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We should consider righteousness in three dimensions. First is the righteousness of God Himself.

Second, because we are sinners, we must be made righteous. The Bible is clear: we are conceived and born in sin, and we continue in sin until we die. We cannot make ourselves righteous. The doctrine of justification by faith, so precious to the Reformers, tells us that God counts us as righteous based only on the finished sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His death takes away our sin, and His resurrection establishes us in His kingdom of righteousness. But third, we are to seek and pursue personal righteousness.

Anyone who has truly been saved from sin will hate sin and will seek righteousness. We should think about ourselves biblically, and use biblical language as much as possible. We should not let the world scare us away from words like righteous. First published in Tabletalk Magazine , an outreach of Ligonier.

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For permissions, view our Copyright Policy. The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries is to proclaim the holiness of God in all its fullness to as many people as possible. Your gift enables our worldwide outreach. Donate Now. Actions are only an indication of what is in our hearts. Actions are the fruit the heart produces. Modern-day Christianity often puts the emphasis on actions instead of issues of the heart. Laws only affect actions. The Gospel changes hearts. Once hearts are changed, actions change.


Contrary to popular belief, Christianity does not promote receiving justice from the Lord. Praise God for that! The Lord has a much better plan. We get what we believe.

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I once developed pictures in a photography studio for a living. The wonderful plan of salvation is that those who put their faith in Jesus and what He did for us get what He deserves. On the other hand, those who do not put their total faith in Christ will ultimately get what they deserve. Believe me, that is not what they want.

The Grace of God

This will never work. The Biblical story of the handwriting on the wall illustrates this point Dan. Belshazzar was the king of Babylon. His father, Nebuchadnezzar, had conquered the nation of Israel and brought all the wealth of the temple, along with most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, back to Babylon.

During an extravagant feast, with 1, of his lords in attendance, Belshazzar chose to toast his gods using the golden vessels from the temple in Jerusalem, which was in open defiance of the God of Israel.

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Belshazzar called on all his magicians and wise men to decipher the writing, but none could. Then the queen reminded Belshazzar about Daniel who had interpreted the dreams and visions of Nebuchadnezzar when no one else could.

The Righteousness of God

Daniel was summoned and the writing explained. The message from God revealed that Belshazzar had been weighed in the balances and was found wanting. Therefore, his kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians. This came to pass that very night. Belshazzar was overthrown, and Darius, the Mede Persian , took control. So then, how can anyone be saved? The answer is that no one can be saved, if they are trusting in their own righteousness.

God's Righteousness vs Man's Righteousness

We all must have a righteousness that exceeds anything we could ever produce through our own effort. Jesus was in right relationship with God as no one else can be. He is the Son of God. He is God manifest in the flesh 1 Tim.