THE PATHWAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (Hebrews 1:9) KJV.
Righteousness is considered a path according to the psalmist, David in Psalm 23:3. David was such a man who considered being righteous a priority in his life. He prayed to the Lord asking Him to lead Him in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake that is for the Lord’ sake. The anchor verse was in reference to Jesus who was referred to as a lover of righteousness. Jesus, who is our savior set a model for us walk in the paths he walked. Before going further, we will consider some definitions of righteousness.
Righteousness can be defined as “The quality or state of being righteous.” It is defined as, “conformity of life to the divine law.” And additionally as “the act, or conduct of one who is righteous.” God delights in righteousness. Jesus is the righteous one who set us back on track of God’s original desire for us, before the fall of man in the garden of Eden as confirmed by the scriptures. “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ).
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made RIGHTEOUS (Romans 5:17-19) KJV.
According to the book of Romans quoted, we see righteousness is a gift that we received when we became partakers of Christ and because of this free gift of righteousness, many were made righteous. Righteousness is our heritage. Abraham believed in the Lord God and God counted it to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Believing in the Lord is the basis for righteousness (Romans 10:9-10).
Man was made righteous but we lost the God given ability to be righteous and man carved out his own form of righteousness but man’s righteousness was at best considered filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Man has not the power to be righteous and David understood this and that is why he declared saying, O God of my righteousness (Psalms 4:1). In fact, what was quoted in Hebrews 1:9 was the quote of David in Psalms 45:7, “Thou lovest righteousness…”
JESUS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Righteousness is not just a gift we receive to live right, it is actually a person and this person is Jesus. We receive Him as our righteousness. He comes into us to be the righteous one in us. We live by His righteousness and not ours. Jesus has been made all things to us. We should have the mindset of Jesus living in us. (Read 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 2:20). Jesus was described in the book of Isaiah 59:17 as being dressed in the breastplate of righteousness and we see a repeat in Ephesians 6:14 where we were told to also dress the same way.
The breastplate is worn on the region of the chest where the heart is located. This connotes something incredibly significant and this means righteousness should be an attitude of our hearts and it is with our hearts we believe unto righteousness (Romans 10:10). In Jeremiah 33:15 it is stated thus, “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David; and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the Land.”
Jesus is that branch of righteousness. In verse 16 of the same Jeremiah 33, Jesus is called, “The LORD our righteousness.”
THE LIGHT AND PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Humanity’s greatest puzzle has always been that of morality and justification before God. Many might not agree with such a definite assessment, but it is true, and every generation on earth since Adam and Eve have been faced with the same questions of morality. Despite the advancement of the human race in important areas such as science, technology, health, economics, and civil society, the greatest questions and most difficult challenges of every generation have always been laid in the grey areas of morality; take a pick – from slavery to civil rights, to abortion, to the definition of marriage, to gender identity, to terrorism, and even the many wars we have fought – there are serious moral issues at the root of all these issues.
Such issues have been subjects of much deliberations over the years because hidden within the recess of every human soul is a knowing and a deep yearning for justification and a sense of approval from the originator of what we have come to know as life. Of course an increasing number of people have become averse to any direct link between morality and one universal God. Many of such people have tried to cultivate their hearts to ignore the deep lying need for justification from a higher being, and many have achieved a deceptive mastery over their conscience to accept the notion that they are not morally obligated to a divine being.
But the majority of us humans agree that there is one God above us to whom we are accountable; what we have not come into full light of is how we are to relate with Him and how we are justified before Him. Those of us who have been saved by faith in Jesus Christ have a more particular interest in coming into a definite knowledge of God’s expectancy for humanity. In earlier generations when men were not so conceited, the need to find the paths of righteousness and come into a pleasing standing before God was a glaring and frontal issue on the hearts of individuals, institutions and even governments.
Fast forward many generations, after Jesus Christ has come and has modelled the path of life, being the very revelation of God’s righteousness, we have now come to know God has a definite standard for man, and that it is indeed possible for a human to be well pleasing in the sight of God. We have come to know that a man can fulfil all the righteous requirements of God. We have come to know that perfection in the eyes of God is not some far- fetched unattainable concept because Jesus Christ Himself as a human being was perfected and became the author of eternal salvation to all who will obey Him.
The task for the generations of men who have and are yet to come after Jesus Christ is no longer one of vague speculation as to whether it is possible to attain the righteous standards of God. Rather the finished work of Christ brought a definiteness to the ultimate purpose and pursuit of humanity. Jesus set the mark for us and dissolved any doubt about the expectations of God for man.
The task for the generations of men who have come after the days of Jesus’ manifestation and walk in the flesh, among whom we are, is a task of discovery and pursuit of divine revelation – the revelation of Gods righteousness. Beloved we have a sacred calling to discover the paths of righteousness and to diligently explore the way of divine pleasure – the very way which has been paved already for us in Christ Jesus, who is the light of the world, the light of life and the light of men.
Jesus Christ declared in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”. Jesus brought a great light into the earth! – He brought the revelation of God’s righteousness. He came to show how man can be well pleasing unto God. He actually brought the answer to the most significant and important question in all of humanity, which is “how do we find our divine purpose and take our place in the perfect will of God?” Beloved, the paths of righteousness can only be found by the light which Christ sheds.
In this season, God is calling and drawing people towards himself to come and learn His righteous ways. And the light of God is shining to make the righteous paths of God plain to those hungry for His righteous ways.
BENEFITS OF BEING RIGHTEOUS
- Righteousness guarantees that you will be satisfied and filled. For those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled (Matthew 5:16).
- Those who are persecuted for righteousness sake are rewarded with the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10).
- Living righteously with the help of Jesus guarantees the favor of God being upon us (Hebrew 1:9).
- We will be blessed in all areas if we are seekers of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
- Whoever works righteousness and fears god is accepted by Him (Acts 10:35).