Learn What the Bible Says About Righteousness
by Ed Arcton
Righteousness is the state of moral perfection required by God to enter heaven.
However, the Bible clearly states that human beings cannot achieve righteousness through their own efforts: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sightby the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” (Romans 3:20, NIV).
The law, or the Ten Commandments, shows us how far we fall short of God’s standards.
The only solution to that dilemma is God’s plan of salvation.
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST
People receive righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Christ, the sinless Son of God, took humanity’s sin upon himself and became the willing, perfect sacrifice, suffering the punishment mankind deserved. God the Father accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, through which human beings can become justified.
In turn, believers receive righteousness from Christ. This doctrine is called imputation. Christ’s perfect righteousness is applied to imperfect humans.
The Old Testament tells us that because of the sin of Adam, we, his descendants, have inherited his sinful nature. God set up a system in Old Testament times in which people sacrificed animals to atone for their sins. The shedding of blood was required.
When Jesus entered the world, things changed. His crucifixion and resurrectionsatisfied God’s justice.
Christ’s shed blood covers our sins. No more sacrifices or works are required. The Apostle Paul explains how we receive righteousness through Christ in the book of Romans.
Salvation through this crediting of righteousness is a free gift, which is the doctrine of grace. Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus is the essence of Christianity.
No other religion offers grace. They all require some type of works on behalf of the participant.
Pronunciation: RITE chuss ness
Also Known As: uprightness, justice, blamelessness, justice.
Example: Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account and makes us holy before God.
BIBLE VERSE ABOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
(Sources: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, edited by Stephen D. Renn; New Topical Textbook, by Rev. R.A. Torrey; Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by Chad Brand, Charles Draper, and Archie England; and The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, by Merrill F.Unger.)
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