall not come nigh thee." That alone is enough to make one believe God!

 

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