The Truth about Righteousness

Mathias Bavay


Abstract: In religion, we often talk about righteousness. But what does it really means? How can we recognize righteousness and practice it?


1  What is righteousness?

1.1  definition:

1.2  How to acheive righteousness?

We must practice righteousness, we must walk in righteousness1 (this is a commandment).

2  Nazareth, we have a problem...Jerusalem, we have a Good News!

See Rom 1:29, Rom 3:10, Is 41:26.

2.1  Problem: none is righteous!!

2.2  Righteousness can only come from God, through faith!

3  So, how does this all works?

3.1  Rom 3 & 4:

3.2  How to be more righteous?

In one word: feed the new nature, starve the old man in order to have your inner being filled with holy desires that can rightly be expressed and fulfilled!

4  Conclusion

As in every part of the christian life, the "easy way" is to follow rules...But the truth is to be renewed from the inside. This is much harder, because we can not simply change the facade, we need to change in our deepest inner being. We need God to work in us, to challenge us, to transform us. It can be painfull, tedious, unpleasant. But this is the way to become like Christ and to really be free in Him. The light of Christ, the freedom from the Law come at that price: submiting to God, looking for what He is telling us at every moment of our daily life and seing/facing our real condition before Him: sinners.

If you more or less skipped repentance in your christian life, it is not to late! Pray for God to bring you to the place of repentance, and He will show you the depth of His Grace after you will have seen the misery of your sins (cf: the NT needed centuries of OT to really know how precious is the salvation offered to us in Christ).

A  Biblical references

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

A.1  What is righteousness?

Ps 11:7
For the Lord is righteous;he loves righteous deeds;the upright shall behold his face.
Heb 1:9
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;therefore God, your God, has anointed youwith the oil of gladness beyond your companions.
Is 11:5
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
Mt 3:15
But Jesus answered him, Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he consented.
Is 5:7
For the vineyard of the Lord of hostsis the house of Israel,and the men of Judahare his pleasant planting;and he looked for justice,but behold, bloodshed;for righteousness,but behold, an outcry!
Ps 99:4
The King in his might loves justice.You have established equity;you have executed justiceand righteousness in Jacob.
Jer 23:6
In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: The Lord is our righteousness.
Ps 35:24
Vindicate me, O Lord, my God,according to your righteousness,and let them not rejoice over me!
Ps 36:6
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;your judgments are like the great deep;man and beast you save, O Lord.
De 6:25
And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.
Rom 10:5
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
Lu 1:6
And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.
Ps 1:2
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,and on his law he meditates day and night.
Rom 2:17–25
But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.

A.2  Nazareth we have a problem...Jerusalem we have a Good News!

Rom 1:29
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,
Rom 3:10
as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one;
Is 41:26
Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,and beforehand, that we might say, He is right?There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,none who heard your words.
Job 15:14
What is man, that he can be pure?Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?
Ps 14:3
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;there is none who does good,not even one.
Rom 3:10
as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one;
Rom 3:19
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
Lu 18:9
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:
Rom 10:3
For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
Pr 21:4
Haughty eyes and a proud heart,the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
Pr 6:16
There are six things that the Lord hates,seven that are an abomination to him:
Ja 4:6
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Pr 8:12
I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,and I find knowledge and discretion.
Lu 18:11
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Rom 2:1
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
Ga 2:21
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Rom 3:20
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Ga 2:16
yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Eph 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
2Ti 1:9
who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
Tit 3:5
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Is 61:10
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;my soul shall exult in my God,for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Ps 24:5
He will receive blessing from the Lordand righteousness from the God of his salvation.
1Jo 2:29
If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
Rom 4:6
just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

A.3  So how does this all works?

Rom 4:11
He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
Ja 4:6
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Let them give examples of what to do. Go through the 10 commandments, have them silently evaluate which ones they consider they keep and which one they think they break. Briefly talk about each one, explaining what they mean according to a wide definition. Then imagine a life situation into which we are able to break most of them within a couple of minutes/hours

This document was translated from LATEX by HEVEA.