(Click to listen to an audio recording of this article: Righteousness: An investment with incredible long-term results)
All God’s Word and all God’s wisdom are permeated with righteousness. “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.” Hebrews 1:8.
Jesus was the happiest man on earth because He loved righteousness. (Hebrews 1:9) Righteousness brings blessing. It brings peace and joy. It is a law of God’s kingdom, so learning righteousness is a huge investment opportunity, both for this life and for all eternity. It affects not just us, but the people around us, the society we live in. Righteousness has incredible benefits! Here are some of them:
(Article continues after video)
A joy and satisfaction in knowing what is coming
Quite simply, to be righteous is to do what is right and good for one’s future. That is why being righteous can have an appearance of disadvantage in the moment, because it seems hard to make the right choice. But in the long run, it has the opposite effect.
You could take for example, a hockey player. He knows that he has to do certain exercises and refrain from certain foods in order to become a good hockey player. Even though it seems like it would be fantastic to indulge today, he thinks about his goal, his vision; then the choice to do what is right for his goal actually brings a joy and satisfaction that wouldn’t have come with making the wrong choice.
It is the same in every area. Righteousness brings satisfaction that goes much deeper than the satisfaction of having gone along with temporary, fleeting gratification. It is a joy of anticipation, far more interesting than a life of bad choices and waiting for the harvest. Righteous deeds are investments for the future!
Perfect rest and peace that cannot be shaken
Jesus became the Prince of Peace, and before He left this earth, He said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” John 14:27.
Think about when Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate. How could He stand there in perfect rest when they were all accusing Him? (Matthew 27:11-14) How could He think about His mother and John, even while He was hanging on the cross? (John 19:25-27) How could He do that?
It was because He had gained peace through the sacrifice of His own will – His own preferences, His own advantage. Righteousness, in Jesus’ mind, was sacrifice. Righteousness was not taking any honor for Himself, because all honor belongs to God. Jesus suffered as the just for the unjust, and by doing that, He could bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)
As disciples, we now have the chance to go the same way that Jesus went, and thereby partake of the same joy and peace that Jesus had, that could not be shaken by anything or anybody in any circumstance! (John 15:11)
For example, I could think, “I’m righteous when it comes to money matters.” I have paid my bills; I have kept everything in order. But with that, I could be full of demands, full of expectations that others should be this way or that way. I could be full of unrest with other people’s unrighteousness. But the righteousness that Jesus came with is not a human sense of righteousness. That is why the peace and rest that comes from the righteousness which is from God by faith, (Philippians 3:9) can’t even be compared to the joy or satisfaction that comes from merely doing what is legally or morally right.
I forego an incredible amount of stress and strain this way, because I no longer have to strive for anything for myself – be it honor, money, or my own self-righteous thoughts. What a liberating benefit! And the long-term reward? “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23. To hear that one day will be far beyond anything we can imagine now.
Righteousness breaks down our destructive human self-will
In essence, righteousness breaks down our self-will and that is the incredible benefit and goal for a disciple; to have the same mindset that Jesus had when He came to this world: “Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me – to do Your will, O God,” and: “… not My will, but Yours, be done.” Hebrews 10:7; Luke 22:42. We see from this that our self-will and God’s will have nothing in common. They don’t mix or overlap at all. One must go in order for the other one to be done.
The human self-will is everything that prioritizes my advantage, and quite often this is at the expense of somebody else. That is the will we are born with. Almost all people never grow out of that stage. They refine their expression of unrighteousness, so that it sounds better. But why is there conflict? Why is there unrest? Why are there wars and difficulties?
My will is saturated with unrighteousness, no matter how I dress it. You have your will and I have my will, and then I think, “If you could only just do my will, then we could be good friends.” But that isn’t true. That’s where conflict comes from. (James 4:1-2) The human self-will is a plague; it is a burden. It breaks down society.
When I begin to see how much of an unbelievable handicap the human self-will is, then being able to break it down becomes an incredible benefit both for myself and those around me. If I have a care for people, if I have a desire to build up my home, my local community, the society where I live, then growth in this righteousness – in the sacrifice of my own will – will be an enormous benefit to my family, my neighbors, my friends, my colleagues, humanity in general, and my future.
Perfect unity and harmony with every single person
Earlier it was mentioned about having a vision. What this vision really contains is that from my side, in my life now and in eternity, the conflict and dissension between me and other people can be completely taken away by righteousness. What a way to live! It is perfectly possible to have this attitude: “For my part, everyone can stay exactly the way they are.” When you think about the vision to become a person who has no conflict with anybody or anything – no inner conflict – then that vision empowers us to do what is necessary today, to deny ourselves and follow Jesus. (Luke 9:23)
This is the same vision that Jesus had. He had looked down on the earth and saw this immense conflict. Domestic conflict, worldwide conflict. These creatures made in His own image running around killing each other, offending and disrespecting one another. There must be something that can be done! That is why He came to earth and opened a new and living way, showing by His own example that we, through the death of our human self-will, shall become like one body, functioning in harmony. (Ephesians 4:1-6; Ephesians 4:11-16; John 17:20-23; Ephesians 2:14-16; 1 John 1:6-7)
The joy that was set before Him was that He saw brothers dwelling together in perfect unity. (Hebrews 12:2; Psalm 133) For most people, differences dictate conflict. (James 3:16; James 4:1-2) But in God’s kingdom differences dictate harmony and productivity that is unheard of on this earth.
The ultimate benefit is the prayer that Jesus prayed in John 17:21-23, that we may be one just as the Father and Son are one. Think about what this perfect unity can accomplish!
Righteousness is an investment
Righteousness is what will rule in eternity. It is the catalyst for growth; it is the key law in God’s kingdom. So, you can talk about the investment opportunities of righteousness – it is huge, both for this life and for all eternity. It is everything actually.