What is righteousness?
Just like the word sounds, it indicates behavior that is morally justifiable or right. Comes from the English word “rightwise,” meaning in the right way.
tsedeq/tsedaqah – honesty, justice, merits, right, righteousness, righteous acts/deeds, vindication. It is a diving attribute and one that humans should strive to develop.
dikaiosune – used to describe conduct in relation to others, especially in business or legal matters. Frequently used as an indication that one is innocent of a crime of which they have been accused. Contrasted with wickedness.
The same word is also translated as “justification,” showing that the two English words, righteousness and justification, refer to two sides of the same idea and are very closely related.
How does righteousness differ from holiness?
The meaning of holiness is associated with being separated or called out. We are called out to be a righteous people, so the words overlap in meaning, but differ in emphasis.
What are “faith-based” and “works-based” righteousness, and what is up with the big discussion surrounding them?
It is important to understand that we could never be righteous on our own:
(Ecclesiastes 7:20) “There is not a righteous man on earth.”
(Psalm 14:2-3) “No one does good, not even one.”
(Romans 3:10) “No one is righteous.”
(James 2:10) if you stumble in one point, you are guilty of breaking the whole law.
Our righteousness is a gift from God:
(Romans 3:21-23) “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
(Romans 3:24) we are “justified by His grace, as a gift.”
(Romans 5:1) “We have been justified by faith.”
(Romans 5:17) “the gift of righteousness…”
(Ephesians 2:8-9) of salvation… “It is the gift of God, not a result of works, that no one may boast.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21) “He made Him who knew no sin… that we might become…”
(Titus 3:5-7) “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
(Genesis 15:6) “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”
Trying to earn our salvation by works is pointless, or worse:
(Galatians 5:4) “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
So how do we reconcile this with verses on the importance of righteous actions on our part?
(Romans 8:13) “If you live according to the flesh, you will die.”
(Sermon on the mount) “know them by their fruits… he who does the will of My Father in heaven will enter… he who hears my words and acts on them/does not act on them”
(James 2:17) “Faith without works is dead.”
(1 John 3:9) “No one who is born of God practices sin/will keep on sinning.”
(Hebrews 10:26) “If we keep on sinning deliberately/willfully, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…”
(1 Peter 3:12) “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” The righteous and “those who do evil” are separate groups of people. It appears that you cannot be both.
Why are these verses in the Bible? What do they tell us?
(2 Timothy 2:22) “pursue righteousness…”
(1 Corinthians 9:27) “I discipline my body… so that I myself will not be disqualified.”
An important verse to consider:
(1 John 2:29) “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”
(Philippians 1:11) “Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
What does this verse mean?
(Matthew 5:20) “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Can I be kept out of heaven for being unrighteous, even if I am a baptized believer?
(Revelation 2:5) “repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.”
(Revelation 2:16) “repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.”
(Revelation 2:22) “Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.”
In other words, they need to make things right with God by changing their actions, or else.
What is it that they need to repent of, and how will they know when they have repented? What punishment follows if they do not?
(1 Corinthians 6:9) a whole list of people who do certain actions will not inherit the kingdom of God.
What are the main components of day-to-day righteous living?
It is a practice:
(1 John 3:7) “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.”
We live by principles set up ahead of time:
(Genesis 39:6-10) Joseph did the right thing despite consequences.
(1 Peter 3:14) “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled”
“Do right by” those in your life:
(Isaiah 33:15-16) “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil.”
(Psalm 106:3) “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!”
(Ezekiel 18:5-9) “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not… lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel… does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.”
What are some common but meaningful examples of doing the right thing?
Giving back too much change… etc.
What is “righteous indignation” and should I have it?
(Psalm 7:11) “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” An anger which is right to have.
It may sometimes be appropriate. See thoughts and scriptures on “wrath”