What is true, Biblical Righteousness? Without Righteousness, no one may enter the Promised Land. So, let’s find out what it is.
When we are newly born into the Faith, we grow by hearing and studying the Scriptures, as we learn of God’s mercy and grace, and forgiveness of sins:
“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” (1John 2:12)
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1Peter 2:2)
We all want to grow up. But we can not grow and mature beyond spiritual infancy, until we begin to feed on the spiritual food that is beyond the milk of the Word:
“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (Hebrews 5:13)
According to the above passage, one of the symptoms of being a mere ‘Babe’ — a spiritual “infant” — is that one is unskillful, and inexperienced, in the ‘experiencing’ of the Word of Righteousness.
What is this “Word of Righteousness” mentioned above? In order to be ‘experienced’ in [“doing”] this Word of Righteousness, as the Greek word implies, we must first understand what Righteousness is. Let’s start with the Fruit of Righteousness:
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:11)
We hear about the “Fruit of Righteousness.” But what is this Fruit – and where does it come from? Let’s look:
“The seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:11b)
“Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and (1) let the skies pour down righteousness: (2) let the earth open, and (3) let them bring forth salvation, and (4) let righteousness spring up together; (5) I the LORD have created it. (Isaiah 45:8 )
Notice the numbered phrases above, and explanation below:
1. The skies pour down the “Seed” of Righteousness, the Incorruptible Seed of the Word of Yahweh, by which man is Born Again (1 Pet 1:23). This word is the masculine-gender Hebrew noun, and is the Seed. The Seed is Messiah (Galatians 3:16), who is our Righteousness.
2. The earth — the heart of man — opens to receive the seed.
3. A plant springs up from the Seed planted in the earth. This plant is Messiah-in-you (Col 1:27), and goes on to become the Tree of Righteousness, the “Planting of Yahweh” (Isa 61:3). “I am the vine [the trunk], you are the Branches” (John 15:5). It is Messiah-in-you, who brings forth your Salvation.
4. This Tree of Righteousness springs up “together.” The Trunk is in union with, and joined to, the Branches. The two have become one.
The “Tree of Righteousness” is known by [named by] its fruit (Luke 6:44), so the Fruit must be called the “Fruit of Righteousness.” The tree, and the fruit, are both the feminine-gender Hebrew noun, whose origin and source is the masculine-gender Seed.
5. The Tree of Righteousness [Messiah-in-you] produces the Fruit of Righteousness, so that He might be glorified (Isaiah 61:3). Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit (John 15:8a).
This “Fruit of Righteousness” is seen in you [you are the Branches], but it is Yahshua Himself, living within you [Messiah-in-you], who produces the Fruit (Php 1:11; 1John 3:7).
The origin and source of the Fruit of Righteousness is the Tree of Righteousness — ‘Messiah-in-you.’ The origin and source of the Tree of Righteousness is the Seed of Righteousness — which is Messiah living within you.
The Tree naturally produces fruit after its own kind. The Fruit is the obedience we allow ‘Messiah-in-you’ to produce, as He lives in us, day-by-day. This is the Fruit that remains. This is the fruit that is produced by His Grace, as He lives in you — the fruit of the “doing” of His Word — the fruit of obedience.
Righteousness is truly an imputed position of being righteous, or “right” with Yahweh. But that is only one side of a two-sided coin. The Doctrines of Men would tell us that there is only one side of the coin of Righteousness. One side of the coin is indeed the Seed of Righteousness, the righteousness imputed by Messiah — but the other side of the coin is the Fruit of Righteousness, the fruit of obedience Messiah produces in us.
There is an additional coin having two sides, regarding ‘Our’ Righteousnesses that are as “filthy Rags” (Isaiah 64:6). This is the coin of the origin or source of our Righteousness.
In the above Isaiah 45:8 passage, we saw that the feminine-gender noun for the Tree and its Fruit shows that these both originate from a masculine-gender seed. In Isaiah 64:6, however, we see ‘our’ righteousnesses described. These are actions of righteousness that do not originate from the Seed of heaven living within the soil of our heart, but from self.
And because ‘our’ righteousnesses are not the result of obedience to His Word, they are an abhorrence to Yahweh, and a stench to His nostrils. We will address this self-produced “good works” of Righteousness under a separate writing on Rags or “Garments.”
There is a third item related to the Fruit of Righteousness, dealing with the “love” aspect of the Fruit. This is the “perfecting” of the fruit, the perfecting of love, which we will discuss in another writing.
So we see that ‘Righteousness’ speaks of two separate stages of growth, as revealed in Scripture.
Righteousness is the Seed from Heaven, imputed to us.
And when the Seed sprouts and grows, it produces the resulting fruit of our doings, the fruit of obedience to His Word — that is, if we allow Messiah-in-us to produce that fruit (Php 1:11).
We will begin to mature, and to proceed beyond being a mere babe (Heb 5:13), only as we grow in our obedience to Messiah’s commandments [including those Messiah gave to Moses].
Only then can we become skillful in being “do-ers” of the Word of Righteousness.