The basic meaning of ‘righteousness’ and its cognates in the Bible derives from the Hebrew sedqu. It does not necessarily reference the abstract idea of justice or virtue, but a right standing and consequent right behaviour, within a community.
So if you are righteous; than you have right behavior within your family, in your relationships with your parents, in your church community.
Think about that for a minute. What does righteousness look like within a family? Your family? So many of us try to make you think our family unit is perfect, but if we look at our own circumstances we would realize that at least 50% of the people around us are in the same boat. We are broken, yet if we are followers of christ we are also righteous. That is what makes it beautiful, the ability to tell our community we are broken and we need help. That is righteousness. Not the pharisee type ultra religious attitude that if we look and act and talk a certain way we have achieved that standard God expects of us. That is the opposite of righteousness.
I have recently gained a focus of desiring and studying righteousness. It sounds so pompous and arrogant really, which I am not. Therefore it is very difficult for me to say that I know I am righteous. Righteous and humble, seems like an odd mix, but sounds like Jesus. I am an heir to the throne. I am also a sinner. Sometimes that even sounds arrogant. I really struggle with this because I know most people think that christians are arrogant self righteous a-holes. Oh yeah another christian talking about how they sin. The thing is, it is not self-righteous. Our righteousness comes from Jesus alone. I think some pretty evil things, things that God cringes at. But I soon realize that my heart will deceive me and I need to repent and ask God to replace my anger with his love. To see people through his eyes. This is what makes us righteous. the “consequent right behavior within a community.” This is the shift that helped me realize I was righteous in Gods eyes; to go from desiring pain and harm for those who have hurt us, to compassion. Praying for their salvation, while protecting yourself from their hurt. You don’t become a door mat to help other because you are righteous. You do pray for their healing and salvation, and treat them with compassion.
It took me a long time to come to terms with my righteousness because I know all of the terrible things I have done in my past. I also know that world tells me different. It screams at me that I am inadequate. It can come through others who try to tear me down, or more importantly myself. We all must know that we are our own worst enemies. Sometimes we spend so much time beating ourselves up over things we have said or done, we become defeated before we even start to fight the real battle. Please remember that if you are a believer and trust in the salvation of Jesus’ blood it has been washed away. HE HAS CONQUERED THE GRAVE. Your past, my past. It is a past that doesn’t exist in Gods eyes. This is huge. Bigger than anyone can fathom. I can barely fathom it and I have studied it, doubted it, prayed about it and finally dedicated my life to believing it in my soul; helping others to see it too. Once we see, we believe we are righteous within our christian community, we should feel the urge to reach out to others and help them see they are righteous as well. This is where our transformation turns to action. The thing is we need to see and believe the power of Jesus Christ in our lives. Because that takes away so much of the shame, and the the difference is that I have been redeemed and my heart is wholly bent on serving him.
Do you believe you are righteous? I hope so.
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.