“Righteousness” may sound like an old-fashioned word. A few decades ago, it was used the way we would use “awesome” today. Something “righteous” was sweet, great, or wonderful. And it does have that kind of meaning. But in the Bible, it doesn’t describe something; it describes Someone.
The word “righteous” actually describes someone who is always just, fair, and filled with integrity. Although people may sometimes be fair, may sometimes operate with justice, and may have some integrity, all of us mess up and do things that are just not right. No matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to live out that “righteousness” in our lives. That’s why Paul says, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). He’s talking about all people.
Another word we use often today is “wicked”. Somehow, we’ve taken a word that means evil and turned it into a word that describes something good. Just making that choice proves how far away from righteousness the world really is. Far too often, the world’s choices are anything but fair (like killing an unborn child). Our idea of Justice can actually be more like revenge. And our integrity is frequently dependent on whether we will gain or lose by living up to our word.
The only One who is truly righteous is God. He is the only One who never operates without fairness. God is the only One who can determine true Justice, and He is the only One whose integrity is eternal.
No matter how hard we try, we can never make ourselves righteous. But when we receive salvation in Jesus, His righteousness becomes ours. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, His Spirit actually lives within our hearts. He begins to change us from the inside out. The blood He shed on the cross covers over are sinful selves and when God looks at us, He sees us through the image of His sinless Son. Through faith in Jesus, we can actually become righteous in the sight of God. (See Phil. 3: 9).
This article is taken from the Extreme Teen Study Bible
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