Thoughts on Righteousness

There are over 300 mentions of ‘righteousness’ in the Bible, and I recently took the time to have a look through them. It is amazing how much can be learned by doing this kind of word study, and by using Bible software such as e-Sword it is so easy to collect the verses together and compare them.
It is clear from the number of mentions that ‘righteousness’ is a key Bible word. It is always useful to look at the first mention in the scriptures of key Bible words, because very often that first mention of the word is where you find its scriptural definition. ‘Righteousness’ is first mentioned in Genesis 15:6. Abraham believes God’s promise that he will be blessed with countless offspring despite his old age and his wife Sarah’s inability to bear children. This faith of Abraham’s to believe the seemingly impossible, simply because God says so, is very significant. God rewards Abraham’s faith by accrediting him with righteousness.
We see in this passage that God delights to see believing faith in His promises. The reward of righteousness is a very great reward! Nothing less than righteousness is needed to enter into Heaven’s gates. Without righteousness we are doomed to separation from God.
It is interesting to consider ‘righteousness’ in the context of Deuteronomy 6:25:
“And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.”
Here is the only other way we can attain righteousness – by obeying all the commandments of God! If you have ever tried keeping all of the Ten Commandments you will know what an impossible task this is for any normal person. And yet we find that one man did keep them throughout His life; that man was the Lord Jesus Christ. He attained righteousness on earth the hard way, and then He offered His righteousness to us!
The way you and I receive Christ’s righteousness is by believing faith, just as Abraham did.
Jesus Christ is called ‘THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ in Jeremiah 23:6. There are several scripture references about the believer being ‘clothed in righteousness’, e.g. Job 29:14, Isaiah 61:10, and this idea culminates in the Church being similarly clothed in Revelation 19:8:
“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
Being clothed in righteousness is a beautiful description of the believer who has new life in Jesus Christ. Only Christ has attained righteousness by keeping the commandments of God. He offers that righteousness to us through believing faith. Those that believe are born again into Christ so that we are in effect clothed with His righteousness. We are thus suitably arrayed for eternal life in Heaven with God!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.