Christian Understanding of Righteousness

The first concept in the Christians’ understanding of righteousness is that God is righteous and He is the source of all righteousness. According to the Bible, in both the Old and New Testament, God is described as the source of all holiness. He alone is holy. This attribute of Gods character is closely related to His character of being righteous since the statement that God is righteous, means that He is right and fair in all His actions. God’s righteousness is an expression of His holiness through His actions because they are in perfect agreement with His Holy nature (Balchin, 5-7). In His righteousness God is opposed to all kinds of sin and punishes it (Bik, 9). God is the person who sets the standards for righteousness for all His people. Christians also believe that Jesus Christ is the Righteous son of God who died to pay the debt of sin for all Gods people.

The Bible gives the different ways in which God reveals His righteousness to men. First, He reveals it through His word and His will as it is written in Deuteronomy and Psalms 33.The bible as the word of God is an indicator of His holiness. God expects men to follow His word and His will. According to the Gospel of John, the Word of God is righteous, and those who hear and follow it are sanctified by it. Also, God’s righteousness is revealed when He fulfills the promises He has made (Bik, 9) and when he protects the poor, the afflicted, widows and the fatherless.

In his righteousness, God judges the sinners and punishes sinners just like he burned down the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their great wickedness. From this story that is recorded in the book of Genesis, we learn that God called Abraham so that He could teach the world about His justice and righteousness through Abraham. In addition, the story shows God as a merciful judge willing to spare the cities if he found righteous people in them on the account of their righteousness. In the end, God does not destroy Lot together with the wicked people of these cities. The writings of the Prophets and the book of Psalms show that God is not interested in the righteousness of man based on their works and efforts.

Keeping the Law vs. Faith

In the Old Testament times, the people of Israel thought that they could attain the righteousness required of them by God through the keeping of the law. However they kept the law diligently and still failed to become righteousness, as such the law cannot bring about righteousness. On the contrast the law brings about the knowledge of sin since sin is not counted where there is no law. There is another way that is not based on works or any human efforts that God has given to his people as a way of attaining righteousness. This is through faith (Daniel & Harrington, 3). Righteousness is a gift from God to be received through faith.

Right from the book of Genesis to the end of the Bible, God gave His righteousness to His people on the basis of their faith in Him. The book of Hebrews give an account of people in the old testament who had faith in God and were justified before Him on the Basis of their faith. In the book of Romans chapter 3, Paul clearly explains that no man can attain righteousness based on what they do since all have fallen short of Gods glory. The only way that a man can gain righteousness is by believing in Jesus, the Righteous servant of God who died to justify sinners (Daniel & Harrington, 3-4). Thus God also shows His righteousness by saving sinners and forgiving their sins.

The bible states that the wages of sin is death. As such all men deserve to die on the account of their sin since sin angers God. However at the right time, God sent His Son, who was righteous and without sin to die on the cross to pay in full the debt of sin for all people by satisfying Gods anger. Through His death, Jesus Christ justified all those who would believe in Him in all ages but only if they would believe in him and accept his salvation that comes through God’s grace. No man on his own account can attain righteousness so that they can be justified before God. Christians believe that those who do not believe in Jesus will have to pay for their sins and will be thrown into hell when Jesus Christ comes back to judge the world at the end of time. After this final Judgement those who accepted the salvation of Jesus the Lord will dwell in a new earth where righteousness will reign forever.


Given that Christians believe that the world of God is unchanging and eternal, their understanding of righteousness will always remain the same despite the  changes in culture or time .Therefore the standards of righteousness for Christians do not change .The only requirement God has for His people in regard to righteousness is to have faith in Jesus Christ. As such Christians should preach the Good News to as many people as possible so that they can be saved from the eternal punishment for their sins in hell since the book of romans states that faith comes through the preaching of Christ in the Gospel (Balchin, 1).

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