Righteousness

The Greek word for righteousness isSiKaioouvn. It becomes an absolute term when applied to God. Four general aspects of righteousness are to be noted:

1. God's. With respect to character, God is transparently holy and righteous in all His acts. When combined with love, His righteousness results in grace. God's righteousness is ever absolute and perfect to infinity: "In him is no darkness at all." God's righteousness is seen in two ways: (a) He is a righteous Person (James 1:17; 1 John 1:5) and (b) He is righteous in all His ways (Rom. 3:25-26).

2. Man's. This kind of righteousness is recognized only to show its inadequacy and ripeness for condemnation (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:10; 10:3; 2 Cor. 10:12).

3. Imputed. The imputed type of righteousness is not God's attribute as if that were bestowed on man, nor human goodness in any form. It is that which the believer becomes in virtue of his being in Christ. Jesus Christ represents the righteousness of God, and the believer becomes what Christ is at the moment of believing (2 Cor. 5:21). Righteousness was imputed likewise to Old Testament saints (cf. Abraham, Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23).

4. Imparted. Romans 8:4 presents a righteous conduct as being possible on the part of each believer which is not the result of his own effort, but on the contrary that of the Spirit. This righteousness is produced not by the believer, then, but "in" him.

Chafer, L. S. (1993). Systematic theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

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