Seeking Righteousness

The word righteous is used over and over again in the Scriptures. Christians are supposed to be righteous as we follow in the example of our Righteous Messiah. But what does it mean to be righteous like our Messiah? Do we have an accurate understanding of what it means to be righteous?

Merriam-Webster defines righteous as: acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin (lawlessness). Biblically speaking, righteousness in its simplest definition means doing what is right. So who gets to define what is right? Do we get to define what is right? If we did, everybody would have a different definition of what right was. Only Yahweh gets to define what is right, just as He is the only one that gets to define sin. Paul says in Romans 10:3 that we are not to establish our own righteousness, but seek God’s righteousness. We are not allowed to determine what is right. We are to seek what God says is right. Being righteous is doing what is right in Yahweh’s eyes. So what is right in Yahweh’s eyes?

You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and His testimonies and His statutes, which He has commanded you. And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you. Deuteronomy 6:17-18

If you obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all His commandments that I am commanding you today, doing what is right in the sight of the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 13:18

Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. Psalms 119:127-128

Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are Your rules. Psalms 119:137

But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all My statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Ezekiel 18:21-22

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.” Acts 10:34

How does the Bible define righteous and righteousness? Let’s read the verses below.

And it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us. Deuteronomy 6:25

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is My Law; Isaiah 51:7

And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today? Deuteronomy 4:8

The Law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul, the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart, the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. Psalms 19:7-9

I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. Psalms 119:7

I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Psalms 119:75

Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. Psalms 119:144

The LORD was pleased, for His righteousness’ sake, to magnify His law and make it glorious. Isaiah 42:21

If a man is righteous and does what is just and right… walks in My statutes, and keeps My rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the LORD God. Ezekiel 18:5, 9

And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the LORD. Luke 1:6

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified (declared innocent). Romans 2:13

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16

So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Romans 7:12

Based on the Scriptures above, we can see that the laws, instructions, rules, commandments (the Torah of Yahweh) are right and righteous. WE are righteous in Yahweh’s eyes when we do or practice the Torah.

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices (does) righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:7-9

If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices (does) righteousness has been born of Him. 1 John 2:29

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice (do) righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:10

The opposite of righteousness is defined as sin, lawlessness, evil or wickedness. James tells us that “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” The right thing to do in Yahweh’s eyes is to be obedient to His righteous rules. It is extremely important to note that disobedience to His commands is defined by the Bible as sin, whereas obedience to His commands is called righteousness. (1 John 3:4, Romans 6:16, Deut. 6:25)

Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. Malachi 3:18

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34

The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but He loves him who pursues righteousness. Proverbs 15:9

The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29

An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices. Proverbs 29:6

Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity. Daniel 4:27

Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. Malachi 3:18

Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:27-28

And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

And, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. Romans 6:18-19

Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. 1 Corinthians 15:34

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. Hebrews 1:9

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17

He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Peter 3:12

Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. Revelation 22:11

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). But he didn’t just believe with his mind. He believed with his actions. Genesis 18:19 says “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has promised him.” Abraham DID righteousness. When God told Abraham to do something, he obeyed. Genesis 26:4-5 says that all the nations of the world would be blessed because Abraham “obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” The people that Yahweh used and blessed all through the Old and New Testaments were those who believed what He said… and then obeyed Him (Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon, the Prophets, the Disciples, Paul, etc. Hebrews 11)

What does Yahweh tell us to do? He gave us a whole book telling us what He wants us to do. We are to DO righteousness.

Yahweh rewards those who do righteousness – those who practice keeping His laws.

The LORD rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the LORD’s anointed. 1 Samuel 26:23

The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He rewarded me. 1 Samuel 22:21, 25 and Psalms 18:20, 24

Then hear in heaven and act and judge your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing his conduct on his own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness. 1 Kings 8:32, 2 Chronicles 6:23

He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous, but with kings on the throne He sets them forever, and they are exalted. Job 36:7

For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield. Psalms 5:12

For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face. Psalms 11:7

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD. Psalms 33:5

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. Psalms 34:15-21

For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. Psalms 37:17

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; Psalms 45:7

Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.” Psalms 58:11

In His days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! Psalms 72:7

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Psalms 92:12

Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! Psalms 106:3

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. Psalms 112:6

The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. Psalms 146:8

The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Proverbs 3:33

Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Proverbs 10:6

In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. Proverb 12:28

Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good. Proverbs 13:21

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21

Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. Isaiah 3:10

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do His just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord. Zephaniah 2:3

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:10

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 13:43

The Scriptures also say that there is judgement from God for all who practice unrighteousness (disobedience). The wrath of God is released on those who are practice unrighteousness (lawlessness) and deny the Truth.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalms 1:5-6

The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. Psalms 7:8

All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up. Psalms 75:10

The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin. Proverbs 10:16

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. Proverbs 11:4

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:49-50

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Matthew 25:46

And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: John 16:8

For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the Truth. Romans 1:18

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-31

Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the Truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

Only righteousness will reign in the Kingdom of Heaven. Remember that righteousness is obeying divine laws and doing what is right in God’s eyes. What kind of person do you think God wants to live with forever? Somebody that is disobedient and does not respect His authority? Or somebody who humbles himself and submits to the will and the authority of the King? Yeshua himself says that the righteous will inherit eternal life and the rest will go into eternal punishment. Even Paul tell us that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God!

The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. Psalms 37:29

This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. Psalms 118:20

The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land. Proverbs 10:30

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Matthew 25:46

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? 1 Corinthians 6:9

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 (lawfulness). For Christ is the end (goal) of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:2-4

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2 Peter 3:13-14

Paul says in Romans 6:16-19 that we are slaves to the one we obey – either a slave of sin or a slave of righteousness. When we come to belief in Messiah, he sets us free from the bondage/slavery of sin. That means we have the power of Messiah in us through the Holy Spirit to overcome the power that sin has over us and we have the power to live a righteous life! Praise God! We are then free to be slaves of righteousness – living our lives in obedience to Yahweh’s Torah!

“Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.” Romans 6:16-19

Our short time on this earth is to prepare us for an eternity of righteousness. Yahweh tested the people of Israel in the wilderness for forty years to humble them and see if they would keep His commandments or not before they entered the promised land (Deuteronomy 8:2). Their story was written down to be an example for us because we are all in our own wilderness on the way to our promised land. He is testing us to humble us and see if we will be obedient to His commandments. The first generation of Israelites that came out of Egypt failed to keep His commands and did not get to enter into the promised land. Are we failing to keep His commands too?

There are only two kingdoms that reign: the kingdom of this world that is ruled by Satan and is represented by sin, lawlessness, darkness and death; and the Kingdom of God that is ruled by the Father with Yeshua at His right hand and is represented by righteousness, holiness, light and life. You are either of one or the other. There is no middle ground. Life does not mix with death. Sin does not mix with righteousness. The holy does not mix with the profane.

With Yahweh, it’s all or nothing. He wants all of our hearts, all of our minds and all of our actions. He doesn’t want only part of us. He doesn’t want us lukewarm. He will not share our affection with anyone or anything. There is no room for compromise. Yahweh wants His people to be righteous and set-apart from the world so that we glorify Him. Are we glorifying Him with our actions?

Obeying the Torah of Yahweh is righteous for us and pleases Yahweh. Unfortunately, we can’t obey perfectly because we are imperfect beings, but we can try our best out of love and respect for Him. Yeshua died so that our unrighteousness could be atoned for – not so that we could continue in it. When we give our life to Yeshua and repent of our past unrighteousness, His pure priestly blood offers us mercy and forgiveness and His Spirit abiding in us gives us the power and wisdom to overcome the temptations of sin. Do we make His death of no value by then continuing in our unrighteousness? No! We stop doing the unrighteous behavior (sin) and start doing the righteous behavior that He demonstrated. Are we honoring His death, burial and resurrection by living a life that is pleasing to Him?

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:21-24


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