What are God’s attributes? When we talk about the attributes of God, we are trying to answer questions like, who is God, what is God like, and what kind of God is He? An attribute of God is something true about Him. Each Friday we will look at the attributes of God. This week, God is righteous.
“The LORD is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does.” – Psalm 145:17 (NIV).
The righteousness of God, one of the most prominent attributes of God in the Scriptures, is also one of the most elusive. Initially, distinguishing the righteousness of God from His holiness or His goodness seems difficult. God always acts righteously; His every action is consistent with His character. God is always consistently “Godly.” God is not defined by the term “righteous” as much as the term “righteous” is defined by God. Righteousness is part of God’s character. Since He is righteous, that means that there is no other way for Him to act because He must remain true to who He is.
We live in an age when the distinction between right and wrong is becoming increasingly blurred. Our culture believes that what is morally right varies from person to person and situation to situation. Yet God’s standards do not change; they are timeless. God’s laws are a reflection of His own righteous nature. Through faith in Christ, we are given His righteousness. He bore our sin at the cross, then blesses us with the gift of His righteousness when we come to faith in Him.
Romans 3:21-22 (ESV) says, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction.” Romans 5: 17 says, “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 adds, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
Isn’t it amazing that our God would make that kind of trade? It seems beyond comprehension to imagine that a holy, righteous God would take our sin upon Himself so that He could cover us with His righteousness. But if He didn’t do so, we would have no hope. God could have chosen to remain unknown to us, but He didn’t. Instead, He offers us the righteousness of Christ.
- When you hear the word righteousness, what do you think of?
- From your perspective, how does a person become righteous or unrighteous?
- Do you struggle with trying to measure your righteousness against that of others? What about that of Jesus?