Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 14, 2020

What Does It Mean To Be A Righteous Person?

How can a Person be Declared Righteous?

Recently a Christian organization sent out a letter posing the subject question. The variety of responses indicated a rather widespread lack of understanding about Biblical teachings on that subject.

As one might expect, a number of responses focused on works and included the Mosaic Law. Religion, and I specifically exclude Christianity when I say that, is always presenting a set of selected works as the way to achieve their particular god’s approval.

While each religion has a customized set of works which are promoted; they all require adherents to do certain specified things if they are to receive the approval of the religion and whatever so-called god it serves.

Christianity is unique in this matter in that God did the work, and the followers of the Christian faith receive the blessings without doing any work themselves.

This concept absolutely flies in the face of human reason; it just doesn’t make any sense at all to the human mind.

Biblical Righteousness

The Jews, particularly under the influence of the Pharisees, were loaded down with a vast number of works for which they were responsible. God had given the Jews the Mosaic Law which was filled with specific tasks to be performed if God’s approval was to be given.

The Mosaic Law had a deeper meaning, however, it was a picture of the person and the works of the Messiah who was to be sent to the nation of Israel.

Over the centuries, the meaning of the Mosaic Law had become so distorted by the religious leaders that when their Messiah actually came to them, he was not even recognized as the true Messiah and the religious leaders wanted to kill him!

The New Covenant

God had fully anticipated the rejection of the Jewish Messiah and had already carefully planned an alternative which was the mystery of the Church. The Church was to be a whole new world with a new and vastly improved version of mankind included as a bonus.

The rejected Messiah was to die for the sins of the whole world and rise again to life as proof he was indeed God’s Messiah. Israel was to be set aside for a pre-determined number of years and the Holy Spirit would indwell human beings for the first time.

This change took place on Pentecost, May 25, A.D. 33 and is still in effect today as a part of the New Covenant. God’s grace was to be manifested in an enhanced manner to all those transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and joined to the body of Christ, the Church!

God’s new creation was to receive justification before God and given the righteousness of Jesus Christ as a free gift by simple faith in Jesus Christ as Savior!

Grace Replaced Works!

Grace had replaced the works of the Mosaic Law as the basis of righteousness before God with salvation and deliverance by faith in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul speaks to this profound change in Galatians 2:15-21 where it is written:

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

During this age of grace, the Church Age, righteousness is given freely to all who receive Jesus Christ as Savior.

But What About Works?

Christianity is really different, you don’t work to be saved, you work because you are saved! The letter I mentioned in the first paragraph also asked a question:

“If someone asked you to articulate your mission on earth, what would you say?”

If we were to base our answer to that question on the testimony of the Bible, we would have to respond:

My mission on earth is to die to self so Christ might perform his good works in me!

Paul explains this in Ephesians 2:10 where it is written:

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

When you think about it; there is a meaningful balance to be found there. Christ died on the cross that all who receive him as Savior might live; Christians die to self that Jesus Christ might live in them and use them to perform the “good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

This is the plan for the Church, this is the plan for you, this is God’s plan for human righteousness, this is the New Covenant!


  1. Beautifully said, David.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: