What is righteousness?


It is God’s goodness as revealed in his law, and as honored in Christ’s perfect obedience to that law.

When we talked about the word justification, we learned that Jesus gave us the gift of his righteousness. So obviously, that makes us ask another question: what in the world is righteousness? What exactly did Jesus give to us?

If you look at the first part of the word “righteousness,” you’ll have a huge head start in understanding what it means. Right–eousness is doing what God says is right. And where can we find what God says is right? In the pages of his God-breathed Word, the Bible, specifically the laws and commands he gave us to obey. In Psalm 119:138, we learn, “The statutes (commandments) you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy.” God’s “statutes,” his laws and commands, are righteous. We can trust them to show us what is good and right.

We’ve talked about the two Great Commandments. And we’ve looked closely at each of the Ten Commandments. From Commandment #1 to Commandment #10, they describe the right way to live in God’s world. They teach us how to live right–eously!

Like a mirror, God’s laws reflect a little bit of what our Law Giver is like. For example, when God commands, “Do not bear false witness,” it reveals that he is a truthful God. When he commands, “Do not commit adultery,” it reveals that he’s a faithful God who keeps his promises. Every one of God’s commands reveals a little bit of his righteousness, what he thinks is right and good.

God did more than just tell us what he thinks is right – he showed us what it looks like! He didn’t simply sit on his throne in heaven and command others to live righteously. No, God sent his only Son to come and live among us! And during his days on earth, Jesus demonstrated what it looks like to follow God’s law. He obeyed all the big commands. He obeyed all the itty-bitty commands. And he obeyed every one in between! If we want to know how it’s done, we should just look at the life Jesus lived – he did it better than anyone else!

Righteousness is what God says is right and good. In our Bibles, we see righteousness written down in God’s laws. And in Jesus the Christ, we see righteousness lived out in his perfect and sinless life.


+ Read Romans 3:10-11. How many people are righteous?

+ What are some behaviors that God calls righteous? What are behaviors that he calls unrighteous?


Ex. 33:19; 34:6; Ps. 33:5; Hos 3:5; Rom. 11:22

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