MORE ABOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS
“Righteousness” is a very big subject in the Bible. The apostle Paul wrote his greatest letter, to the Romans, to explain the righteousness of God and how it works out in practice to deal with our sin and at the same time to transform our lives.
“Righteousness” is a practical concept. In our western way of understanding, we think of righteousness as not doing bad things e.g. not telling lies, or committing adultery or murder. As long as we are keeping the letter of the Ten Commandments, we feel that we are righteous before God.
To a Hebrew person, righteousness has a deeper meaning. It is impossible to be righteous and stingy or greedy at the same time. Righteousness is expressed, not by not doing bad things but by actively doing what is right, by being caring and generous to all people.
The New Testament often speaks about “doing good”, or “good works” e.g.,Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
What are these “good works” which God has prepared for us to do? Jesus told stories to illustrate the kind of good works He expects of us, not to make us righteous, but to show the world what God is like.
In Matthew 25:31- 46, He told another one of those “the kingdom of heaven is like…” stories. When He comes in His glory to complete His great work of restoration, He will separate all people into two groups, the one called “sheep” and other called “goats”. Why sheep and goats? Is it because sheep need to follow a shepherd while goats are independent and can look after themselves?
If the sheep follow their shepherd, what do they do? What He did! What did He do? He took care of people. Acts 10:38 puts what He did in a nutshell: “…He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.”
The problem is that we are often too busy making sure that we have enough, and that all our needs are taken care of. Jesus said that that’s what the pagans do. They run after the material things.
What should make us different? If we do what we can to make life better for someone else, Jesus said that God would take care of all our needs.
This is how He put it. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all theses things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33.
Do everything you can to show the people around you God’s generous love and He’ll take care of all your needs.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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