What is the path to righteousness? The Bible says a number of things about the path of righteousness. Depending on the context it can actually be talking about several things.
First of all, when we think of righteousness in the Bible, we think of the most basic understanding from a gospel perspective: right standing with God. When a believer receives right standing (righteousness) from God, they are placed by grace in a position of righteousness before the Heavenly Father.
As the believer continues to renew their mind in what the Bible says about righteousness, they begin to live out the righteousness of God in this earth. I John 2:19 declares, “If you know that He (Jesus) is righteous, you know that everyone who does righteousness is born of Him.
This scripture reveals both the position of righteousness before the Creator; and the life of righteousness here on the earth. I love Bible teaching on the subject of righteousness. In fact, when I was fourteen years old; I had a major transformation in my life that I account for two things.
First, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and received my heavenly prayer language. This is a gift from God available to all believers who ask for it. Jesus said, You being evil know how to give good gifts to your children; how much more shall our Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13).
Second, I began to realize who I was in Christ. The very first aspect of who I am in Christ that occurred to me at this young age, was the reality of righteousness. Biblically speaking, in relationship to God a person is either righteous or unrighteous; they either are right with God or they are not. There is no in between in the spiritual realm.
Righteousness (right standing with God) can only be received by faith. Consider these scriptures: Romans 10:10 With the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Ephesians 4:24 Put on the new man which is created in righteousness and true holiness. II Corinthians 5:21 God made Him (Jesus) to be sin (a sin offering) for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Spiritually speaking we are 100% righteous or we are 100% unrighteous. We are either a child of God or we are not. If we are righteous. It means that we have “believed unto” righteousness. In other words, God made righteousness available to every person when Jesus died and rose again. When we believe in Jesus, we are given His righteousness as a gift. Righteousness is a spiritual reality to every believer.
When a person believes in Jesus, they are placed in right standing with God. Righteousness is a gift.
One person rightfully said, “The only sin Jesus ever had was ours, and the only righteousness we will ever have is His.” That is the gospel reality of what faith in Jesus produces for the believer.
I like to say it this way, “Righteous living is a result of the righteous life; however, the righteous life is not a result of righteous living.” When we believe in Jesus our spirit (inward man) is made righteous, and as we understand that reality, we begin to walk in righteousness.
The Bible talks a bit about the path of a righteous man. Proverbs 4:18 says, The path of the just is as the shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day. The more we get to know the Lord, the more that we will begin to walk in the light of His ways. Psalm 23 speaks of the Lord as our Shepherd. In verse three, the Psalmist declares, He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. When we know Jesus as our Lord and Shepherd. He will lead us in the right paths and our lives will bring honor to His name.
There are right paths and there are wrong paths, but when we come into an intimate relationship with Jesus as our Lord, He will direct us into the right paths. Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the flock; and He leads us in the right ways when we believe Him and surrender to His Lordship.
Matthew 6:33 says, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Our goal as believers is to get to know God through Jesus. When we know God through Christ we will want to walk in the paths of righteousness and live lives that glorify Him.
In John 16 Jesus talked about the coming of the Holy Spirit. In verses 8-11, He said that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment. He went on to explain that sin is essentially not believing in Jesus. If we don’t take the first step and believe in Jesus, He really can’t do anything about all of the other sins in our lives.
Then He said that the Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness because He was going to His Father. In His death and resurrection, Jesus took our sin to the cross and then brought us the gift of righteousness. Again, He became a sin offering for us that we in exchange might receive His righteousness.
I believe that the Holy Spirit convinces people that Jesus is the righteousness of God, and secondly that He, Jesus, made righteousness (right standing with God) available to every person in His death and resurrection. Many times, our understanding is on man’s righteousness apart from God. Isaiah talked about this kind of righteousness and said, Our righteousness is as filthy rags (a monstrous cloth).
In reality, there are only two kinds of righteousness: the righteousness of God which is given as a gift from God when we believe in Jesus, and the righteousness of man apart from Jesus. Our own righteousness will not stand in eternity. Our own ways of thinking and being right will never produce peace with God. However, Jesus took our sin and gave us His righteousness. All we need to do is believe it to receive it.
When we have received the righteousness of God (right standing with God) through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Our spirit is made truly righteous. When we understand what God has done for our spirit, we will begin to live in the light of it. I believe our lives will bring glory to God. When this happens, we will begin to walk in righteousness.
The third thing that Jesus said is that the Holy Spirit would convict us of judgment, specifically that the prince of this world has been judged. I believe the Holy Spirit convicts us of the victory that Jesus won in His death and resurrection, and of the fact of the absolute defeat of the devil. The prince of this world has already been judged. When we see this, we will want to surrender to the righteous life of Jesus and let Jesus live His life big through us. The righteousness of God that is received by faith will become a testimony to His grace.
If you want to understand more about righteousness, I encourage you to visit our non-denominational church and to get my book “Romans, the Revelation of Righteousness”. My favorite book of the Bible is Romans and the message of righteousness with God by faith in Jesus Christ comes through loud and clear. May the righteousness of Jesus become a reality to you as you surrender to the life of Jesus inside of you.
A Prayer for Righteousness
Father God, I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe that He died for my sin, and that you raised Him from the dead and made Him Lord. Right now, I surrender my life to you. I will live for you Heavenly Father as you give me strength. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.