A compelling encouragement in pursuing righteousness!
Righteousness is meant to increase in our lives. But there is only one way that can happen.
To pursue righteousness is the way of life, because “righteousness delivers from death.” Proverbs 10:2.
The first step toward life is that we, by faith in the atonement, have righteousness reckoned to us without having done a single righteous deed. (Romans 4:3-6)
But then the intention is that we begin to partake of a personal righteousness: a righteousness in life,, which is also a righteous nature. If this is to become reality, must be crucified; he has to die, because the old man always is, and will remain, unrighteous and incorrigible. However, even though he is incorrigible, it makes no difference, because by faith he can be crucified and , or put off, as the Bible says. (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9)
Only then can we begin to do righteousness, as the new man is created according to the image of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Each step on the way of life is a step in righteousness. Progress on the way of life is equivalent to progressing or growing in righteousness. Therefore it is written, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19. “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” 1 John 2:29. “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.” 1 John 3:10. And, “… pursue righteousness.” 2 Timothy 2:22. All these exhortations cannot mean anything else but a personal righteousness in our deeds.
As our unrighteous self-life is put to death, the righteous life of God increases in us. For every increase in righteousness there must be a corresponding decrease in unrighteousness. With each new light we receive from God we discover some new unrighteousness in thought, word, and deed. By faith we then partake of a corresponding increase in righteousness. We take a further step on the way of righteousness, which, in truth, is the way of life. “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3.
It is not enough simply to pay your bills, return whatever you have stolen or borrowed, report all your earnings on your income tax return, etc., and do the things that fall under the category of righteousness as it is commonly understood. To pursue righteousness means going the second mile; giving up your own desires and demands so that good can be done and others can be blessed. All in all, it means that you do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It includes sharing with the poor, the sick, the weak — those who possess less strength and have less ability — when according to God’s will, you have the strength, the ability, and the opportunity. (Ephesians 4:28; Psalm 112:9) For “what do you have that you did not receive?” 1 Corinthians 4:7.
There is a whole ocean of righteousness in God; righteousness in all possible directions and degrees! So let’s obey the exhortation, “Pursue righteousness!”
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” Psalm 92:12-15.
This article has been translated from Norwegian, and is an edited version of a chapter titled “The way of righteousness” in the book “The way of life,” first published in January 1935.
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.