Summary: What is righteousness and what effect does it have on the believer?
The Effect Of Righteousness
-- New Revised Standard
Isaiah 32:17 The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
The New King James says it like this.
Isaiah 32:17 The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
I have a question to ask, have you ever considered that righteousness has an effect?
The prophet Isaiah said it is quietness and trust or assurance forever.
This is something to strive for. However we must understand what righteousness is and how we can receive this effect. Many would say it is the result of holy living. In other words, if you live a holy life then you are righteous. I believe this is not accurate, it is the other way around. If you are righteous, it will effect you, and that effect will be to walk in holiness. God’s Word tells us in 1Pt:1:16: Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
We certainly can not be holy on our own. We know our own righteousness is as filthy rags. So how do we achieve this?
I would like to start out by looking at what righteousness is. One of the definitions given by W.E. Vines Greek dictionary of righteousness is… "the character or quality of being right or just"; it was formerly spelled "rightwiseness," which clearly expresses the meaning. It is used to denote an attribute of God, and that of a gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God. This righteousness is unattainable by obedience to any law, or by any merit of man’s own, or any other condition than that of faith in Christ... The man who trusts in Christ becomes ’the righteousness of God in Him,’ 2 Cor. 5:21, i.e., becomes in Christ all that God requires a man to be, all that he could never be in himself.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
If we could have obtained this righteousness by living a holy lifestyle then Jesus would not have had to come. As we just read "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We could not have become the righteousness of God in Him until Jesus became sin. This had to happen because we could not have obtained it any other way.
Romans 4:3 declares… For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’’
Abraham lived 430 years before the law. We know that even if he had the law he could not have kept it. The Apostle Paul said that the law only brings the knowledge of sin. It was never meant to make us holy. It was placed there to show us a better way. Simply, God accounted righteousness to Abraham just because he believed Him. What an incredible thing, just believe God and He will count it to you as righteousness. Righteousness only comes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You might say well Abraham didn’t have faith in Jesus, as Jesus was not yet born. Abraham might not have known His name, but he looked ahead and saw Him coming. Jesus himself said this in John 8:56… "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’’
The difference between us and Abraham is that Abraham had to look ahead to the coming Messiah, and we know He has come. The similarity between us and Abraham is that our righteousness only comes through faith in Him. This is truly the simplicity of the Gospel.
The Apostle Paul spent much time trying to explain this to many of the early Christians. They didn’t want to believe that they could just receive righteousness by faith. The church at Galatia started out in faith and then began to slide into legalistic bondage by trying to keep the law. the Apostle Paul rebuked them harshly for this.
Galatians 3:2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3. Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
It is not so different in many of today’s churches. We are taught we must do this and do that. We were told we had to do these different things to be sanctified. We were taught we had to wear our hair a certain way and wear certain types of clothing. Women would not be allowed to wear make up or jewelry and so on. I am not here to discuss the rightness or wrongness of these things, but to say that if righteousness comes by these things then Jesus died in vain. I realize that this is a strong statement, but it is a direct reflection of what God’s Word has to say.