God is Perfectly Righteous

DICTIONARY DEFINITION

RIGHTEOUS: meaning “right” + “wise”; acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin, the being and doing right.

SYN: honorable, honest, just, fair, good, holy, incorrupt, blameless. (Unless otherwise noted, dictionary definitions are loosely based on Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, 1993.)

Scripture Amplification

“Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak;
And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.
For I proclaim the name of the Lord;
Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.”
Deuteronomy 32:1-4

And He shall judge the world in righteousness,
He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
Psalm 9:8

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever:
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
Psalm 19:9

The Bible Speaks of God’s Righteousness

1. Using the passages on page 19, as well as Psalm 116:6 and Acts 17:30-31, list God’s character and descriptions of Him.

2. Read Psalm 97. In this Psalm, we see how His righteousness works:

a. The Psalm starts with a statement about God’s sovereignty: “The Lord reigns.” Because this is true, what is the reaction?

b. What are the foundations of His throne? (Psalm 97:2)

c. Because of these two attributes, list some things that happen in the natural world and to humans (Psalm 97:3-8).

d. In Psalm 97:10-12, what is the description of those of us who believe in Him?

e. What is the promise?

Isn’t it marvelous that we are declared “righteous”?! Our reaction to this can only be to “… give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name” (v. 12). The perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer when he accepts Jesus Christ (in Hebrew His name is Yeshua Messiah) as his Savior (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21).

How Are We to Respond to God’s Righteousness?

1. What are we commanded to do in response to God’s righteousness? (See Matthew 6:25-34.)

2. Do you think that this is applicable to us at this time?

3. Why?

How Does God’s Righteousness Work Together with His Holiness?

In God’s nature, righteousness is essential to holiness because neither characteristic can tolerate sin, failure, or any other shortcoming. God, Himself, defines and states what is moral and good in creation, government, human character and actions, law. He is the righteous governor of all creation (Isaiah 6:6-9). He is the just dispenser of rewards (Hebrews 11:6) and punishments. Look in Isaiah 11:1-5. The Trinity can be seen at work. Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the “Rod and the Branch” and has the Holy Spirit to give Him wisdom (v. 2). He “fears” or reverences and gets direction from the Father (v. 3). Our Lord Jesus does not use man’s ways of learning, judging, or decision-making, by taking in information with His eyes and ears (v. 3), He determines the reward for both the righteous and the wicked (vv. 4-5) with the wisdom given to Him by the Holy Spirit.

1. Pause here and think about God’s righteousness.

2. Do you have any questions, comments or unease? Jot down your thoughts for further discussion in class.

3. Turn to Romans 12:17-21.

a. Why is God’s righteousness a comfort and benefit to us?
b. What does this passage say to not do?
c. What does this passage say to do?

God Comforts Us With His Righteousness

His comfort comes to us because we can depend upon our Heavenly Father to administer justice on our behalf—at the perfect time. We can leave the responsibility of seeing justice done for us to God Himself. (Note: I am not referring to the administration of justice by the state, our court system, legal entities for civil and criminal laws.) Our focus is to be on Jesus Christ; we can trust His finesse as to how He repays the wickedness done to His children. This releases us from bitterness, focus on the injury, damage done, anger, and revenge planning. We are to look to our Shepherd for comfort, solace, a clear head. Our concentration is best served by obeying His perfect will for our lives.

  1. Copy Romans 12:1-2 below:
  2. How has God’s grace given you victory over struggles or injustices in your personal life?
  3. Read 1 Peter 5:7: “…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” How does this apply in your relationships? Family? Work? Neighbors?

How Does God’s Righteousness Turn Our Anxiety into Thanksgiving?

We are to cease from our own turmoil and frustration. “And casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Philippians 4:6-8 says:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all knowledge, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if anything praise worthy, meditate on these things.

What does Philippians 4:8 describe? None other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, the Word of God, God’s expression. When we are in turmoil, we are to entrust to Him our hurts, fears, and circumstance. He will plead our cause, give us heart-peace, and wisdom to follow Him; He will work out our circumstances in His time.

Finally, please read Philippians 3:8-11. Paul is comparing the value of wealth, possessions, power and so forth, which this world has to offer to “… the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (v. 8). Included in this knowledge of Christ is the fact that Paul (and we as believers) stand before God with Christ’s righteousness and not in our own filthy rags of righteousness (Isaiah 64:6).

1. These are the five things mentioned in Philippians that are ours because we are “found in Him” (3:10-11)? List each one. What does it mean to you?

a. We may ______________ Him; He is not standoffish; He wants an intimate relationship with us.

b. He gives us ________________ to live a different life—seeing circumstances from His perspective, which is revealed in the Scriptures.

c. We will ________________ like He did. His sufferings brought about blessings to others, Salvation offered to all, and joy to His children. We can bring the Gospel to others—especially by living victoriously through suffering. The unbeliever watches our life—do we live what we speak?

d. Being conformed to His ________________. We will have victory over ________________.

e. We can ________________ an unburdened, abundant and blessed “resurrection life”—now.

2. What is your reaction to these truths? For ideas see Psalm 33:1-5, 18-22.

Conclusion

So we see what benefits we have as children of God: He will take care of us, defend us, and ensure that we will be with Him forever. In the meantime here on earth we are assured that His knowing what is right is a comfort to us. He is not capricious or distant or cavalier about our circumstances. Psalm 46:1-2a says:

God is our refuge and strength
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear…

Why is God’s Righteousness So Important to Me?

No circumstance is out of His control, He reigns over all things, events, time, the unseen world. His decisions and actions are ALWAYS right and fair.

In righteousness and truth He avows that He will never leave us or forsake us.

He never makes mistakes or is caught by surprise. Everything fits into His plans.

Whatever suffering we endure—it is allowed by a loving God and will prove to be for His good purpose and valuable to us—and others.

We can experience joy, peace, thanksgiving, comfort, and wisdom beyond our capabilities during the toughest of times.

Bird of Paradise

Imputation can be illustrated by the following example: my personal checking account, which has $0.00 in it; God’s account has zillions of dollars. By imputation He transfers several billion of His dollars to my account. It is His money (righteousness)— His decision to give it to me. God is perfectly and infinitely righteous and He never uses it all up. Since we are in Christ at the moment of our salvation, we are given, and therefore, possess, His righteousness. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans. 8:1). We will not face a perfect God with our own righteousness (good works) but we are clothed with His righteousness.

Isaiah 11:1-5

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And He will delight in the fear of the LORD,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.