Doctrine of Righteousness
I. Righteousness Defined
A. Original language
a. Root qdx sdq conform to a norm. It may mean the standard of God in relation to his covenant, what is just or fair as in weights in measure; what is ethical or morally right.
b. Verb qédDx, qOdDx be righteous, just
Qal —to be righteous
Piel—demonstrated as righteous
Hiphil —to declare righteous
c. Usage: The term is almost always used in a judicial or forensic sense, which will be the focus of our study.
Translations will use such terms as justify, acquit or some synonym.
a. A human acquits or declares “righteous” another human. (Deut. 23:7; Is. 5:23).
b. God declaring someone “righteous” or “justifying” (Ex. 23:7;1 Kgs. 8:32).
c. In general use: Gen. 44:16; Jer. 3:11;Ezek. 16:51-52
verb dikaio/w – dikaiooœ
noun dikaiosu/nh dikaiosyne -righteousness, justice
adj. di÷kaioß dikaios —righteous
II. As an Attribute of God
A. Defined: God conforms to his own norm or standard, that which is always perfectly right and just. All that he does is righteous.
Psa. 11:7 For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness;
The upright will behold His face.
Psa. 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.
Rom. 3:5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) NAS95
Rom. 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
Rom. 3:26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
2 Cor. 9:9 cf. Ps. 11:9;Rev. 16:5
III. God Acts in Righteousness
A. In Judgment—deliverance for the righteous and destruction on the unrighteous
Psa. 72:2 May he judge Your people with righteousness
And Your afflicted with justice.
Psa. 96:13 Before the Lord, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness.
Acts 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
Jer. 9:24;Ps. 7:8; 9:4,8;18:20;97:2
B. In Judgment in Relation to the Nation Israel According to the Covenant.
Is. 10:22 For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea,
Only a remnant within them will return;
A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.
Is. 5:16 But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment,
And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. NAS95
C. In Salvation
1. The Righteousness of God is an active part of God’s saving activity.
Is. 46:13 “I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off;
And My salvation will not delay.
And I will grant salvation in Zion,
And My glory for Israel.
Is. 46:12 ¶ Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
you who are far from righteousness.
Is. 46:13 ¶ I am bringing my righteousness near,
it is not far away;
and my salvation will not be delayed. ¶ I will grant salvation to Zion,
my splendor to Israel.
2. The Righteousness of God is Manifested in One’s Salvation
Psa. 51:14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
Mic. 7:9 ¶ Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the Lord’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and establishes my right. ¶ He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
Psa. 35:27 Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication (sadiq);
And let them say continually, “The Lord be magnified,
Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.”
Psa. 35:28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness
And Your praise all day long.
Psa. 4:1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
Rom. 1:17 For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But he who is righteous by faith shall live.”
Ps. 37:6;Is. 50:8
IV. Righteousness and the Believer
A. One is credited or obtains righteous by faith (Rom. 3:22,26;4:3,13; 9:30;10:4,6,10; Phil. 3:9) not by doing righteous deeds (Titus 3:5).
B. Believers receive righteousness through Christ
(Rom. 5:17; 1 Cor. 1:30;2 Cor. 5:21).
C. Believers are to pursue it (Matt. 5:6;1 Tim. 6:11; 2Tim. 2:22), seek it (Matt. 6:33), act righteously (Rom. 6:13; Heb. 11:33;Ja. 1:20), be trained in it through knowing Scripture (2Tim. 3:16) and live it (Eph. 4:24;1 Pet. 2:24).
D. Believers are not to do acts of righteousness just to be seen (Matt. 6:1).
E. Believers produce it as a fruit (Phil 1:11; Hb 12:11;
F. We are to wear the breastplate of righteousness (Eph. 6:14 and it is part of our weaponry (2Cor. 6:7).
G. It is one of the disguises of false teachers (2 Cor. 11:12-15).
H. Believers may suffer for living righteous (1 Pet. 3:14
I. There is a crown of righteousness (2Tim. 4:8), a crown reserved for the most faithful of believers. See Doctrine of Crowns
J. It is the quality of the kingdom of God (Rom. 14:17) and the eternal new heavens and earth (2Pet. 3:13,