The Definition of Righteousness

Ge 15:6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Righteousness, what it isn’t.

It isn’t what my two dictionaries say it is, ‘morality, adhering to moral principles’, or ‘morally right, very good’. Abraham’s life informs us that Abraham was not morally upright. If it was a case of being very good or having moral principles, by my standards, Abraham miserably failed. And looking at those who are celebrated for their faith in Hebrews 11, they certainly did not possess moral rectitude. The illustrious list contains liars to fraudsters, to prostitution, to incest, to adultery, theft and murder. In other words, people that are esteemed in this famous chapter were not ‘very good’, or some would say, they weren’t even good.

These folk are used as examples, as people of faith having the right status in the sight of God.

Abraham believed in God, he trusted God to be faithful in fulfilling whatever God said to him. The relationship was built upon trust. And it was upon this fact alone that God deemed (accounted) Abraham as righteous.

Righteousness cannot be gained, righteousness is given.[1]

Righteousness, what it is.

The meaning of righteous or righteousness is having the right standing with God, simply by having the right standard. The right standard is ‘the glory of God’ which humanity falls short of[2]. Believing in or trusting in Jesus restores the gulf between God and the believer through Jesus gifting His righteousness to the one who trusts in Him[3].

This gift, of the righteousness of God, glorifies the beneficiary and in so doing places the recipient in the right standing with God[4]. Now endowed with the right standard through a gift, which is ‘the glory of God’, the relationship between God and the believer is truly established[5].

By Jim Parker.

Blog Note:

Through faith alone Abram has righteousness imputed (accounted), that is the Righteousness of The Lord was ascribed to Abram giving him the same virtue.

Righteousness is a noun. Righteous is an adjective, and this is Abram’s state, possessing the right standard, having justification that is, freedom from all guilt and the penalty attached to sin, having been rendered just and innocent.

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Jon 3:5 ’the people of Nineveh believed God’.  The Ninevite Gentiles believed and only this phrase ‘believed God’ is credited to Abraham who also wasn’t circumcised at the time of the statement. Ro 4:1-17

Righteousness and its counterpart, ‘righteous,’ appear 540 times in 520 verses of the Bible. In contrast, ‘faith,’ ‘faithfulness,’ and ’faithful’ are only used 348 times in 328 verses. This means that there are 1.5 times as many scriptures about righteousness as there are about faith. Righteousness is important.

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[1] Ro 5:17,18  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

[2] Ro 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

[3] Ro 5:17,18 For if by the one man’s offence death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore, as through one man’s offence judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

[4] 2Co 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

[5] Joh 17:22  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: Ro 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified (made righteous); and whom He justified (made righteous), these He also glorified.

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