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1) A person who is righteous before God is simply a person who has a right standing with God. They have been justified by God himself.
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt 6:33 ESV
2) Based on our own efforts, No one is righteous, right with God.
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righte ous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isa 64:6 NIV
“Indeed, there is no one on earth, who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins” (Ecc 7:20)
‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Rom 3:10-12).
“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continuously” (Genesis 6:5).
“God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways” (Genesis 6:12).
“How much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!” (Job 15:16).
“… when they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near…” (1 Kings 8:46).
“Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?’” (Pro 20:9).
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
3) There is a day coming when God will judge the world in righteousness. When all evil will be stopped.
before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness. Psalm 96:13 ESV
because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:31 ESV
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Psalm 67:4 KJV
4) The unrighteous are under condemnation and will never enter the Kingdom of God.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? 1 Cor 6:9a ESV
then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 2 Peter 2:9 ESV
Liars, thieves, murderers and any other sinners you can name, will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
This is easy to see when we read any of the following verses in Gal 5:19-21, 1 Cor 6: 9-10.
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Rev 21:8 ESV
These and other verses provides a long list of people the Bible says will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The list includes many heinous sins and others such as cowardly, greedy, drunkards, anger, envy and jealousy. So if we have committed some of the sins in the list, how will we inherit the Kingdom of God?
5) Only the righteous will be saved. Jesus offers to exchange His righteousness for our sinfulness as a Free Gift. We desperately need Jesus because righteousness (right standing) with God ONLY comes by faith. The door to right standing with God is open to all who will believe, those who believe God will flee to the Savior for protection for the coming day when God will judge the world in righteousness. Those who do not believe God will not heed his warning and perish.
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Rom 5:17 ESV
Therefore, as one trespass (Adams) led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness (Jesus) leads to justification/righteousness and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience (Adam) the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience (Jesus) the many will be made righteous. Rom 5:18-19 ESV
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 1 Peter 3:18 ESV
But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows:... that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” Rom 10:6a,9-13
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, Rom 3:22 ESV
and all are justified (made righteous) freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Rom 3:24 ESV
he (God) did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies (makes righteous) those who have faith in Jesus. Rom 3:26 ESV
This is so important, so crucial to understand that I cannot stress it enough. Write this down somewhere and commit it to memory. It will be one of the greatest aids you will ever have when you read the bible. The bible never, not once teaches that a person was or can be righteous before God because they did not sin.
Not one time in the Old or New Testament does the bible teach that a person was righteous before God because of their perfect actions, works, law-keeping or lack of sin. It does not even teach this as a remote possibility.
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Rom 3:19-20).
As a matter of fact, some of the biggest names the Bible calls righteous were the biggest sinners in the flesh. Ever hear of King David and the apostle Paul? If you get this it will change everything. Every single time you see a person called righteous by God in the bible, it simply means they believed God, had faith in God and his Word, and God declared them righteous. This applies to the Old and New Testaments without exception. On the other side of this coin is this undeniable truth. Every time you see the word unrighteous, by default it simply means they did not believe God. Their unbelief leads them to ignore God’s warning and advice to flee from the wrath to come to the safety only Jesus can provide. The unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life.
“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39 NIV).
The word justification in the above verse is “dikaioó” in the Greek. It literally means: I make righteous, defend the cause of, plead for the righteousness (innocence) of, acquit, justify; hence: I regard as righteous. In other words, it says “righteousness you were not able to obtain under the law.”
“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead” (Heb 11:4).
“If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness’” (Rom 4:2-3).
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith” (Heb 11:7).
“It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith” (Rom 4:13).
“For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘the righteous will live by faith’” (Rom 1:17).
It is so crucial to understand this truth. No one is righteous by the works of the law; all are guilty. There is only one way to be righteous (right with god)—by faith, God makes a person right with himself. Read Rom 3:9-31 http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/3.htm.
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— Phil 3:9 ESV
What Jesus did for us is the reality of the picture we see in the Old Testament of the priest sacrificing a lamb for the sinner. Making it personal, when you would bring the lamb (a picture of Jesus) the priest (a picture of the Father) did not examine you. He fully knew why you were there. He examined the lamb. If the lamb was acceptable, you went home free. It was all about the blood of the lamb then, and it is all about the blood of the perfect Lamb of God today. It has nothing to do with you or your actions.
Another picture we see in the Old Testament was when Moses was sent to pharaoh by God to secure the release of the Jews from captivity. Pharaoh was given many opportunities to let the Jews go, but he backed out on all of them. Then God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Jews go, or the first-born child in every home would die in one night.
God told Moses to have the Israelites put blood on the doorposts so the Angel of Death would not take the firstborn in their homes. If they failed to listen to Moses, the firstborn in their homes would be taken, too.
So now we have two Jewish families, who listened to Moses. One family was up all night worried sick. They wondered if they had done enough, had they prayed enough and were they good enough. The second family had a great meal, sung songs praising god and got the best night’s sleep ever. The question is, which family was protected from the Angel of Death? The answer is: both of them. You see again, it was all about the blood of the lamb. Which family does your life resemble?
Both of these pictures in the Old Testament testify that your righteousness is all about God and what he has done for you. We also see that a believer’s faith naturally leads him to walk out what he claims to believe.
What God wants you and me to believe, to place our faith in is specifically that Jesus is our righteousness. This is the place where you can never be shaken, never doubt and never fear.
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor 1:30 NASB
"For our sake he made him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of god" (2 Cor 5:21).
We are the righteousness of God in Christ. If you are a believer, one of the best times to confess the truth: “I am the righteousness of God in Christ” is when you fail. It is easy to say it and requires little if any faith when you are doing the right thing, when you do not need an abundance of grace. But the truth is God loves you even when you fail. He is not looking at what you have accomplished; he is looking at what Jesus accomplished for you.
Take your eyes off your faults where no faith is needed, and place your focus completely on Jesus. When you confess Jesus is my righteousness when you fail, you will start to realize how much God does love you. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it is the absolute truth. The more you confess it, the more you will live it out in your actions. God will transform you from the inside out as you become established in HIS righteousness. Your right believing will then produce the right living and defeat of sin that you have sought.
I now know without doubt or question and for certain, the only type of righteousness in the entire bible is righteousness by faith. Every single time a person is declared righteous in the entire bible it means only one thing: they believed God. This truth applies 100% of the time, even with verses that may appear to a flesh-led person as being about personal righteousness. Earned righteousness before God is not even a possibility in the bible. When we believe God we are credited HIS righteousness. Then our actions follow our professed belief.
Thank God, the knowledge of the truth has set me free.
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Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38
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