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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Righteousness

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A term frequently occurring in scripture expressing an attribute of God which maintains what is consistent with His own character, and necessarily judges what is opposed to it — sin. In man also it is the opposite of lawlessness or sin, 1 John 3:4-7 ; but it is plainly declared of man that, apart from a work of grace in him, "there is none righteous, no, not one." Psalm 14:1-3 ; Romans 3:10 . But God has, independently of man, revealed His righteousness in the complete judgement and setting aside of sin; and of the state with which, in man, sin was connected. This was effected by the Son of God becoming man and taking on the cross, vicariously, the place of man as under the curse of the law, and in His being made sin and glorifying God in bearing the judgement of sin. Hence grace is established on the foundation of righteousness. The righteousness of God, declared and expressed in the saints in Christ, is thus the divinely given answer to Christ having been made sin. On the other hand, the lake of fire is an eternal expression of God's righteous judgement. At the present moment God's righteousness is revealed in the gospel and apprehended by faith.

This is an entirely different principle from that on which the Jew went, namely, that of seeking to establish their own righteousness, and not submitting to the righteousness of God. Romans 10:3 . Their father Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness; and the faith of the believer is counted to him for righteousness, apart from works. Romans 4:3,5 .

Christ Jesus is made unto us righteousness from God. 1 Corinthians 1:30 . He is the end of the law for righteousness to all those who believe.

Besides the above, there is the practical righteousness which characterises every Christian. By knowing God's righteousness he becomes the servant of righteousness. The bride of the Lamb is represented as "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white:" which is "the righteousnesses of the saints." Revelation 19:8 .

The doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ, though largely acknowledged in Christendom, is not found in scripture. The explanation generally given of the doctrine is that Christ having perfectly kept the law, His obedience has formed a legal righteousness that is imputed to the believer as if the latter had himself kept the law. One passage of scripture proves this view to be incorrect: "If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Galatians 2:21 . The force of the doctrine is to maintain the validity of the law in application to believers; and it stands in the way of their apprehending their death to the law by the body of Christ, so as to be married to Christ raised up from the dead, to bring forth fruit to God. Romans 7:4 .


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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Righteousness '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/mbd/r/righteousness.html. 1897.

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