The dictionary gives the definition of righteousness as righteous conduct. It gives the meaning of the word righteous as being morally right or justifiable. The word righteousness is translated from Hebrew and Greek terms signifying that which conforms to the character of God or that which is right.

O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day--to the men of Judah,
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them,
because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.
Daniel 9:7

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. Romans 3:21

The desire to please ourselves rather than pleasing God is within all mankind. By nature, man is not righteous. Wanting to have appropriate behavior comes only when our heart and spirit are clean. We all need to ask God to create a pure heart in us all.

All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. 1 John 5:17

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

The foundation of righteousness is found in God's character. There is righteousness in His judgements.

And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them,
" I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous, and my people and I are wicked."
Exodus 9:27

The righteousness of our Lord God is seen in the death of Jesus Christ, our Savior. His characteristics are seen in Christ.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned.
For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation,
but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
Romans 5:16

Righteousness is seen in people, not by their being good, but by their closely imitating Christ's example. All throughout His life, Christ lived a life that was characteristic of God's righteousness. Think of how wonderful this world would be if everyone tried to pattern their lives after Christ!!

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

As we imitate Christ's actions and continually live our lives righteously before our Lord God, we will live our lives to His glory and become His righteousness.

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground,
for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:12

Righteousness is such an extremely important quality of our Lord. This will involve complete agreement with the word of God. As we read the Scriptures and become aware of what righteous refers to, we see how important it is to follow the word of our Lord. Those without righteousness are bent on doing evil. As long as we have righteousness, we will persevere against evil.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Sometimes we may have a trial, difficulties arise in our lives. You may have heard the phrase - these are trying times we live in. And they are. Occasionally it might seem that each time you turn around, you are faced with another trial. If we handle the trial as God would have us to, it will help us grow stronger inside.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

So often, we may have something in our lives that makes us stronger. Paul had a 'thorn in the flesh'- possibly some form of an illness. This illness might have been associated with the many beatings he received, or it might have been some form of a disease. We don't know for sure. But, the one thing we do know is that he did not allow this 'thorn in the flesh' to prevent him from teaching God's word.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
2 Corinthians 12:7

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5:3-4

We see how various trials ,sickness or hardships placed upon us because of our stand in the faith will eventually strengthen us – helping us form a stronger character. At the time they are occurring, it is hard, I know. But, think of the blessings you will have later on if you handle it as God and Christ want you to. We are His representatives on earth, all we do and say is watched by people. Ask yourself, "Is this the way I would want Jesus to find me when He comes again?" That could mean your actions and /or where you are at the time. We need to remember that our example is always being watched by someone.

So then each of us shall give account of himself to God Romans 14:12

May we be as those in Sardis of whom John wrote in the book of Revelation. May we see the importance of striving continually for the prize which is before us.

You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments;
and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
Revelation 3:4

As in the athletic games in early Rome, the runners ran and all competed for the goal - a prize. We are told in John 14 that Jesus has prepared a place for those who are found faithful unto death. It is then and there that we will receive the prize if we have been found faithful by the Lord.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:1-2

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.
Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested,
and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelation 2:10

With righteousness, we are hopeful. How our hope needs to be placed upon God. This is such an important part of a Christian's life. Without the hope that we need to have, we are lost as someone who is lost in the sea.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
1 John 3:2-3

When we are righteous, we are deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of all of mankind. Since we are God's representatives upon this earth, it is our responsibility to be concerned over others' spiritual well being. Those who are righteous are covered with blessings. In Christ, we have an abundance of blessings.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,
for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen
Matthew 28:19-20

I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 1:16-20

to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church
to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 3:10

Discussion and study questions:
1. What is our greatest blessing?
2. How do we become righteous?
3. How is our character developed?
4. In whom should we be genuinely interested and why?

Below are some activities that might help us as we apply the lesson to our lives:
1.Talk about or list the dangers we face and how to avoid them if we do not continually strive for righteousness.
2. Based upon the lesson on the Righteousness of God, prepare a list of standards that would be applicable to you and your soul's salvation.
3. Describe how these dangers could effect our soul's salvation.

Linda Lawrence