Sunday, January 25, 2015
Understanding God's Righteousness
Romans 1:17 "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Four types of righteousness in the Bible
Having discussed yesterday the definition of righteousness in the Bible, we once again put forth our working definition of this important concept: “a life and conduct that is pure, innocent and perfectly pleasing with and before God.” It is vitally important to grasp the fact that the Bible refers to four main categories or types of righteousness: God's righteousness, Christ's righteousness, Credited righteousness and Practical righteousness. There are of course secondary categories, but for our purposes the four above cover virtually every square inch of the issue. Today's post will consider the first of these.
God is His own standard of righteousness, that is to say, He is absolutely pure, innocent and perfectly pleasing in and of Himself in His own life and conduct. Jeremiah 12:1 “Righteous are you, O Lord, when I plead with you; yet let me talk with you about your judgments.” Ezra says of the Lord in Ezra 9:15 “O Lord God of Israel, you are righteous”. Psalm 71:19 states plainly – “Also, your righteousness, O God, is very high. You have done great things.” We read in Matthew 6:33 one of the central statements in Jesus’ sermon on the mount: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness”. The achievement of Jesus on the cross demonstrated God’s righteousness, as stated in Romans 3:25 – “whom God set forth as a propitiation (i.e satisfaction) by His blood through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God passed over the sins that were previously committed.”
As we think on righteousness as being central to the character and activity of God Himself, we must necessarily ask how Jesus is related to the righteousness of God? Jesus Christ is asserted repeatedly to be equal to God (Mark 2:7; John 8:58; Hebrews 1:3-4); sharing equally in the very Divine nature with the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6) and the Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20; John 1:1-3; 2 Corinthians 13:14) and being eternally God who came to take upon Himself human flesh. (John 1:14; Romans 9:5). The reason why Jesus, touching His Divinity, can demonstrate the righteousness of God is because He Himself is God. This point is very important, since it leads into the second type of righteousness described in the Bible, which we will look at tomorrow....