Righteousness of God
2nd June 2013, mgh
This Article: (4 Pages)
1) Introduction: gentiles & the covenant of The Promises
We were asked to think on the phrase 'righteousness of God' (dikaiosunē Theos, δικαιοσυνη θεου). Righteousness (dikaiosunē) according to Strongs comes from the Greek word 'dikaios', equitable (in character or act), from 'dikē' meaning 'right, 'justice' which might be translated as 'judgement'. Strongs thinks 'dikē' might be related 'to show'. All these ideas are related to the sense of right in terms of descisions related to law and discering and acting with even-handed integrity in a situation. When the expression is used of the God of Israel, it is always in a powerful context of judgment.
In Jerusalem Paul and Barnabas had to prove to the Jews that the gospel of the promises had been brought to the gentiles through the command of God. James pointed out to them that at the birth of Jesus (Y'shua), the Messiah, a devout Jew called Simeon had proclaimed that this child was destined to bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. On this occasion James states that God was taking “out of them a people for his name.” James directs them to the prophets to confirm that Yahweh was seeking people who would be obedient and faithful and believe the promises to the Patriarchs of Israel. The name 'Yahweh', the name of the God of Israel confirms that his character (holiness/ righteousness) will be revealed in his people, which are those who are called, both Jew and Gentile.
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, said the Lord, who does all these things. (Acts 15: 13-17)
Take a look at Simeon's words from Luke 2.
He came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke 2: 25-32)
The Gentiles, like the Jews, now had access to salavation and to being part of the people for the Name of Yahweh Elohim. But to those 'residue' and 'all people' a standard had been set, and things would be required of them, that they glorify the Name.
The 'right-ness' and truth of the Promises
Righteous is related to 'right' and the concept of right is related to 'truth'. God is described as a God of truth and the writer to the Hebrews states it was impossible for God to lie.
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entered into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 6:17-20)
Both Jew and Gentile might place faith and have absolute confidence in the Promises to the fathers, and so become heirs to those promises (see more on the promises here). The focus of God's truthfulness and therefore his Righteousness are the promises to the Fathers of Israel. These promises are also to all the heirs by descent and the Gentiles by adoption. To set the context of the phrase 'righteouness of God in the New Testament we examine the Old.
2) Righteousness of God in the Old Testament
The Law of Moses educated the Israelites about sin and the forgiveness of sin through sacrifices and the recognition of sin and acknowledging the sin of individuals and the nation. It also provided laws which related to life style, character building and behaviour, that had to be obeyed. In Leviticus its purpose was summarised in a few words.
And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine. (Leviticus 20:26)
Peter quotes from the Old Testament affirming that this was a principle that was very relevant to the Jews and the Gentiles who professed Christianity.
But as he which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: ( I Peter 1:15-17)
The prophet Micah records the failure of Israel to recognise the righteousness of Yahweh and explains what they should have done, “To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God”. These principles still apply today for those who seek salvation.
Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD'S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.
Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:2-8)
Yahweh was pleading showing that he had always done right and good and kept his side of the covenant, and all he asked was that his people also did right.
The Psalms also develop the same themes.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. (Psa 4:5)
Psalm 7 deals with the fate of the wicked and God's judgement that will come on them, but contrasts the fate of those who are 'upright' in heart and thus 'righteous and who will be saved'.
My defence is of God, which saves the upright in heart. God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he has bent his bow, and made it ready. He has also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordains his arrows against the persecutors. Behold, he travails with iniquity, and has conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high. (Psa 7:10-17)
David's prayer in Psalm 31 which is an out pouring of his trust in Yahweh's righteousness and plea for help against his enemies, needs little comment.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; (Psa 31:1-7)
Psalm 33 states that Yahweh loves righteousness and judgement. He is Powerful and is to be feared and he will bring the 'devices of the people of none effect'. There will be blessing for those whom he will choose 'for his own inheritance'.
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loves righteousness and judgement: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as an heap: he lays up the depth in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD brings the counsel of the heathen to nought: he makes the devices of the people of none effect.
The counsel of the LORD stands for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance. (Psa 33:4-12)
Psalm 71 also calls upon Yahweh's help against enemies who persecute and desire to kill. There is complete confidence in Yahweh's power and righteousness to protect and save. There is also the recognition of salvation and resurrection from death.
But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and grey headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!
Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken me again, and shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth. (Psa 71:10-20)
Mankind has little excuse today in rejecting the power of the Creator. In the days of ancient Israel his power was known among the heathen and today prophecy displays his hand at work among the nations and especially in the revival of the nation of Israel in their homeland. We can say with confidence that, 'his righteousness has he openly showed in the sight of the heathen.' The final statement will yet be fulfilled, 'all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.'
A Psalm. O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he has done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, has gotten him the victory. The LORD has made known his salvation:
his righteousness has he openly showed in the sight of the heathen. He has remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. (Psa 98:1-3)
Even though we might die, the mercy and righteousness of Yahweh is promised to those who fear him, remember his promises and do his commands, reflecting his righteousness in teaching our children and any who will hear and obey his Word. Psalm 103 can give us hope and confidence.
Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. (Psa 103:13-18)
Isaiah also deals with the righteousness of God. The reasons for the captivity of Israel by foreign nations and their final dispersion into the rest of the world are given in Isaiah 5. They had forsaken their law and lacked knowledge of the covenants of promise. The loftiness of man and his pride in his own achievements will be judged. Those who mock Yahweh's existence and power will ultimately be humbled. For 'the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgement, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.'
Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore hell has enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoices, shall descend into it. And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgement, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.
Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat. Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
Therefore as the fire devours the stubble, and the flame consumes the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. (Isa 5:13-24)
Isaiah points out that the desire of the just is for the judgement of Yahweh on the wicked. He says that 'the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee'. If we recall James' words in Acts 15, we see the same theme here, which is the calling of a people who will reflect the character of Yahweh. When Yahweh sends his son to the earth again to bring about his judgements, it is then 'the world will learn righteousness'.
Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD Yahweh is everlasting strength: For he brings down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he lays it low; he lays it low, even to the ground; he brings it even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy. The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
Yea, in the way of thy judgements, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:4-9)
In chapter 45, Isaiah prophesies that there will come a time in the future when other nations will turn to Israel in humility seeking the God of the Israelites. They shall be humbled and finally subjected to the God of Israel. Yahweh speaks righteousness, that is truth and what is 'right'. This is the requirement of all those who would be faithful servants.
They shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God. Verily thou art a God that hides thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols.
But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
For thus said the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth:
I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right. (Isaiah 45:14-19)
Though Israel was punished, they were punished so they would turn from idolatry to serve their God. When they sought him, He would do them good, as He is always faithful to his promises and His covenant to the seed of Jacob.
There is a promise for the faithful recorded in Isaiah 54. The flood of Noah's time destroyed the wicked, but Yahweh's promise will be fulfilled. The righteous servants of Yahweh will be saved in the time of judgement.
For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, said the LORD that has mercy on thee...
And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shall thou be established: thou shall be far from oppression; for thou shall not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
Behold, I have created the smith that blows the coals in the fire, and that brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.(Isa 54:9-17)
Righteouness, Justice and release from prison
The Messiah read from the following passage from Isaiah, revealing that he was the promised Messiah. Y'shua was to bring the hope of salvation to the people of Israel first. There would be a time when the Gentiles would be also blessed along with the nation of Israel. It will be a time when Yahweh will be recognised by all nations and righteousness will be established in the earth.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your ploughmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
For I the LORD love judgement, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth her bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isa 61:1-11)
See how those who are release from prison, who receive justice rejoice. Because of the right judgment of God the recipients of blessing and salavation are 'covered with the robe of righteousness'.
The prophet Daniel also proclaimed that righteousness belonged to Yahweh and that the people of his day were without understanding.
O Lord, righteousness belongs unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. (Dan 9:7)
Zephaniah calls the 'meek' of the earth to aim for what is right because this is the only way to be saved when Yahweh brings his judgements on the earth.
Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger. (Zep 2:3)
3) Righteousness of God in the New Testament
The apostle Peter in 2Peter1 writes of the hope of life that comes from faith and knowledge through the righteousness of God and his Son. The great and precious promises of Yahweh are those that inform us of life and that will save us from the corruption that is in the world.
Peter gives positive advice for character building that will be acceptable. He speaks of faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity.
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2Peter 1:1-11)
In contrast the apostle Paul is very clear about the qualities that are those of the ungodly and unrighteous and which Yahweh condemns. They will be judged, not only those who are immoral, but also those who take 'pleasure in them that do them'.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness (dikaiosunē) of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it unto them....Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:16-32)
In Romans 3 Paul points out that the Jews, in their Law, were given the commandments of God that showed the righteousness of God and what was expected of them in their worship and character. Both Jews and Gentiles now had access to the writings of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets and to a knowledge of Yahweh's requirements and the way of peace. Y'shua, who was without sin had revealed the righteousness of God in word and in character. By his sacrifice he brought hope of life also to the Gentiles who believe in his name. Paul also describes the unrighteous acts of man.
What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou might be justified in thy sayings, and might overcome when thou art judged. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness dikaiosunē (equity) of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?... we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understand, there is none that seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that do good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believe in Jesus. (Romans 3:1-26)
Paul, in Romans 10, laments the failings of the Israelites and shows the importance of recognising the role of Y'shua in the hope of salvation. Whether Jew or Gentile those who acknowledge the righteousness of God and 'shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved'.
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.... if you shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believe unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel.
For Esaias said, Lord, who has believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses said, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and said, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he said, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. (Romans 10:1-21)
The promise of the faithful being declared righteous is captured in Paul's writings to the Colossians.
Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2Coloss. 5:16-21)
Paul writes to the Corinthians about unrighteousness and exclusion from the kingdom of God.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, ] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9-10)
James states that Yahweh does not change and that we should be ' swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath'. These are qualities of the righteous man.
Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. (James 1:16-20)
John separates all people into two types. He requires us to 'do righteouness' to be 'of God,'
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the slanderer: whosoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1John 3:10)
We can become an heir of the righteouness, like Noah.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:6-7)
Paul's hope was the hope of life everlasting. He prays that this might be the reward for all those who love his appearing.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2Timothy 4:7-8)
4) The King who reigns in Righteousness
Isaiah prophesies of a King who will reign in righteousness and princes who will judge righteously.
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgement.(Isaiah 32:1)
Jeremiah gives a time setting and affirms that there will be king of righteousness ruling on the earth.
At a time when the Israelites have been scattered and are regathered into their land, there will come peace and justice on earth.
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! said the LORD. Therefore thus said the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, said the LORD.
And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, said the LORD.
Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:1-6)
Who is this King of righteousness?
And, behold, you shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS (Y'shua). He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Hebrews 1:8-9)
The quotation from Leviticus used earlier sums up the righteousness of God. Yahweh is holy and those who wish to be servants of Yahweh must strive to be obedient to God's will and reflect his character and that of of his Son, Y'shua. It is then that they escape from the judgment to come and have the sure hope of life everlasting and a place in the Kingdom of God as His precious people.
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, said the Lord, who does all these things. (Acts 15: 13-17)
And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy,
and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine. (Leviticus 20:26)