What is Righteousness, according to Scripture?
We are told in Scripture (Matthew 5:20), that without the proper Righteousness, no one may enter Messiah’s Kingdom. Since Righteousness is so important, 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 Himself (Galatians 3:16) planted in the soil of our heart, who is our Righteousness.
2. The earth — the heart of man, which is as a garden — opens to receive the “Seed” of Messiah.
3. A plant springs up from the Seed planted in the earth. This plant is Messiah-in-you (Col 1:27). This “seedling” 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 Hebrew words for the ‘tree’ and the ‘fruit’ are both feminine-gender Hebrew nouns, whose origin and source is the masculine-gender “Seed.” Thus the origin and source of the good “Fruit of Righteousness” is Messiah, the “Seed” of Righteousness.
Likewise, if the fruit of Righteousness we produce is the result of our obedience to the Word of Messiah who lives in our heart, then that fruit is ‘good’ fruit (Philippians 1:11).
If however, the fruit we produce is the not the result of our obedience to the Word of Messiah, then that is the fruit of our own Righteousness. This is corrupt fruit, and is the result of our own fleshly efforts (Isaiah 64:6).
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 (Philippians 1:11; 1John 3:7).
The origin and source of the Fruit of Righteousness is the Tree of Righteousness — ‘Messiah-in-you.’
Likewise, 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.
- If You Love Me, Keep ‘My’ Commandments – Do we show our love for Messiah, in the way He has told us — or have we lost sight of His identity?
- What Are the Ten Commandments? – Also called The Ten Words, these Scripture passages are shown in both Hebrew and English, enabling us to see for ourselves what these Commandments actually say. When we as New Covenant Believers understand whose words they are, we can better know how to respond to them.
- Obeying Torah is Not About Salvation – Obedience to the Torah [Father’s House Rules for His family] is not about our redemption by Yahushua’s blood. Instead, it is Messiah’s New Testament instruction to all Born-again Believers in how to abide in Him, how to love Him, and how to walk as He walked.
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- Contending for The Faith – We are exhorted to contend, to fight to remain in The Faith that was originally given. Scripture shows what The Faith is, and shows why and how we must contend for The Faith. Overview of how the adversary attacks the foundation of The Faith, with examples of contending for The Faith.
- The Wise and Foolish Virgins – Yahushua tells us why many today are not prepared.
- The Wise and Foolish: According to Yahushua – Messiah tells us in clear and simple terms for our instruction, who the wise and foolish are today!
- The Wise and Foolish Virgins: The Separation of the Wise – The Scriptures reveal a 2-step process of separation from the multitudes, for those who would grow in Wisdom.
- Let No Man Steal Your Crown – Reveals there are men today trying to take away, and steal your Bridal veil, and your crown; things that allow your crown to be stolen; the Doctrine of Balaam, and how it will steal your crown.
- Who is the Chaste Virgin? – The Bridegroom is coming for His Bride — one who is chaste, and without corruption. The Scriptures warn us of the many forms of corruption, and how to remove them, in order to remain chaste, and ready for the Bridegroom.
- The Wedding of the King’s Son: A Parable – A parable revealing the astonishing – and magnificent – nature of the New Covenant.