Lesson 5 – God’s Righteousness

 God’s Righteousness

Lesson Aim:             To define God’s righteousness and its relationship to mankind.

Scriptures:                Romans 1:16, 17; 3:1-8; 3:21-26; 5:17; 9:30; 10:10

Word definition:    Righteousness, justice (Greek, dikaiosune), the character or quality of being right or just.  This is an attribute of God.


The first four lessons of Part II in this series on Romans have been dedicated to understanding God’s wrath.  We understand God’s wrath is upon those who suppress the truth.  It will continue to be upon them as long as they suppress the truth about God.  It is dreadful to contemplate eternity for these people because God’s wrath and indignation will be upon them forever and ever (Mark 9:48).  We learned how a person who lives his or her life under God’s wrath develops weak character and becomes an unhappy person.  There is a direct connection between God’s wrath and man’s personality.  This is the man born “in Adam” in the world realm who has matured to the point of exercising the knowledge of good and evil.

The remaining lessons of Part II will show how God’s righteousness also has a direct influence on mankind with the nature of Adam “in Christ.”  He or she will be able to develop strong character and be happy because of their new relationship with God’s righteousness.  We will define God’s righteousness and show how it is revealed “in Christ.”  We will show how an imperfect man can share in God’s righteousness and have peace with God.  This is the doctrine of justification by faith in action.


It can be said, God’s righteousness is everything He does and wills that should be done by mankind.  Even God’s wrath is God’s righteousness.  This is a good description of His righteousness; however, we will try to give a more detailed description of its relationship to our lives.  God’s righteousness has now been manifested.  It has been revealed to those who have faith in Christ (Rom. 3:21, 22).  These same scriptures tell us the Law and Prophets bear witness to God’s righteousness: 

God loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face.  Psa. 11:7

The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds.  Psa. 145:17 

All of God’s commandments are righteous.  Psa.  119:172 

God’s created man is righteous.  “If he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully-he is righteous and will surely live declares the Lord God.” Ezekiel 18:9.  God’s throne is founded on righteousness. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne: Loving kindness and truth go before Thee.”  Psa. 89:14.  Great scholars and philosophers have thought about, and they have written books about why something is right or wrong.  It is not a difficult subject if we accept the Bible as the word of God.  Why is any act or thought good or evil?  The answer; God’s righteousness is the standard for all judgment about good or evil.

This is the topic of discussion in Romans 3:1-8.  The standard used to judge the world about these things is God’s truth.  If we did not have God’s righteousness as a standard for judging right and wrong, we would not know how to decide what is good or evil.  God’s faithfulness to His own righteous decrees is the righteousness of God.   God’s righteous decree is; “he who sins must die.”  Rom. 1:32.  God had been passing over the sins of faithful people for generations based on the doctrine of justification by faith (Rom. 4:1-8).  His faithfulness to His own decree was demonstrated by sending Jesus to the cross (Rom. 3:21-26). 

Let us think with Paul about God’s faithfulness in verses one through eight.  The Jews had the oracles of God.  Oracles mean divine utterance or response from God.  In this way, God’s righteousness was made known to them.  However, they did not all respond in righteousness.  The question is, did this weaken or take away from God’s oracles?  The answer came back in verse four, “Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.”   When we talk about God’s righteousness we are speaking of the behavior of God.  His faithfulness to His own decrees is at the same time His justice in judging and condemning sinners.

It might be illustrated by the judging in a flower show at an exhibition.  Have you ever wondered just how the judges determine why one flower is more perfect than another?  They have a model description of a perfect flower.  Of course, this is the judgment of man but somewhere along the line someone decided a perfect rose should have so many petals, be so big, etc.  Consequently, when a person brings roses to the flower show, they will win or lose the prize based on the predetermined standard.  But suppose someone brought a bouquet of flowers to be judged that had never before been seen by man.  With what standard would they be judged?   They would not be able to decide whether this bouquet deserved first place or last.

This is what Paul is saying in verse six.  How could God judge the world if we do not accept Him as the judge and His righteousness as the standard?  All of mankind’s righteousness must be considered as a lie and we must let God be true.  Some might say, why judge at all?  Alas, if there is no judgment there can be no rewards.  The people brought the flowers to the show to be judged.  They wanted to receive a reward or corrective instruction.  However, if there is no model by which to judge, there could be no reward or instruction for improvement.

God’s righteousness is our model.   If our lives conform to His spiritual laws, then our reward is happiness.  If we are lawless and suppress the truth, our prize is unhappiness.  Righteousness and lawlessness cannot be mixed anymore than darkness and light (II Cor. 6:14).   The Law of God is God’s righteousness (Rom. 8:7).  This is the same law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus about life (Rom. 8:2).  Any other set of rules for life is sin.  They are actually lawlessness.  John said, “He who practices righteousness is righteous” and “everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness and sin is lawlessness.”   Please read I John 2:29; 3:4, 10. 

A Christian’s new self is continually being re-invented like God in righteousness and holiness of truth (Eph 4:24).  Righteousness is a part of our Christian armor from God to fight evil forces (Eph. 6:14).  The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel (Rom. 1:16, 17).   Jesus died to establish God’s righteousness in the world and to make it a gift by grace; it is available to all believers (Gal. 2:21).   Life and righteousness are co-existent (Gal. 3:21).    We are grateful to God that His righteousness has been clearly declared to us in the scriptures “that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”   God’s righteousness is revealed in the Bible.  “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.”  Read II Tim.  3:16, 17.

We can understand how a flower show with no perfect model as a standard for judging could have no reward.  If we decided to give everyone first place, then this would not be fair to those who worked the hardest to grow the perfect flower.  Everyone would be unhappy with this arrangement.  The life of mankind is much more serious than a flower show.   The rewards are everlasting and those who lose are eternally damned; therefore, it is of vital necessity that we find the perfect model by which to develop our lives.  Some Jewish people made a great error.  “For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”  Rom. 10:3.  The devil, via the wisdom of man, will try to confuse us.  He will try to get us to use our own righteousness as the perfect model.  Isaiah declared, “Man’s righteousness is as filthy rags.”  Isa. 64:6.  What is God’s righteousness?  It is truly everything God does.  

In our next lesson we will see how God’s righteousness is revealed “in Christ.”  His gift of righteousness can help us let God write His laws of life on our hearts and minds.  We want to develop our character according to God’s righteousness.  It will not be easy as long as we are in this fleshly body with the knowledge of good and evil; however, the struggle will be worth the prize.

There is a crown of righteousness awaiting those who will love Jesus’ appearing (II Tim. 4:8).  “According to His promises, we are looking for a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”  II Pet. 3:13.  God will be there with all the winners.

Questions for Discussion

1.     Write a short paragraph describing God’s righteousness.

2.    What did the Law and Prophets proclaim in regard to God’s righteousness?

3.    Explain why God is the answer to the following question:  Why is an act or thought good or evil?

4.    When it comes to deciding whose standard of righteousness should be used, Paul made a rather blunt statement.  What  was it?

5.    Why is it good for a righteous person to make their  judgments about life by God’s standard?

6.    What are the prizes for a winner according to God’s righteousness?

7.    What is sin?

8.    Where can we learn about God’s righteousness?  In whom was His righteousness revealed?

9.    Explain how the judging system at a flower show is a good example of the relationship between God’s righteousness and mankind.

10.  The Jewish people made a serious error about righteousness.

        a.            What was it?

        b.            How will the devil try to confuse us?


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