Have you ever heard someone say that Jesus was the only righteous man to ever walk the earth? Maybe you’ve heard others say that only God is righteous. In some people’s eyes, righteousness is viewed as something that is unattainable for human beings and only attributed to God. On the contrary, righteousness is actually a requirement, by God, for a believer and follower of Christ. But first, we must gain a proper understanding of what being righteous actually means to God.
In Hebrew, the word for righteous is tsaddîyq, which means someone who is just in conduct and character. If you look in the Word Study dictionary, righteousness is defined as this: “the righteous is used to convey the ideal concept of those who follow God’s standards.” If a person is following God’s standards, and they have godly, moral conduct, and character, then that means they must have a clear understanding of God’s laws and His ways.
There are quite a few men mentioned in the Bible who followed and upheld the laws of God. Noah was one of those men, and the Bible called him a righteous man. He was a just man, and he was blameless and innocent in his generation (Gen 6:9). The Lord saved Noah and his family from the flood that destroyed the entire earth because he alone was righteous in God’s sight (Gen 7:1-4). Noah had a right understanding of God’s commandments, and he was obedient to the word of the Lord (Gen 7:5).
The Bible also tells us that God is righteous on more than one occasion.
“Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgements”
“For the LORD is [absolutely] righteous, He loves righteousness (virtue, morality, justice); the upright shall see His face”
(Ps 11:7 AMP).
If we are to be like our Father in heaven (Matt 5:48), then that means He expects His people to also be righteous just like He is righteous. We must learn of Him and seek after His ways. There’s wisdom and knowledge (Pro 4:7) of God’s word that we must acquire in order for us to walk upright. After all, God is the Word and the Word is God (Jn 1:1).
We must not forget that the Bible makes a clear distinction between a righteous person and a wicked person. The righteous person is the one who serves God, and the wicked one does not. The word wicked in Hebrew is râshâ, and it means an ungodly person – one who is guilty of sin or a crime. In the Word Study dictionary, a wicked person is defined as: “people who are enemies of God and His people…those described by this word are evil and do not learn righteousness.” Romans 1:26-32 paints a descriptive picture of the actions, character and moral conduct of a wicked person.
As children of God, it is crucial that we study out His word so that our spiritual eyes can be opened to see the truth. When we can comprehend what the Lord is actually saying to us through the scriptures, then we are gaining a right understanding of God and His ways. As a result we are able to walk in His righteousness.
“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that opens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, THE JUST and UPRIGHT SHALL LIVE BY FAITH”
(Rom 1:17 AMP).