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Righteousness is the character or quality of being right or just and was formerly spelled “rightwiseness,” which noticeably expresses the meaning. The righteousness of God could be briefly stated as that which is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through Christ in the gospel (Rom. 1:16, 17). God is always righteous and His righteousness causes Him to always think and do what is right or act in perfect goodness in relation to His creation. He will always do what is right. As an attribute of God it is united with His holiness as being essential in His nature (Psalm 11:7; John 17:25).
Justice is God's fair and unprejudiced treatment of all people. The justice of God (Is. 30:18) is a necessary connection of His holiness or moral excellence. Since God is infinitely and eternally perfect, He must be impartial in His judgments and always treat His creatures with equity. (Gen. 18:25)
God is just and He always acts in a way consistent with the requirements of His character as revealed in His law. He rules His creation with integrity, He keeps His word, He gives to all His creation their due. God is just and fair, completely based on reason and predictable in His dealings, without any shadow of unreliability. (Job 34:12; Rev. 16:7)
In righteousness we have the manifestation of God’s love of holiness, of what is right and good. In justice, we have the manifestation of God’s hatred of sin. (Habakkuk 1:13 expresses both.)
The Expression of God’s Holiness in His Righteousness and Justice:
The following gives just a few of the ways God’s holiness is manifested in His righteous actions in His governmental dealings with man.
(1) It is manifested in His works. All that He made was good (Gen. 1:31), He created man perfect and in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27). Even Satan was created perfect and without sin until he turned in arrogant revolt against God (Ezek. 28:15).
(2) It is manifested in the Law (Rom. 7:12) which is holy, pure, and good.
(3) It is manifested by God’s clear statements of His hatred of sin and His love of righteousness (Gen. 6:5-6; Prov. 6:16; 15:9, 26; Zech. 8:16-17; Jer. 44:4).
(4) It is manifested in His judgments against Israel and the nations for their rebellion against God (Deut. 28-30; Isa. 1-12).
(5) It is seen in the gift of God’s own Son to die on the cross for the sin of the world (Ps. 22:1-3; Eph. 5:25-27; Col. 1:20-22; 1 John 3:5, 7-8).
(6) It is seen in the separation of God Himself from the sinner (Hab. 1:13; Isa. 59:1-3).
(7) It is seen by the constant presence and work of Christ before God on behalf of the believer (Rom. 8:34; 1 John 1:7; 2:1-2).
(8) It is seen in the eternal punishment of the unbelieving sinner (Rev. 20:12-15; Matt. 25:41-46).
(9) It is seen in God who, as a Holy Father, disciplines sin in His children to train them in holiness (Heb. 12:5-10).
God’s righteousness and justice create a grim warning for all who have never put their trust in the person and work of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Because God is righteous, He can have no fellowship with sinful man (Hab. 1:13). Sin separates man from God, and the wages of sin is eternal death, eternal separation from God (Isa. 59:1-2; Rom. 6:23). In this we see God’s justice in action. God’s love of righteousness and love for the world provided the way out in the gift of His Son (John 3:16). Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth, no man comes to the Father but by me” because He alone met the holy demands of God through His sinless life and sacrificial death (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). If one rejects Christ and fails to receive Him by faith, that person remains under the wrath of God’s holy justice (John 3:36).
For those of us who have trusted in the Savior, Jesus Christ, for eternal life, God’s holiness is a call to walk by faith, in fellowship with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the light of the Word, that we might experience His holiness—Christ like character(attribute). Why? Because God has called us to be a holy people, a people set apart to Him (1 Pet. 1:16-17; Gal. 5:16-26).
My prayer is that you have already trusted Christ as your personal Savior. If you are not sure where you will spend eternity when you die, please do not hesitate to trust Him today. To get it settled once and for all, please click here. If you have just received Christ as your Savior, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org), I would love to encourage you in your Christian walk.
Dear Heavenly Father, we know that left to our sinful selves we deserve Your holy justice, but we are so thankful for Your righteousness and love for us that you provided a way out/substitute in the gift of Your precious Son, Jesus Christ. Lord, if there is one today who is reading this right now and they are not sure that when they die they would go to heaven, may they take the time right now to get it settled with You. In Jesus precious name, Amen.