The Righteousness of God
If you are like me, we need constant reminders of biblical truths. We often say “preach the gospel to yourself everyday.” The gospel is not just for unbelievers but for believers on a daily basis. You and I need a reminder to apply the gospel to our everyday circumstances. Other biblical truths we need reminding of are the attributes of God. There are many we can glean from scripture. In fact, A.W. Pink (1886-1952) wrote a short book which lists seventeen.
God’s holiness, goodness and righteousness are a few of His attributes often used in- terchangeably. They refer to His perfection. Matthew 5:48 says, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
God is completely righteous and holy. “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works” (Ps. 145:17); “Thou only art holy” (Rev. 15:4); “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3). We also learn that His righteousness revealed in His law is rigid: James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has be- come guilty of all.” God is separate, holy and perfect—unlike you and I.
Knowledge of God’s righteousness is a key component of the gospel. Before an unbeliever can know he is a sinner he needs to know about a holy God. The holiness of God provides the contrast to man and the need for a savior. Nothing provides a better picture of the de- pravity of man than to stand next to a holy God. Believers need reminding of this as well. Our salvation in light of His holiness highlights His grace and mercy. Without the contrast we begin to think of God like ourselves, and ourselves like God. Psalm 50:21 says, “These things (slander) you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I (God) was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.” Romans 10:3 says, “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”
How then do we approach a holy and righteous God? Who will save us? Paul asked the same question as he described his wretchedness and sin committed against a holy God. Paul’s answer in Romans 7:25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Only Christ’s righteousness is sufficient.