Being Declared Righteous

Being Declared Righteous

For it is not those who hear the law that are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Romans 2:13

What comes to mind when you think of a person being righteous? Is it someone locked up in their room praying all day, a greek scholar or theologian, someone who never makes a mistake, or a person who thinks they are holier-than-thou. The word righteous can bring up negative thoughts and feelings because quite honestly it seems unrealistic.

In the original language of the bible the word for righteousness means to be just in the eyes of God. Our righteousness does not come from locking ourselves up in a room all day to pray, understanding deep theological concepts, doing everything perfectly, or correcting others faults, it comes only from the way God sees us.  Our righteousness is dependant on God and nothing else.

In Romans 2 Paul is discussing isssues between the Gentiles (non-jews) and Jews (God's chosen people, Israel).  Verses 12-29 talk about how Jews that are convinced they they are a guide to others are blaspheming the name of God by studying, teaching, and doing all of the physical acts of the law while neglecting to obey it in their hearts. Verses 28-29 say that a person is a Jew not by physical circumsision but by circumsision of the heart.

The point is that it is not hearing the word but obeying the word that brings righteousness. It is entirely possible to sit on the church pew every sunday, be involved at every church event, pray and study the word of God all day but never truly obey the law. God does not want containers of information but agents of transformation. Loving God and others is the ultimate fulfillment of the Law.

Righteousness is not unrealistic. It's only a two step process: love God and love others because when you are truly loving God and others you will naturally obey the law. Righteousness is not a check-list its a relationship. Obeying God's word naturally flows from your relationship with him.

Don't just go through the motions of being a Christian today. Seek God's voice and obey it. Long to be seen as just in the eyes of the Lord. Pursue your relationship with God and naturally over time you will obey his word more and more. Obey his word and be declared righteous.