It may come as a surprise that many of us do not really understand the full meaning the term ‘The Righteousness of God.' The Hebrew word – tsadiyq and the Greek – dikaiosuvnh are so full of rich meaning that the English translation Righteousness falls far short of these two ancient words. To the pious Jew and a Jewish Christian of the 1st. century these two words that we have translated as righteousness would have a much fuller meaning than we understand the term to mean.
The Hebrew word was born out of a covenant understanding of which we have no real inkling of such a relationship. Our understanding of a covenant is about as clear as trying to explain a cell phone to a tribe in Papua New Guinea. Covenants or treaties were often enacted between two or more nations with the purpose of mutual benefit; as such were the numerous Hittite covenants. These were legally binding with obligations on both sides. Such covenants were often sealed with the spilling of blood on both sides known as ‘cutting the covenant.' Whereas the Mosaic covenant, is between a stronger and a weaker vassal, with more obligations on Gods part than the weaker party.
Hence because God is Righteous or Just he helps - The LORD is righteousin all his ways and loving toward all he has made.18 The LORD is nearto all who call on him,to all who call on him in truth.19 He fulfils the desiresof those who fear him;he hears their cryand saves them.' Psalm 145. Because the Lord is Righteous he saves - Psalm 31. Because the Lord is Righteous he forgives sin - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sinsand purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1
We have numerous illustrations of Gods caring for his weaker party – as a mother hen, as an eagle, and as a faithful husband among the many.
When applied to mankind the OT word meaning righteous contains meanings which our word can never express. The ‘righteous man' is one who is in a covenant relationship with God and lives according to that agreement. He is merciful and kind and lives according to the laws with heart felt obedience – he is religious as opposed to the ‘; godless' man. Blessed is the manwho does not walkin the counsel of the wickedor stand in the wayof sinnersor sitin the seat of mockers.2 But his delightis in the law of the LORD,and on his law he meditatesday and night.3 He is like a treeplanted by streamsof water,which yields its fruitin season and whose leafdoes not wither. Whatever he does prospers.4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaffthat the wind blows away.5 Therefore the wicked will not standin the judgement,nor sinners in the assemblyof the righteous.6 For the LORD watches overthe way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Ps 1
These wider concepts of our narrow meaning of righteousness reach there zenith in Paul's doctrine of Justification which can be summed up in the phrase – the fulfilment of Gods purpose in his gracious dealings with us in Christ Jesus. Paul writes in Romans - For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed,a righteousness that is by faithfrom first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith.
To say that God is righteous implies that he will do what is right, therefore he will protect and deliver us, and he will save and heal us. God will go out of his way to look after us and nourish us. Our obligation is to walk before him with a holy fear and in faith. But at the same time God will give every man his due – eternal life for those who walk in faith and Gods condemnation for those who walk after the flesh. Therefore the biblical concept of righteousness goes beyond our idea of morality, or one who acts in an upright virtuous manner – a typical description of what today we call ‘a good and up right citizen.' Or to us the popular vernacular – ‘He is a good bloke, who loves his wife, adores his children and is a tireless worker in the local community.
How majestic is Gods righteousness, how wonderful is Gods justice. Gods righteousness knows of no boundaries and is endless, for as far as the galaxies are apart so wonderful is Gods righteousness towards those the follow in his pathways.
As I was preparing this blog I came across this verse which speaks to us Today. It is found in Isaiah 32 17 The fruit of righteousnesswill be peace;the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
The mark of a righteous believer as we come to the close of the age will be a person at peace that nothing can shatter, despite the uncertainty and upheavals that we will experience, for their confidence will not be founded in a government or social agency or the financial markets but God himself, the righteous One, our Rock. For if we walk in righteousness, his righteousness will carry us and flood our spirits with a well of living water springing up into his glory.
[quote]To say that God is righteous implies that he will do what is right, therefore he will protect and deliver us, and he will save and heal us. God will go out of his way to look after us and nourish us. Our obligation is to walk before him with a holy fear and in faith. [/quote]
I enjoyed reading "all" of your content, wmj... but the above quote from you shed a particularly beautiful light on the definition of God's righteousness.
Thank you so much for this informative and tenderly penned blog.