What is it?
Righteousness is holy, upright living, which conforms to God’s standards and is based on His character.
In former days, righteousness was spelled rightwiseness, which is the clearer meaning. It comes from root words meaning rightness, equity, justification, just, holy, or innocent.
*How is it attained?
It cannot be obtained (possessed) or attained (accomplished) by obedience nor by works… It is by grace alone, for “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9 NKJV)
*What does it do?
It makes us right in God’s eyes… We are not righteous because of any inherent goodness; we are righteous because of our identification with Christ by faith. Because of the blood Jesus shed as our sacrifice for sin, we have been justified in the eyes of God. We have been made righteous by Christ’s righteousness within us.
It gives us God’s wisdom… “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30 NIV)
Things are added to our lives… When we seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first, Scripture says, “all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33 NKJV) All what things? All the things necessary for life.
*How does it look/behave?
It is not hypocritical… If our righteousness does not surpass “that of the Pharisees…[we] will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20 NIV)
It hungers and thirsts for more… “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matt. 5:6 NIV)
It produces right living within us… “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” (Isa. 32:17 NIV) We will, therefore, behave in a Godly manner, with peace, quietness, and confidence as distinguishing marks of God’s character at work within us.
Is rightwiseness at work in you?