02) RIGHTEOUSNESS

Matthew 6:33

               “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all
     these things shall be added to you.

 

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                                   ‘THE  KINGDOM OF GOD

 

God’s righteousness verses Man’s righteousness

 

God’s righteousness: what is it, what does it involve?

—- The righteousness of God means that God will always do what is just.

—- The righteousness of God expresses what God does more than who He is.

—- The righteousness of God revealed in the Scriptures is that God sets

         things right in Jesus Christ.

—- The righteousness, which God manifests in Scriptural events, becomes 
        operative in our lives through faith.

—- God declares the sinner righteous [justified] on the basis of what He did

  in Christ, and the justified person yields his or her life to God to be
  used as an instrument of righteousness.

—- Jesus, on the cross, is a public demonstration of God’s righteousness.

—- The result of the righteousness of God is to make persons righteous through

        faith.

—- Trust and faith are essential; both to understand and to avail one’s self of

        God’s righteousness as revealed in the Scriptures.

 

One of the things we need to remember and not forget is that our righteousness is not of ourselves for it comes from Him. Yet, because we love Him, we want to b e able to honor Him with our lives by being obedient to Him; we find joy in dong what He asks us to do; we are to be people of integrity, behaving honestly and being  honorable before all men; it isn’t easy but we are to love our enemies, and we give those we wok for the best we can, thankful that we have a job. We must at all times treat our wives and husbands and children as God would have us to treat them. What ever we put our hands to it not to be done to look good to impress people to “look” good and get a pat on the back but to bring honor to our God by showing His righteousness that He has filled us with. We should hold Him by His strong right hand and let His ever present Holy Spirit shine through us that others will see Jesus in us. It is through the spiritual mixing with the physical in us that we can best represent Him and brings Honor and Glory to Him.

Matthew 5:16

         In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they

         may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

 

Matthew 5:6

         Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

          for they shall be satisfied.

 

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 When we hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God  and assimilate or absorb it into our thinking we become righteous, this simply means right actions, our actions are righteous based on the terms established by God and our living is conducted in accordance with His established standards not mans. You cannot be spiritually healthy unless you are willing to stand for something – even if it costs you by doing so. If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. Nothing makes a person spiritually healthier than joy in spite of, joy on account of is neutral, but joy in spite of is positive, therefore, it is health–giving. Our prayer should be, “Lord Jesus, make my hunger and thirst for Your righteousness be as pressing as my hunger and thirst for food and help me to be as receptive to your righteousness as I am receptive to food. I don’t want to be satisfied physically and starved spiritually. – - - E. Stanley Jones 

 

Our founding Fathers recognized that there where two dimensions to “righteousness” and they were understood and woven into the very fabric of the Constitution. Noah Webster (1828) defined them as purity of heart and moral principles of life” whereby our heart and lives conform to God’s divine law. The heart speaks of our condition before God (the vertical) while life refers to man’s relationship to man (the horizontal). Hence, God’s righteousness is a legal concept regarding our relationships with one another.

Righteous is what God is, and all of His acts are righteous because they have their source in His continuous righteous character. That God is immutably holy is what assures us that His actions are always absolutely correct and upright. If God acts in a certain way, then we can know with certainty that this particular action is a righteous one simply because it is what God did, for any thought or action that come from our God comes from the one-and-only morally perfect being, which exists Himself as the perfect standard of righteousness.

 

Matthew 5:10

             Blessed are those who are persecuted

              for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the

              Kingdom of Heaven.

 
Unrighteous – Self-righteous – Self-conscious

 

Unrighteous:

                    Since man’s fall in the Garden of Eden, he has become

                    permanently unrighteous for he cannot be righteous in the

                    sight of God on his own merits. The unrighteous person is

                    recognized by their characteristics of immorality, sinfulness,

                    pride, arrogance, etc.  Because of this, in order to become a

                    righteous person they must have the righteousness of God

                    transferred to them.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9

            Do you not know that the unrighteous will not

             inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.

 

Self-righteous:

                   Confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when you are   

                    smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior

                    of others. These are Pharisaic traits, observing the form, but

                    neglecting the spirit.

 

 Self-righteous people are prisoners of their everyday lifestyle. They are  continuously focusing on themselves; self-absorbed, constantly evaluating, analyzing, criticizing and justifying their actions and attitudes. They are too often preoccupied with always having the right answers, to the exclusion [preventing or keeping out] of the right attitude. The whole world would be better off if we focused a little less on getting all our doctrinal ducks in a row and a lot more on internalizing, absorbing God’s Righteousness. We can accomplish this by showing to others tolerance, mercy, kindness and compassion with a sincere love coming from a pure heart.

 

Isaiah 64:6

            But we are all like one who is unclean, and

              all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

 

 A self-righteous person never thinks of himself as being self-righteous and would never boast of being perfect. He is simply in a self-conscious frame of mind and is trying to live up to the imagined or anticipated expectations of what he thinks God requires of him. Self-righteous people are searching for their own identity, an identity disassociated from a relationship with Jesus. Yet, apart from Him our righteousness is as filthy rags. When looking for their own identity, they will forever be self-conscious: always conscious of their own performance, their successes and failures and their goodness. They will be acutely aware of other people’s spirituality. Always battling judgementalism and measuring their walk with the Lord against how others are doing, even to feeling a sense of satisfaction when the other person fails. A negative side effect of all this is that they will be very alert too and affected by how others perceive them and their spirituality.

 

Proverbs 12:5

            The thoughts of the righteous are right, but

               the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

 

Self–Conscious

                            A self-conscious person is unsure of themselves, uncertain,

                            always doubting, awkward and ill at ease in the presence of

                             others. They are unduly conscious of themselves, always  

                             imagining other are looking at them or talking about them.

 Another negative characteristic of an unrighteous man or woman is self – consciousness. These are always battling the fear of rejection along with developing an inferiority complex. They take on a people-pleasing spirit to their own detriment. Always worrying about what others think about them.

 

1Thessalonians 2:4

           Even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

 

Galatians 1:10

             Am I now trying to win the approval of men or God?

             Or am I trying to please men? For if I still try to please

             men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

 

We should recognize that this occurs quite frequently within church circles. People want to be accepted, they don’t want to be left out. They want to belong to the clique, “inner circle.”  However, our goal should be to please God, not men, and it should not based on what we think we need to do for Him. There is an alternative; it is the difference between self-righteous and faith-righteous. The Apostle Paul distinguishes between the two, he says in -

 

Philippians 3:9

        And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness,

        which is from the law, but that which is through faith in

        Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

 

 Seeking His righteousness, which comes by faith, brings us into a clear consciousness of our relationship with God, not performance for God. When we do this as we are commanded to then God will transfer the righteousness of His Son to those of us who trust in Him. It is only when this takes place that we realize we are but clay vessels molded by the Master Potter through which His glory shines.

 

Romans 9:21

        Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of

       clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

 

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Isaiah 64:8

           Yet, O LORD, You are our Father. We are the clay,

           You are the Potter; we are all the work of Your hand.

 

2 Corinthians 4:7

            But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the
excellence of the
  power may be of God and not of us.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9

            And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for
My strength
 is made perfect in weakness.

 

            We are not expected to perform perfectly, in fact, according to the Word we just read, God’s strength shows through our weakness. He gets the glory and we get His peace knowing that we have a relationship with Him that will last forever. We are not self-conscious; rather, we are Christ-conscious. It is important for us to know the difference between Righteousness-Righteous – Unrighteous – Self-righteous – Self-conscious. This is important, because we are faced with these constantly in our daily walk.

 

Man’s understanding versus God’s understanding

 

Proverbs 3:5

            Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and

             lean not on your own understanding;

 

Leaning on its own understanding, the natural mind will all too often interpret or

define righteousness in terms of a set of rules or regulations. Churches that operate on man rules’ telling the people what they can do and what they can’t do, what is good and what is evil. These are mans rules and there understanding of what one must do to be righteous. These churches are called legalistic and its members are under bondage to these rules. As

 a result, righteousness will always be thought of in terms such as: Restrictions – Regulations – Requirements. But if we follow stipulations such as these, set up by mans understanding of righteousness, it will not make us righteous. It is not our goodness that makes us righteous, it is the relationship we have by faith with God’s Son.  It is through the blood of Jesus that God sees us; because of this we are made righteous in God’s sight.

 

Romans 3:25

            Whom God set forth as a sacrifice through

              faith in His blood, to demonstrate His

              righteousness, because in His patient

              restraint God had passed over the sins

              that were previously committed,

 

Let us now look at a righteous person, as defined by Jesus in the following passages. An inquisitive lawyer came to Him and asked Him a question;

 

Matthew 22:36-39

       36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment

              in the law?”

        37 Jesus said to him,” ‘You shall love the Lord

              your God with all your heart, with all your

               soul, and with all your mind.’

        38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

        39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love

              your neighbor as yourself.’

 

 In essence Jesus was redefining righteousness in terms of relationships; not in terms of restrictions, regulations or requirements. This is precisely what the Apostle Paul described previously in Phil. 3:9. That righteousness, which comes from God, is based on faith: The thing to be remembered here is that the assurance of our salvation comes from our confidence in God’s faithfulness to keep the promises that are contained within the relationship we have with Him. This assurance does not come from our confidence in doing the right things or obeying the rules but by our confidence in Him and Him alone.

 

2 Timothy 1:12

            For this reason I also suffer these things;

              nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know

              whom I have believed and am persuaded

              that He is able to keep what I have committed

              to Him until that Day.

 

True Righteousness.

 

Psalm 112:1-9

1   Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who

      fears the LORD, who   delights greatly in

      His commandments.

2   His descendants will be mighty on earth;

      the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3   Wealth and riches will be in his house, and

       his righteousness endures forever.

4   Unto the upright there arises light in the

      darkness; he is gracious, and full of

      compassion, and righteous.

5   A good man deals graciously and lends;

      he will guide his affairs with discretion.

6   Surely he will never be shaken; for the

      righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.

7   He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart

       is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

8         His heart is established; he will not be afraid,

        until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

9         He has dispersed abroad, he has given to the

       poor; his righteousness endures forever; his

       horn will be exalted with honor.

 

True righteousness will always focus on God’s values not our own. To say it another way, when we seek first His Righteousness, God is not so much interested in our living up to external standards set by men as He is in our living in a right relationship with Him and with our neighbors.

 

1Timothy 6:11

            But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue

            righteousness, godliness,  faith, love, patience, gentleness.

 

 We remember Abraham and how he did not show doubt or indecision at the promise of God through unbelief, and it says of him in God’s Word;

 

Romans 4:22

            Therefore “it was accounted to him for Righteousness.”

 

Romans 10:10

            For with the heart one believes unto Righteousness,

 

That kind of righteousness will produce true holy living, not just an external appearance  of goodness. It will produce an inner confidence,

not of self-righteousness nor self-consciousness.  It will be further strengthened by our putting on the, “breastplate of righteousness.”

which is true Righteousness.

 

Ephesians 6:14

           Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having

           put on the breastplate of righteouness.

 

A Crown of Righteousness.

 

2 Timothy 4:6-8

       6   For I am already being poured out as a

              drink offering, and the time of my

             departure is at hand.

       7     I have fought the good fight, I have finished

              the race, I have kept the faith.

       8   Finally, there is laid up for me the Crown

            of Righteousness, which the Lord, the

            righteous Judge, will give to me on that

            Day, and not to me only but also to all

             who have loved His appearing.

 

  I read of a conversation between a missionary and a political leader from Guatemala. The political leader said, “I’ve been in America, and I have watched with interest what has been going on there for the past twenty years. When you knew your neighbor well enough to ask to borrow a cup of sugar from them, drugs were not a major problem, neither was crime your greatest fear. “The Christianity you had then was worth exporting. But today you have lost the value of relationships. That loss has not only destroyed your society it has diluted your gospel.” Maybe this political leader knew more about the essence of true Righteousness than many of the religious leaders guiding the church of Jesus Christ today.

 

I John 2:29

          If you know that He is righteous, you know that

         everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

 

Our God is Righteous; this means that He not only opposes what is unrighteous, but that He is the source of what is right. God is not only the one who sets the standard for righteousness, He is that standard. He unceasingly seeks to make His children righteous. When we live righteous lives it shows that God is at work in our lives and that we are His children as we endeavor to be like Him in all that we do as we imitate His righteousness.

 The characteristics of a righteous person will be seen by all and will glorify our Heavenly Father. These characteristics are  things that are sadly missing in so many lives today, such as honesty, morality, blameless, scrupulous, goodness, noble, upright, honorable, trustworthy, accountable, it could go on and on and the word that seems to pull them all together is Integrity. A man or woman of Integrity is a righteous person and is in good standings with their Heavenly Father. As we seek His Righteousness we will find Him and He will  be our God and He will call us His friends.

 

Proverbs 13:6

           Righteousness guards the man of integrity ,

            but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

 

I John 3:7

            Little children, let no one deceive you. He

            who practices  righteousness is righteous,

             just as He is righteous.

 

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I HAVE CALLED YOU MY FRIEND

 

John 15:14-15

        14 You are My friends if you do whatever I

              command you to do. 
        15 No longer do I call you servants, for a

              servant does not know what his master

              is doing; but I have called you friends,

 

1 Samuel 26:23

          The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness  
          and  faithfulness.                                      

 

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Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD and God credited it to him as righteousness.

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