The Overcomer Trust

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By The Editor

“The Lord watches over the way of the righteous” (Psalm 1 v6)


The Lord

The word “righteousness” in the New Testament is “dikaiosune” in Greek, from the root word “dikaios”.  This is the Greek for “that which is right and just”, therefore Biblical righteousness refers to living correctly by an upright standard.   It is a measurement of how good our actions are in the sight of God.  In the Old Testament the benchmark of righteousness was the Ten Commandments.  Paul said, “that the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith, but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal” (Romans 9 v30-31).  His nation, Israel, prided themselves in keeping the law of Moses, yet Paul clearly identifies faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the better and only way of obtaining a perfect righteousness.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2 v9).  In fact, we read that the Lord expected Israel to know that He was their righteousness.  One of His names is Jehovah Tsidkenu, which in Hebrew means “the Lord our Righteousness” or “the Lord our Righteous Saviour” (Jeremiah 23 v6). 

The Promise

If we read a verse further back in Jeremiah the promise was that, “I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land” (Jeremiah 23 v5).  Throughout the Old Testament there are promises of what is to come, those who were “hidden” from the Lord’s anger and judgement were a prophetic sign of Christ’s Church in the New Testament.  We read of Job who said, “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me” (Job 29 v14), and now we are clothed with the “Breastplate of Righteousness” (Ephesians 6 v14).  Zephaniah reads, “seek righteousness, seek humility, perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2 v3).  Those in the New Testament covenant who are covered by the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and have His righteousness, will avoid His anger on Judgement Day.  “For, He chose us in Him before the creation of the World to be holy and blameless in His sight” (Ephesians 1 v4).  Scripture reads, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2 v24).  The Bible is clear that in Christ, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5 v21).  The meaning here is that we are made “the righteousness of God” and are given this as a free gift because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  In fact, Jesus told the story of the man who had two sons, one took his inheritance and then lost it all because of sinful living, yet at the end of the story the Bible says, “the father said to his servants, ‘Quick, bring the best robe and put it on him.  Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet’” (Luke 15 v22).  This robe is the “robe of His righteousness” written about in Isaiah 61, verse 10.  The Bible promises that the Lord Jesus Christ will cloth us in His righteousness.  This is a picture of the New Birth, the believer goes from being dead in sin to now being watched over and seen by their Father God.  To the extent that now each believer has “confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10 v19), this is a relationship with God.  Jesus did what we could never do, that was to offer His righteousness to us as a free gift. 

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5 v21).  Our Lord was sinless, the people of Israel could not enter into relationship with God because of self-righteousness.  Paul continued to say in Romans that, “they pursued it not by faith but as it were by works.  They stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Romans 9 v32).  The Gentiles can now come into saving faith because Christ has done it all.  He lived sinlessly, died on the Cross to fulfil the prophecies, took on our sin and then rose again on the third day.  All we have to do is believe with our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and we are saved.  The ease of this free gift was the stumbling stone for those who put their trust in their own righteousness.  So it is today, if anyone thinks that they can somehow gain God’s favour by doing the law of Moses, they do not understand what has happened on the Cross of Calvary.  By trusting only in the finished work of the Cross, any of us can obtain a relationship with God.  We are like Paul who said, “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 on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3 v9).

In Practice.

Practically what does living in Christ’s righteousness look like?  Firstly we must thank Him daily for His marvellous gift of grace that by His work on earth and on the Cross, alone, we can now be called Children of God, who are forgiven of their sins.  

Secondly, we must not be tempted to stay in condemnation or self-pity.  All have sinned and John says, “I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2 v1).  As believers, we still have the capability for sin but we do not have the right to live condemned if we do sin, because we are “the righteousness of Christ" (2 Corinthians 5 v21) and “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8 v1).  Nor is sin a reflection of how righteous we now are in Christ.  Repent for your sin, yes, but do not think that your right works bring you any closer to God the Father.  No, only by the Blood of Christ, are we made righteous.  This is a once and for all time thing, which we must remind ourselves about as much as we can.  The truth is, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3 v23), and only the Lord Jesus Christ was perfect.  This perfection has been given to those who believe and trust in Him, their debt of sin is cancelled and Heaven is now home.   You have a new perfect Father, and He will father you and lead you in the Paths of Righteousness (Psalm 23 v3; Proverbs 8 v20).  “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1 v17).  Above all we have the Holy Spirit living in us who will convict us of “sin and righteousness” (John 16 v8).  Let us always pray that we will be conscious of our right standing before our Heavenly Father, so that we will stay in perfect fellowship with Him every day.  

And remember as Paul said, “don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, whether you are slave to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which lead to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6 v16-18).