Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6 KJV)
Almost everyone longs for righteousness. This
is why Matthew 5:6 is such a great promise. We not only can have righteousness, but we can be filled with it. But just what is
righteousness, and how many of us are righteous? The LORD said that
Noah was righteous and his whole family was saved: The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the
ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in
this generation. (Genesis 7:1 NIV). The fact
that only Noah was found righteous by God is important. Many people
were probably righteous in their own eyes, but not in the eyes of God.
Another man declared righteous was Abraham. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham
believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (Romans
4:3 NIV). Abraham did some things that we may not consider
righteous, but those things don't matter to God. Abraham believed and
trusted in God - we can do the same.
Why is righteousness important? Because Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a
disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14:34). Also, The LORD rewards every man for his
righteousness and faithfulness. (1 Samuel 26:23 NIV).
In addition to all of this, it is important for our leaders to be
righteous. The God of Israel spoke,
the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over men in
righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light
of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after
rain that brings the grass from the earth.' (2Samuel
23:3-4 NIV). And let's not forget that The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:5 NIV).
God will reward those who are righteous: You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing
you with the oil of joy. (Psalm 45:7 NIV).
So, who is righteous? As it is
written, "There is no one righteous. No, not one. (Romans
3:10 WEB). The fact is that mankind has no ability to be
righteous by himself. Thousands of years of history declare this truth.
The good news is that we have the Saviour Jesus Christ, through whom we
can become righteous. God made him
who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the
righteousness of God. (2Corinthians 5:21 NIV).
We can begin to be righteous to God when we understand what Noah did
about faith and his position in the world. By faith Noah, when warned about things not
yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he
condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by
faith. (Hebrews 11:7 NIV). The apostle Paul
showed great insight into what is required to become righteous when he
said "What is more, I consider
everything a loss compared to the
surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I
have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes
from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the
righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." (Philippians
3:8-9 NIV). All those in Christ can be told "For you were once darkness, but now you are
light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the
light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out
what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:8 NIV).
You might be wondering where to find the information that you can use
to become righteous in the eyes of God. Look in the Bible, because All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful
for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so
that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2Ti 3:16-17 NIV). We all need to learn a new way of
life so that we can be told "You were
taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off
your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be
made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self,
created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore
each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully
to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body." (Ephesians
4:22-25 NIV). When we are in Christ, we have faith and hope. ... by faith we eagerly await through the
Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. (Galatians 5:5 NIV)
O wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus
Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God. (Ro