Last week we considered the truth that God is perfect in Justice. This week, let’s focus on a facet of God’s character that is inherently and closely linked to God’s justice—God’s righteousness. God could not be just if He was not righteous! Conversely, He is just because He is righteous.
If you spent some time meditating on last week’s Selected Verse on God’s Justice, you more than likely noticed that the word righteous showed up numerous times in the context of God’s justice. Righteousness and justice are like two sides of the same coin; if you have one you have the other. You really can’t separate them.
The word righteousness means more than merely doing right; it means conforming to a given standard. For instance, in most cultures there is a standard of measurement for the purpose of business. If a seller of produce used an inaccurate scale, it would be an unrighteous scale because it did not conform to the standard. If the seller did it on purpose for his own advantage, he would be an unrighteous person because he broke God’s law to not steal. Proverbs 11:1 says, “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.” God delights in just weights of measurement because He Himself is righteous.
This leads us to a probing question concerning our God, “To what correct standard does God conform Himself in order to do right?” Because God is the eternal self-existent one, He has no standard outside Himself; He himself is the standard. His righteousness is His pure and perfect conformity to the sum total of all His perfections and attributes in complete harmony and union. In other words, God’s thoughts and actions, His words and works, will always conform to the sum total of all of His divine nature. God is eternal, faithful, foreknowing, good, holy, immutable, impartial, infinite, jealous, just, loving, merciful, all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, righteous, self-existing, self-sufficient, sovereign, transcendent, unchanging, truth, wise, and wrathful. In these ways, God conforms in perfect union and harmony to Himself. God will always conform to being God. He always does right and never does anything wrong, regardless of those who charge Him with wronging them. The problem is not with God. It is with us and our limited perspective of His ways. As one grows in knowing God, he or she will increasingly see His righteousness in every facet of His being, creation, and relationship with mankind.
The Psalmist of Psalm 71:15 proclaimed his personal knowledge and worship of his righteous God: “My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? (vs.15-19 ESV emphasis added).
Are you a lover of righteousness and The Righteous One?
With Prayer, Mark © March, 2011
Selected Verses on God’s Righteousness
ESV – Emphasis added
1 Samuel 12:6-7, And Samuel said to the people, “The LORD is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous deeds of the LORD that he performed for you and for your fathers.”
Psalm 7:9-11, Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous– you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.
Psalm 119:137-138, Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness.
Psalm 145:17, The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.
Isaiah 5:16, But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.
Isaiah 45:21, Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.
Jeremiah 12:1, Righteous are you, O LORD, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
Matthew 6:33, But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Romans 1:16-17, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Romans 2:5, But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Romans 10:1-3, Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
2 Timothy 4:8, Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Revelation 15:4, Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.