Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Discipleship

Righteousness

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Righteousness is defined as conformity to God's Law, both from our heart and deeds, inside and outside. Faith is the instrument for Righteousness but not the cause. Christ is the cause.
The word Righteousness appears 35 times in the book of Romans.
 
Psalm 4:3; Isa. 28:17; 32:17; Matt. 5:6; 24:45; Rom. 3:22; 12:1; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 3:6-7; Eph. 1:3-4; 3:17; 4:20-24; Phil. 3:9; Col. 2:7; 1 Thess. 5:22; 2 Tim. 2:22-24; Heb. 10:10; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; 2:9; 4:1-2; 1 John 2:6
 
Righteousness is defined as conformity to God's Law, both from our heart and deeds, inside and outside. No one can attain it apart from perfect adherence to the law; Christ was the only one in all of human history to do it. No one can attain it without Divine intervention; righteousness to please God must come from God Himself. Because we all are corrupted by sin, and unable to live according to God's perfect standards. Thus it must be a gift from God! Even though some people are better than others, your neighbor versus Stalin, both are guilty in view of God's perspective. (vs. 1: 10; 17). Our only hope is in the Person and Work of our Lord.
 
           Our ability to be good and holy is only because of the "effect" of redemption (what Christ did for me on the cross, which we did not deserve) not the "cause," (the cause is how we are, receiving grace and forgiveness) never confuse the two or you will have pride and arrogance because you will think you deserved it.
 
Righteousness in the Covenant of the Old Testament Law was a requirement. We are not obligated to it under grace¾no need to follow those 619+ laws¾but we should still desire to honor and glorify Christ and follow His precepts. If Christ has a hold of us, we can and should respond with a lifestyle and attitude of Righteousness! Our behaviors show our heart and our heart shows who is in it¾Christ or the desire of sin. If you are grounded in love, you will exhibit love; if you are steeped in sin, you will show sin. Yes, God's mercy endures forever. However, our only hope is in the Person and Work of our Lord (Phil. 3:9).
 

Faith is the instrument for Righteousness but not the cause. Christ is the cause. Righteousness comes only by faith in Christ. Sola Fide, ("by faith alone") is the Reformational slogan that challenged and solidified what the Bible and the Christian faith was all about. This act is divinely initiated. It is grounded in the obedience of Christ who fulfilled the requirements for us. It is based on the faithfulness of our Lord, and not of our goodness. Our goodness comes from God's working in us so we produce Fruit. Remember that all have fallen short of God's standards; sin has affected all of our being and all that of the world's. Even if we had not actually committed any evil, it is still our nature to do so. We have all sinned, some more than others, but the smallest sin falls way short of God's requirements. This is what "total depravity" and "original sin" are all about (Rom. 3:21-26; 1 Cor. 15:42-49; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:24; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:10). Growing in faith, education, and commitment will prevent the practice of sin even though sin will still be present.

 
When we do not seek Righteousness, we are arguing with God or seeking loopholes to escape our responsibility (Luke 10:29; James 4:1). These bad characters will allow us to seek ourselves and sin, and not Christ. These rotten fruits will prevent us from putting on faith and Christ, thus our lives will be in stress and dysfunction.
 

The goal of the Christian life is to pursue righteousness, character, and maturity, all of which we get from the workings of the Spirit in us (Matt. 7:16-18; John 15:4-8; Gal. 2:22-23). If you feel stale and dry from lack of love and sympathy in your life, especially with God, you may have a big problem! Drop to your knees in surrendered prayer and seek His face! (Keep in mind that emotional levels differ with each personality; God does not care about our emotional level, only our faith, trust, and response for what He has done.) Seek what is blocking you from pursuing Righteousness and the understanding others and having sympathy. A true test of how Righteousness is working in us is the amount of love and sympathy we have for one another and the lost. This is what leads us to pray for even those we do not like. When we have faith in God, then we must have faith in His Word and be against everything that stands against it!

 

Understanding Righteousness will help us understand who we are in Christ, what He is doing in us, in others, and in the world, and then what He requires of us. We then can respond better and faster to the opportunities and call He has for us. As we draw near to Him, we know and hear Him better! Let us live our lives and lead our churches because of the love and Righteousness He gives to us. Then, we can respond with gratitude and follow His good example in worship and servant hood.

© 1992, 2001, 2005 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word www.intothyword.com

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