Righteousness – Right Standing With God

Words have meanings. Words also come and go out of our lexicon. Some of this is to our detriment. The word righteousness and righteous is seeming to lose it’s utility in the English language. So much so that when I asked my junior high worship team on Wednesday night to define the word righteousness there were few who would even attempt it.

The best definition for the word righteousness that I know is right standing with God. This being the idea that because of Jesus’ work on the cross we now have the right to stand in the presence of God. Righteousness cannot be attained through works. It is the grace or unmerited favor of the Lord. Due to this favor, we have right standing with him.

In the Bible there are a number of references to righteousness or to being righteous. Such as: the righteous shall live by faith (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38; Habakuk 2:4). Also several times in Psalms righteousness is referred to. One instance being: “Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart (Psalm 36:10). In most cases, righteousness and faith are intermingled. You cannot have one without the other. In order to have faith you must act in faith. I can say all day long that I am a chef but if I have never been in the kitchen there is not a whole lot of action to back up my pronouncement. Living a righteous life requires faith in action in the same way.

Daily faith in God is not easy. Faith in gravity is a bit easier. We all believe in gravity because we can test its limits. Perhaps, however, faith in God can be as easy as understanding gravity the more and more that we learn about him. Paul wrote: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).  Therefore, to increase your faith, you have to increase your time in God’s word.

Today, we need to do our best to live out our faith in action and claim our right standing with God; our righteousness. Share the word righteousness and it’s meaning with as many as opportunities allow. We desperately do not want to let the word righteousness and various other ecclesiastical words fade off into the lexicon old folks home. Keeping important words like this alive only continues by our being intentional.

I pray that you are a person of great faith today and that your faith moves you to action. I pray that the righteous acts of the saints would be like your robe (Revelation 19:8).

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Micah Brooks