We fixate on sins of commission far too much. We practice holiness by subtraction-don’t do this, don’t do that, and you’re okay. The problem with that is this: you can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right. Righteousness is more than doing nothing wrong-it’s doing something right.
Many people live righteously for selfish or misguided reasons. If you are striving to please God, examine your motives today.
Remember particularly that you cannot be a judge of anyone. For no one can judge a criminal until he recognizes that he is just such a criminal as the man standing before him, and that he perhaps is more than all men to blame for that crime. When he understands that, he will be able to be a judge. Though that sounds absurd, it is true. If I had been righteous myself, perhaps there would have been no criminal standing before me. If you can take upon yourself the crime of the criminal your heart is judging, take it at once, suffer for him yourself, and let him go without reproach. And even if the law itself makes you his judge, act in the same spirit so far as possible, for he will go away and condemn himself more bitterly than you have done. If, after your kiss, he goes away untouched, mocking at you, do not let that be a stumbling-block to you. It shows his time has not yet come, but it will come in due course. And if it come not, no matter; if not he, then another in his place will understand and suffer, and judge and condemn himself, and the truth will be fulfilled. Believe that, believe it without doubt; for in that lies all the hope and faith of the saints.”
The Brothers Karamazov
I’m alone and outgunned, scared and inexperienced, but I’m right.
R. Kent Hughes
A taste of righteousness can be easily perverted into an overweening sense of self-righteousness and judgmentalism.
Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger.
This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.
If every man and woman in the world knew what it was to hunger and thirst after righteousness, there would be no danger of war.
The wisdom of God devised a way for the love of God to deliver sinners from the wrath of God while not compromising the righteousness of God.
Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
Henry David Thoreau
If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.
J. A. Motyer
Those who are Biblically righteous are “right with God and therefore committed to putting right all other relationships in life.
The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, InterVarsity Press.
There is a righteousness which Paul calls “the righteousness of faith.” God imputes it to us apart from our works. . . . [Now] though I am a sinner in myself, with regard to the moral law, . . . yet in that righteousness I have no sin, no sting of conscience, no fear of death. I have another righteousness and life above this life, which is Christ the Son of God.
Taken from Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, Penguin Publishing Group.
“Righteousness,” within the lawcourt setting-and this is something that no good Lutheran or Reformed theologian ought ever to object to-denotes the status that someone has when the court has found in their favor. Notice, it does not denote, within that all-important lawcourt context, “the moral character they are then assumed to have,” or “the moral behavior they have demonstrated which has earned them the verdict.
Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision, IVP Press.
When God “credits righteousness”, He is conferring a legal status on someone. He treats them as actually righteous and free from condemnation, even though they are still actually unrighteous in their heart and behavior. They are “justified.”
Galatians For You, The Good Book Company, 2013.
There are only two kinds of people: the righteous who think they are sinners and the sinners who think they are righteous.
Still Looking for inspiration?
Consider checking out our illustrations page on Righteousness.