Saturday, August 20, 2011
"RIGHTEOUSNESS- WHAT IT MEANS"
Good Evening to All!
I would like to explore the word "Righteousness" tonight. I looked up righteousness in Webster's Dictionary, and of course it took more than that to find the definition, because it said, "the quality or state of being righteous, just or rightful. (2) Righteous conduct.
I wanted to go a bit deeper than that of course, so I looked up righteous. It had this to say. (1) Characterized by uprightness or morality. (2) Morally right or justifiable. (3) acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous. Good and honest.
I have to tell y'all something. I was just going through looking for a picture to add to my post when I ran across a picture that said "Obedience doesn't make you righteous". Well, I may be wrong, but according to God's Word, He says obedience is even better than sacrifice. Therefore, obedience is pretty high on His list of "better do it". If the person who put that picture in there had read their Bible, they would know that God tells us to do everything that the word righteous means. We are to be honest, good, chaste, ethical, just and so on. Therefore if we do these things we are being obedient to His Word. I sometimes think people don't think about what they are saying. They just want to see themselves in print. LOL!
This is what my New King James Version Reference Bible has to say about the word Righteousness.
What is righteousness? Most of us immediately think of a person trying to keep a list of rules, like a little boy or girl who never steps over the line. when Paul speaks of righteousness in Romans, he means far more than this commonsense understanding of the word. He draws on the Old Testament concept of righteousness, which speaks of a proper relationship between God and a person, or between God and His People.
In the Old Testament, righteousness is fundamentally an attribute of God (Ps. 71:15, 119:42). he alone is truly righteous. He is the One who remains faithful, to His promises, His covenant with Israel, and the Law. In turn, the Israelites as God's people had the responsibility to exemplify God's righteousness on this earth. Ultimately, this meant they had to love and worship the living God alone. The Law of Moses, could be summed up in that command and its corollary (natural consequence or result) "You shall love your neighbor as yourself". (Lev. 19:18; Mark 12:31). Tragically, the Israelites did not comply. They proved unfaithful to the covenant, although God proved Himself as faithful. By sending prophets to His people, the Lord warned them again and again of their sinfulness. Finally He had to discipline them, with famine, military defeat, and even exile in Babylon. But God remained faithful, and He restored His people to the land and to Himself when they repented and turned to Him.
After their return from Babylon, the Israelites confused righteousness with a strict adherence to the Law as recorded in the Pentateuch. Indeed, the Jewish religious leaders added numerous amendments to the Law to ensure that no one would inadvertently break it. Zealous obedience to the Law was equated with righteousness. Yet mere external compliance to a set or rules did not please the Lord. What God wanted was repentant, humbled hearts that truly worshiped Him. He wanted to be the God of their hearts and minds, and the center of their devotion.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul clearly states that no one has achieved this standard; no one has completely loved and worshiped the Lord as they should (3:23). All have sinned. No good work or outward appearance of piety (reverence for God, or devout fulfillment of religious obligations) can restore a proper relationship with the Holy One (Isaiah 64:6). ON the one hand, the Gentiles did not pursue a right relationship with their Creator, so they had been given over to all kinds of evil (1:18-31).
On the other hand the Jews through external obedience of the Law and their traditions were attempting to justify themselves before God (9:31-32). Both failed. Jesus is the only One who can stand before the glorious God: He is the only One who is truly righteous. Remarkably, He has offered us a way out of our slavery to sin. By placing our faith and trust in Him, we can be declared righteous. We can have a righteousness that has nothing to do with our own works but instead relies on Jesus' sinless life and His sacrificial death for our sins. The Lord forgives us and declares us righteous because of our identification by faith with the righteousness of His Son 94:5). Through Jesus, we can finally be released from the guilt of our sins. Not only can we approach the Holy One in praise and thankfulness, but we can do God's will.
I for some reason have never had a clear idea as to what this word actually meant. I have heard it used many, many times, but my mind didn't stop to really think about that specific word and its meaning. It just kind of went in one ear and out the other, until tonight. I had started my post (on another subject) and was looking up some verses. I had said a short prayer asking God to give me an idea of what HE wanted me to post about, and then rather than waiting on His answer, I just took it upon myself to choose. While looking up the verses I was researching, my eyes stopped on the word "righteousness" and I knew that's what I was suppose to post about.
Just in case there are more people like me out there who aren't sure about the actual meaning of this word, or how to use it, I looked it up in my Thesaurus. Some synonyms for righteous are:
ethical, chaste, honorable, good, virtuous and noble.
I hope this explanation helps someone else a little bit as it has helped me to look it up. maybe I can keep the other post in mind for Monday if it's God's Will for it to be posted.
Good Night to All and May God Bless!