If you have been following along with my Thankful Thursday posts, you will know that I have made some Thanksgiving Printables that I made for my family’s evening devotions. We have been having fun doing them almost every evening and making our paper chain grow longer and longer.
Each week for Thankful Thursdays, I have written about one of the attributes of God that I had put on those printables. I wrote how we can be thankful because God is good. Last week, I wrote about the wonderful mercy of God, and today I get to try to cover very briefly how we can be thankful for the righteousness of God.
I remember reading Training Your Children to Turn out Right by David Sorenson back when Kaylin was very little, and it emphasized the fact that God is righteous and His desire is that we would be righteous too! Therefore, we should stress with our children that they should do what is right. So when they disobeyed, you would say something to the effect, “That is not right. God says that you should obey your parents, so what you did is not right.” This type of emphasis stressed the importance of being righteous over being “good” as everyone’s standard of good is different, yet there is only one true standard of righteousness. Also, it brought out the fact that more important than having “good” children is having Godly (or righteous) children. You can teach your children to be “good” in society’s eyes, yet if they are not regenerate or made righteous in God’s eyes, their “goodness” will not measure up to God’s goodness, and they are doomed for eternity! We are just making them feel good about themselves instead of teaching them about how to live rightly with God.
So that book impressed upon me the need of having our children understand that God is righteous and desires for us to be righteous also. Let me quote to you a couple paragraphs of what bible.org has on their website about God’s righteousness, then I will share what really struck me when I studied this key aspect of who God is, and then I will give you some more verses about the righteousness of God.
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. In addition, the righteousness of God is virtually synonymous with His justice.
While the most common Old Testament word for just means ‘straight,’ and the New Testament word means ‘equal,’ in a moral sense they both mean ‘right.’ When we say that God is just, we are saying that He always does what is right, what should be done, and that He does it consistently, without partiality or prejudice. The word just and the word righteous are identical in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Sometimes the translators render the original word ‘just’ and other times ‘righteous’ with no apparent reason (cf. Nehemiah 9:8 and 9:33 where the same word is used). But whichever word they use, it means essentially the same thing. It has to do with God’s actions. They are always right and fair.
God’s righteousness (or justice) is the natural expression of His holiness. If He is infinitely pure, then He must be opposed to all sin, and that opposition to sin must be demonstrated in His treatment of His creatures. When we read that God is righteous or just, we are being assured that His actions toward us are in perfect agreement with His holy nature.30
Here is another good quote that helps us understand what is meant by the righteousness of God:
God is always consistently “Godly.” God is not defined by the term “righteous,” as much as the term “righteous” is defined by God. God is not measured by the standard of righteousness; God sets the standard of righteousness.
This website then went into Abraham and the righteousness of God. And this is the part that I found so interesting as it is very applicable to where I am right now in my stage of life. Let me tell you why:
One of my husband’s and my favorite verses about Abraham is Genesis 18:19:
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Do you remember how earlier we said in the Old Testament that justice means the same thing as righteousness? God knew that Abraham would command his entire house to keep the way of the Lord and to live righteous lives. In fact this, verse is spoken by God right after he says that Abraham would become a mighty nation and all the world would be blessed by him. Why? because he would command his children to keep the way of the Lord and to do justice or righteousness. Wow!!
God’s purpose for calling Abraham and making a covenant with him was for Abraham to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice and to teach his offspring to do likewise. Righteousness is the divine goal for Abraham and his offspring.
God’s purpose in calling Abraham and his offspring was to raise up a people characterized by righteousness and justice.
If that is what God wanted from Abraham, then I’m sure it must be what He wants from me as a parent also! There is only one way to be made righteous in God’s eyes, and that is to except His gift of salvation. To realize that there is no one righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10). But God is righteous–without sin–and He can give me His righteousness if I accept what His Son did for me on the cross! Oh, I am thankful for His gift of salvation! For the ultimate sacrifice He made so that I can have eternal life!
After we receive God’s gift of salvation, we can continue to grow to be more like God, to be more righteous in our daily lives. Although we can never be sinless here on earth, we should sin less and less as we become more like Christ. And this is what I want for my children also–to love righteousness and to do right. I can only do this if I study God’s righteousness; if I try to be righteous like God is righteous.
Here are some ways that we see God’s righteousness at work:
- Because He is righteous, He instructs us with His Word.
- Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.(Psalm 25:8).
- We see His righteousness when He keeps His promises.
- And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:(Nehemiah 9:8).
- His righteousness in evident in His hatred of sin.
- God’s righteousness is displayed in His protection of the poor and the afflicted.
- I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. (Psalm 140:12)
- We see God’s righteousness in His mercy and compassion.
- Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. (Psalm 116:5)
Here are some promises given to those who are righteous:
- God promises to hear and watch over the righteous.
- The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. (Psalm 34:15)
- God loves the righteous.
- For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. (Psalm 11:7)
- The righteous will be blessed.
- Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. (Psalm 106:3)
- God will be a buckler/shield/protector to the righteous.
- He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. (Proverbs 2:7)
- And there are many more verses here.
Here’s a great quote on being thankful for God’s righteousness:
Often, I find myself only giving thanks when something wonderful happens. But this world is wicked, and if I only give thanks and praise then, I will not be thankful or praising much of the time. My thanksgiving is not to be based on man’s unrighteousness, but on God’s righteousness. Then I will thank and praise continually.
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