Righteousness Of God

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Published by Kimberly Wall

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Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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When we look around us, we see the pain, tragedy, and brokenness happening in our midst. Climate change has brought flooding to the West Coast and raging wildfires on the other side. Floodwaters wash away homes, while fire burns others to ashes.

Globally, around 9 million people are dying of hunger each year. In the United States, people are grappling with an inflation rate of 9% as the rich get richer and the specter of poverty increases. War, mass shootings, racial strife, and calamities inundate and scare the whole of humanity.

We question: Where is God? Why is he allowing these bad things to happen? Is God righteous? These nagging questions engulf our reasoning and challenge the goodness, justice, and righteousness of God.

What Does The Righteousness Of God Mean?

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.

— Psalm 145:17

At the beginning of creation, everything was perfect. Our first parents had the ideal dwelling place in the garden, with all the provisions and environment to support them. Perfection existed, and true righteousness prevailed before God and man.

But sin and the Fall of Mankind[1] resulted in death, pain, and unrighteousness in our lives. Sin and disobedience have marred the perfection of rectitude. Today, we inherit these flaws and imperfections in our lives.

This godly trait is important, and the word righteousness, along with the word righteous, is mentioned 558 times in the Bible. Albert Einstein once said: “True religion is real living: living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.”

The unholy flaws of our character manifest the frail and distorted righteousness on earth. But God remains perfect and righteous. He sent his only begotten Son to take away the sins of the world and restore true uprightness. But heaven awaits faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, where perfect righteousness beckons.

Meaning Of Righteousness

Righteousness means having the character of being virtuous, respectable, or morally right. In the Old Testament, Enoch is renowned for his righteousness and is said to have walked with God, ultimately being taken to heaven without experiencing death. In the New Testament, the Greek word for righteous is dikaios, meaning righteous or just.

Righteousness is a characteristic that inherently belongs to God. This trait is revealed and manifested in the law and the teachings of Jesus Christ. God intends to transmit this wonderful trait for humankind to emulate.

Righteousness Of God

The righteousness of God is perfect, infallible, and good. This divine attribute is revealed because he demands reciprocal righteousness from his people. God leads us to a victorious Christian life because inherent righteousness belongs to him.

He abhors injustice, punishes the wicked, and rewards the victims of unrighteousness. Finally, God is always ready to forgive us for our sins and unrighteous acts if we sincerely repent.

One of the best examples of God’s righteousness is displayed in the Israelites’ desert experience in the Book of Exodus. Abraham’s faith serves as an inspiring example throughout the Bible, demonstrating unwavering trust in God’s promises. In the history of the nation of Israel, we witness the interplay of faith, God’s Word, and the importance of obeying his law. The truth revealed through scripture reveals the saving action of God in countless narratives.

The righteousness of God shines brightly in the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Their journey through the desert exemplifies the depth of God’s righteousness. Though they encountered pain, hunger, and deprivation, these experiences ultimately served as a testament to their faith and a manifestation of God’s righteous character.

Man’s Righteousness

Our heavenly Father has set the moral sense and standards for our righteousness. We find these precepts in the law of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ. God’s Word is filled with ordinances, rules, and character traits that we must develop and inculcate to be considered upright Christians.

The pursuit of faith is an overriding endeavor that validates the mark of a righteous person. Abraham, the Father of All Nations, was exemplary in his faith in that he followed and obeyed God in whatever circumstance. Genesis 15:6 reads: “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

Because of our fallen and imperfect nature, the challenge of complying with these standards of morality and virtuousness to achieve righteousness has always been a challenge. In our earthly lives, righteousness is manifested when we pay our taxes, wait in line at the grocery checkout, or give food to the hungry.

Fulfillment Of The Righteousness Of God

Paul refers to the fulfillment of the righteousness of God in his letter to the Romans. He emphasizes that through Christ’s death and resurrection, God’s declaration of righteousness in the Old Testament is made possible for all people. In Paul’s letter, he addresses both Jews and Greeks, highlighting that the very essence of right standing before God is attainable through faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul presents a proper understanding that self-righteousness, relying on one’s efforts and adherence to the law, cannot bring salvation. At present, God’s righteousness is revealed apart from the law, and it is made available to all who believe in Jesus Christ. Both Jews and Greeks, regardless of their background or nationality, can receive this free gift of righteousness.

Paul emphasizes that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. However, God removes His wrath and justifies them freely by His grace through their faith in Christ. This justification is not based on works or personal merit but is a result of God’s love and mercy through salvation. It is a free gift bestowed upon believers, bringing about reconciliation with God.

Righteousness, Justification, And Sanctification

We often confuse righteousness with justification and sanctification. All three disciplines are essential aspects that we must embody as Christians. Justification is the legal acquittal of our guilt for sin.

When we have sought repentance and God has given his forgiveness, we become justified. It does not necessarily imply that we have been declared righteous and are free to sin as we please. Righteousness is defined as a sincere attitude and effort to avoid sin and remain within God’s standards of what is right.

On the other hand, Paul explains the connection between “justification by faith” and “sanctification.” Sanctification is evidence of justification and righteousness. It is a continuing and life-long process of becoming holy through the work of the Holy Spirit.

woman raising her arms and righteousness of god

4 Aspects Of Divine Righteousness

Exploring the multifaceted nature of God’s righteousness, four distinct components define his character. In his enlightening essay, “The Righteousness of God,” Fred Zaspel outlines these four aspects.

Rectoral Righteousness

Rectoral righteousness refers to God’s role as the ultimate judge and governor of the universe. At the core of God’s righteousness lies his expectation for humanity to reflect his goodness and godliness. As the supreme authority and governor of mankind, God implores us to cultivate virtuous and godly characters. Furthermore, as the ultimate righteous judge, he both rewards the just and executes justice upon the wicked.

God’s rectoral righteousness is evident in the consequences he metes out to individuals based on their actions. Wrongdoers face divine judgment, while the righteous are rewarded according to their faithfulness. This system of punishment and reward is a reflection of God’s righteousness and his commitment to upholding moral order.

Retributive Righteousness

A crucial facet of God’s righteousness manifests in His administration of just punishments for human transgressions. This principle of divine justice was first exemplified when Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise due to their disobedience. Throughout history, God’s chosen people, the Israelites, experienced retribution as a means of discipline, serving as a testament to God’s righteous wrath.

Redemptive Righteousness

The redemptive aspect of God’s righteousness showcases his boundless love and unwavering acceptance of us, despite our sinful nature. God compassionately reaches out to us, understanding our frailties and the constant efforts of the enemy to lead us astray. Through the atoning blood of Christ Jesus, our condemnation is shattered, and we can experience reconciliation and redemption. In this divine act, believers are declared righteous.

Remunerative Righteousness

The fourth dimension of God’s righteousness encompasses the rewards he bestows upon his faithful followers, both in the present life and in the eternal splendor of his heavenly kingdom. As we steadfastly walk in righteousness, God faithfully honors and blesses us. It is important to remember that our earthly existence is temporary, but as Christians, we are granted the privilege of becoming children of God. Our ultimate and everlasting rewards await us in the realms of heaven.

Through these four aspects of divine righteousness—rectoral, retributive, redemptive, and remunerative—God’s character is revealed in all its glory. His righteousness is intertwined with his covenant faithfulness, divine grace, and saving activity, all of which serve to glorify him. Embracing these truths allows us to better understand and appreciate the righteousness of God.

Why Do People Miss The Fact That God Is Righteous?

  • Sin

Sin blocks our holy nature and relationship with God. We cannot obtain God’s righteousness if we are living against his commands and parameters of life. Repentance from our iniquities, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is the key to unlocking God’s righteousness in our lives.

Through the transformative work of Christ Jesus, we are reconciled to God, and His righteousness, along with his grace and the gift of salvation, becomes our covering. It is through God’s righteousness and the work of the Holy Spirit that we are declared righteous. This is God’s gift to us, so we can glorify God.

  • Lack Of Faith

God, in his very nature, is inherently righteous. But our shallow faith hinders us from having a deeper understanding of God and his goodness. With blind faith, we are unable to fully appreciate God’s love for us and the virtues in our lives. God declares through Christ Jesus that we should live not by sight but by faith.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” It is through faith in Jesus that we align ourselves with God’s righteousness and experience His transformative power. By glorifying God, we demonstrate our trust in his righteous character. To become a righteous man in God’s sight is our spiritual worship.

  • Lack Of Trust

Our lack of faith consequently leads us not to trust God in our daily affairs. We tend to think that bad things will happen to us at work or at home. The work of the enemy prevails, whispering to us that God will not help us during bad times or moments of need.

However, by recognizing God’s covenant faithfulness, God’s promises, and God’s saving activity through Christ Jesus, we can overcome our lack of trust. By understanding God’s power, God’s faithfulness, and the abundance of God’s grace, we can place our complete trust in his righteousness and his ability to sustain us in all circumstances.

  • Thinking That God Is Not Just

Because of the pain and brokenness we experience and the turmoil and injustice happening on Earth, we sometimes conclude that God is unfair and not just. We then arrive at the fallacious conclusion that God judges erroneously and is not righteous. However, it is crucial to recognize that God’s righteousness is inseparable from his divine nature. He is the righteous judge who will ultimately bring justice to all.

Our limited perspective often fails to grasp the grandeur of his plan and the depth of his righteousness. Through faith and a deeper understanding of God’s righteousness, we can glorify him and trust in his perfect justice, even in the face of earthly turmoil and injustice. It is through God’s righteousness that eternal punishment for sin is ultimately addressed.

25 Bible Verses About The Righteousness Of God

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens; you have accomplished great things; who is like you, O God?

— Psalm 71:19

The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is exalted in power, and he will not do violence to justice and abundant righteousness.

— Job 37:23

But the Lord of Hosts will be exalted in judgment, and the holy God will show himself holy in righteousness.

— Isaiah 5:16

Therefore, the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us, for the Lord, our God, is righteous with respect to all His deeds that he has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.

Daniel 9:14

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.

— Psalm 145:17

I bring near My righteousness; it is not far off, and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel.

— Isaiah 46:13

Righteous are You, O Lord, that I would plead my case with You. Indeed, I would discuss matters of justice with You: Why has the way of the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery so at ease?

— Jeremiah 12:1 

And he will judge the world in righteousness; he will execute judgment for the people with equity.

— Psalm 9:8

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, and surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

— Isaiah 41:10 

O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me.

— John 17:25

At the sound of those who divide flocks among the watering places, there they shall recount the righteous deeds of the Lord, the righteous deeds for His peasantry in Israel. Then the people of the Lord went down to the gates.

— Judges 5:11

So now, take your stand, that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord that he did for you and your fathers.

— 1 Samuel 12:7

But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is he? (I am speaking in human terms.)

— Romans 3:5

O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left as an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.  

— Ezra 9:15

The Lord is righteous because I disobeyed His command. Hear now, all you people, and see my anguish; my virgins and my young men have been taken captive.

— Lamentations 1:18

I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the level; then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the secret place.

— Isaiah 28:17

For the choir director, on stringed instruments, a Psalm of David: Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me of my distress; be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

— Psalm 4:1

In the future, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.

2 Timothy 4:8

And I will bring them back, and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem, and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.

— Zechariah 8:8

Judge me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness, And do not let them rejoice over me.

— Psalm 35:24

The Lord is righteous within her; he will do no injustice. Every morning he brings His justice to light; he does not fail. But the unjust knows no shame.

— Zephaniah 3:5

But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, who tries the feelings and the heart, let me see Your vengeance on them, for to You have I committed my cause.

— Jeremiah 11:20

Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?

— Genesis 18:25

The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, turning the wicked to ruin.

— Proverbs 21:12

But even if you suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.

— 1 Peter 3:14
hand reaching out to the sun and righteousness of god

Summary

We believe in the perfection of God and his precepts, and we aim for uprightness in all aspects of our lives. But how do we measure the perfect standards of morality that God sets and the correct virtuous parameters that other people set? Instead, we should focus on our continuing pursuit of sanctification, which makes us right with God.

Despite all the pain, injustice, and unrighteousness we experience in our earthly existence, our God remains faultless and righteous. God will imminently judge the earth and the whole of humanity with perfect justice. Heaven awaits God’s elect, and the time will come when we will gain eternal life where the righteousness of God prevails.

2 thoughts on “Righteousness Of God”

  1. Amen YES I RECEIVE it AMEN I WILL TRUST in the Lord Jesus Christ AMEN JEHOVAH JIREH Amen My Father In Heaven above my Life Forevermore Amen Thank you Jesus

    Reply
  2. I get it…. I’m just a bit lost in the true direction as there are so many voices out there that say 1)you are saved by grace thru faith -not thru your own righteousness but as the gift of God so no man can boast -2) If your not doing ( abc ect ) your not really saved as you have good works to do but if you don’t know what it is ???? Hard to hear esp when your an average person like me with a past that’s not pretty

    Reply

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