Righteousness of man
Well, that was an easy blog post! Hehe.
Just kidding. Of course I have more to say. lol
As we talked about before, righteousness is being morally right or virtuous. The Bible talks about the innocent and righteous being taken advantage of by the wicked and being vindicated and protected by God. Obviously it is possible to be virtuous and righteous in some way.
Romans 2:14-15 says, “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.”
I’m sure we all know some unbelievers who seem to have more of a moral compass than other believers we know. This is because anyone can be moral. Anyone can obey laws. Everyone has a conscience. And God notices the good deeds of people. It is completely possible to be blameless in a civil and judicial sense. Doing so helps us all get along and prosper in everyday affairs.
When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked about being good, Jesus quoted some of the laws and the man said all of them he had kept since he was a boy. Jesus did not tell him he was lying. He looked at him and loved him. It seems the man was very passionate about being perfect. Jesus told him if he wanted to be perfect to sell everything he had and give to the poor and then follow Him. There is reason to think this man was Mark who later wrote the gospel of Mark. Only in Mark’s gospel does it say that Jesus looked at the man and loved him, and only in Mark does it state that there was a man wearing only a loincloth following Jesus at the time of His arrest.
Paul says of himself in Philippians 3:6,
“as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.”
Again we see that, by the law, people can indeed be blameless.
This sort of righteousness is also what can become a problem. There are righteous people in the Bible who are referred to in a less favorable light.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:20, “for unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Their righteousness was completely self serving and hypocritical. It was simply an outward display. This type of righteousness reminds me more of religiousness.
Like the man who prayed next to the tax collector, “thank you God that I am not like this sinner.” He was clearly religious but the Bible said it was the repentant tax collector who walked away justified and not the self righteous man.
Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
This is a mentality that says, “I don’t need saving. I am a good person.” It is a mentality that looks to its own goodness and sees itself as good enough.
This is one of the most telling verses about how the righteousness of man truly is:
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.”
This is so interesting because you would think good and righteous would be the same. But righteous seems to mean hyper religious where as good is someone who genuinely cares about people.
This is where the chapter of love gets its argument. The topic is all the things one can do and still not have love. You can be morally right and not actually be a good person.
But even for those who were and are both morally upright and loving, there is this to consider…
Job, known for being more righteous than anyone else of his time, had been harassed by his so called friends. After they went back and forth for some time, the youngest of them finally spoke. He was the only one of Job’s ‘friends’ that God did not rebuke in the end. And he said this,
“For Job has said, ‘I am righteous, But God has taken away my justice’.”
“Do you think this is right? Do you say, ‘My righteousness is more than God’s’?”
“If you are righteous, what do you give Him? Or what does He receive from your hand?”
We are not doing God favors by being righteous. We are doing ourselves a favor by being righteous. Being righteous makes the world go around smoother, in a communal sense.
He does not owe us something for doing what we should do. This does not mean that He doesn’t notice. The righteous never go unnoticed. Neither do your heart’s intentions go unnoticed. But really, this was never the point or the goal. God did not make us in His image so we could do things. God made us in His image so we could be like Him. Our relationship with a Him will greatly bless the world around us.
As Paul says, the law was never meant to make us righteous, just to point out our lack and need of righteousness. God’s righteousness.
Relationship, not religion. The true point is to be IN God who gives us His righteousness as a part of communion and oneness with Him.
True righteousness never existed as acts or deeds apart from God.
There was never an “Obey all this and you’re righteous” as we think of it.
The point (I mean the ultimate end goal) was never to be righteous only, the point was to be in God who is Righteousness. This is why faith in God is counted as true righteousness. This is why God told Abraham “walk before me” before He said “be blameless” and this is why we need Jesus, regardless of how perfectly we keep the law.
❤ Kara J