Just what is righteousness? Recently I listened to a Hollywood figure speak about his need to be righteous because God was watching him and he does not want to offend God. He needs to “straighten up if he is going to be a vessel for God”, he needs to be “cleaner than he was”… he plans on being a “righteous fellow” [1]. Sounds like a great deal of work, maybe more than most people would be able to endure. It also dawned on me, how would you know if you’ve reached the “vessel” class? Just how righteous must you be to enter God’s presence and to represent Him in the proper way? I decided to compile some thoughts on the subject of righteousness from God’s perspective recorded in the Bible.

Webster defines righteousness as: “Purity of heart and rectitude of life…It includes all we call justice, honesty, and virtue…” [2] The word righteousness turns up first in the Bible in Genesis chapter 15. Verse six says,

Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD credited it as righteousness to him.” [3]

Interesting, Abram said nothing of needing to be “cleaner than he was” or planning to be a “righteous fellow” – God credited him with righteousness when he decided to “believe” what God had promised him. That seems pretty easy. Not a great deal of effort in a simple decision.

Here comes some very important questions (and answers) …

Q.  What does it take to spend eternity with the LORD in heaven?

A.  You must have His righteousness!

Cleanliness not required.

Work-effort-striving not required.

Q.  Just how do I get that righteousness?

A.  Abram [4] “believed” – trusted, had faith, in what God communicated to him, “and it was credited to him as righteousness”.

Pure and simple: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved[5]

The same thing God is communicating to YOU today.

Q.  What about my works? My effort. My giving. My being good…my working toward “vesselship”.

A.  God says “…it is NOT by [your] works of righteousness that you are saved…” [6]

The apostle Paul expressed it this way, “…be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law [works], but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” [7]

Romans 5:17 confirms that it is a “gift of righteousness”.

Romans 9:30 communicates that “righteousness is attained by faith”.

He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin (perfect in His humanity) to be sin on our behalf (on the cross), so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”[8]

The next move is yours…believe it or not.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yobUrsi4Jh8

[2] http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/righteousness

[3] NET version of the Bible.

[4] Just so you don’t get confused, Abram’s name was later changed by God to Abraham (Genesis 17:5).

[5] Acts 16:31

[6] Titus 3:5

[7] Philippians 3:9

[8] 2 Corinthians 5:21

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