What is Righteousness? Let us count the ways

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We are counting the Omer, a very significant time of the year. We just relived the exodus out of Egypt, when we celebrated Pesach and the Feast of Unleavened bread. We remembered the death and resurrection of our Savior Y’shua, the Messiah with the feast of First Fruit! This is a time of spiritual preparation for the next feast, Shavuot. It is a new season, a fresh beginning. Let us consider what righteousness is and purpose ourselves to live in righteous obedience to His Word.

Righteousness is complex, Abba YHVH is righteous; everything about Him is righteousness. He gave us a way to attain righteousness, through our faith in Y’shua, our Messiah and through the keeping of His instructions. Faith without works is dead; we cannot have faith without obedience!

James 2:17–18
17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. 18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

That said, we would like to invite you to explore this fascinating topic with us. We have made a topical list of most of the verses pertaining to righteousness in order to betterWhat is righteousness? our and your understanding. We have enjoyed studying it; we hope you do the same! The list is broken down in the following categories:


YHVH and everything about Him is righteousness

1. YHVH is righteous (2 Chron 12:6; Ps 11:7; Ps 129:4)

Psalm 119:137
137 Righteous are You, O YHVH, And upright are Your judgments.

2. YHVH’s deeds are righteous (Judg 5:11; 1 Sam 12:7)

Psalm 103:6
6 YHVH performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed.

3. His righteousness endures forever (Ps 111:3; Ps 112:3)

Psalm 119:142
142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.

4. His judgments are righteous (Jer 11:20)

Revelation 16:7
7 And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O YHVH Elohim, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

5. Y’shua – the righteous One (Isa 53:11; Jer 23:5; Jer 33:15; Matt 27:19; Acts 3:14; Acts 7:52; Acts 22:14)

Deuteronomy 32:4
4 “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A Elohim of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

6. Y’shua was baptised in order to fulfill righteousness

Matthew 3:14–15
14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.

7. The foundation of YHVH’s throne is righteousness (Ps 89:14)

Psalm 97:2
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

8. YHVH’s Word is righteous

Psalm 119:123
123 My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation And for Your righteous word.

9. His Word trains us in righteousness

2 Timothy 3:16
16 All Scripture is inspired by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

10. YHVH’s Commandments are righteousness (Deut 4:8; Deut 6:25; Isa 51:7; Eze 18:9; Luk 1:6; Rom 7:12)

Psalm 119:172
172 Let my tongue sing of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.

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What is righteousness?

1. Faith is righteousness

Romans 4:3
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed Elohim, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

2. Faith in Y’shua is righteousness

This passage in Romans describes Yahovah’s righteouness very well. Apat from the law which is righteousness, Yahovah’s righteousness is made manifest through Y’shua with the law and prophets as witnesses.

Romans 3:21–22
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of Elohim has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of Elohim through faith in Y’shua Messiah for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

1. Righteousness is something we do (Isa 58:2; Isa 64:5; Jer 22:3; Jer 22:15)

Isaiah 56:1
1 Thus says YHVH, “Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.

2. Righteousness is like a garment (Ps 132:9; Isa 61:10; Rev 19:8)

Job 29:14
14 “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; My justice was like a robe and a turban.

3. Righteousness is the opposite of wickedness

Psalm 1:6
6 For YHVH knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.

4. Righteousness is something to be pursued

1 Timothy 6:11
11 But flee from these things, you man of Elohim, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

5. Righteousness delivers from death and trouble (Prov 11:4; Prov 11:19, 21; Prov 21:21; Eze 18:19)

Proverbs 10:16
16 The wages of the righteous is life, The income of the wicked, punishment.

6. Righteousness is a gift

Romans 5:17
17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Y’shua Messiah.

7. It is learned through judgment

Isaiah 26:9
9 At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

8. The Ruach ha Qodesh convicts of it

John 16:7–11
7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

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What does righteousness do?

1. Righteousness guards

Proverbs 13:6
6 Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, But wickedness subverts the sinner.

2. It exults a nation

Proverbs 14:34
34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.

3. It’s work is peace and its service is quietness

Isaiah 32:17
17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

4. It will go before you

Isaiah 58:8–9
8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of YHVH will be your rear guard. 9 “Then you will call, and YHVH will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,

5. It will enable you to enter the Kingdom of heaven

Matthew 5:20
20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

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How does the righteous live?

1. They live set apart lives(Ex 22:31; Rom 7:12; Eph 4:22-24)

7727 קָדַשׁ (qā∙ḏǎš): v.; ≡ Str 6942; TWOT 1990—1. LN 53.44–53.52 (qal) be sacred, consecrated, i.e., dedicate to service and loyalty to God, and so involving proper conduct (as prescribed) of any person or object so dedicated (Hag 2:12); (nif) be consecrated (Ex 29:43); (piel) consecrate, dedicate (Ge 2:3); (pual) be dedicated, be consecrated (2Ch 26:18; 31:6; Ezr 3:5; Eze 48:11+); (hif) set apart, consecrate, dedicate, regard as holy (Lev 22:2); (hitp) consecrate themselves (Ex 19:22); 2. LN 88.24–88.35 (qal) be holy, i.e., be in a state of having superior moral qualities, with behavior which is positively unique and pure, in contrast to other corrupt standards (Isa 65:5); (nif) show oneself holy (Lev 22:32); (piel) make holy (Lev 20:8); (hif) regard as holy (Isa 29:23b); (hitp) show holiness (Eze 38:23); 3. LN 11.12–11.54 (pual) saints, God’s people, i.e., pertaining to persons who belong to God, and as such constitute a religious entity (Isa 13:3+); 4. LN 88.24–88.35 (hif) honor as holy, i.e., feel reverence to honor something or someone as holy (Isa 8:13)
Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Isaiah 5:16
16 But YHVH of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the set apart Elohim will show Himself set apart in righteousness.

2. The righteous follow YHVH’s paths (Ps 23:3)

Hosea 14:9
9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of YHVH are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.

3. They love righteousness, but hate lawlessness (2 Cor 6:14)

Hebrews 1:9
9 “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore Elohim, Your Elohim, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”

4. The righteous give (Ps 112:9; Prov 21:26; Luk 14:13-14)

Psalm 37:21
21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives.

5. They return a pledge

Deuteronomy 24:13
13 “When the sun goes down you shall surely return the pledge to him, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you; and it will be righteousness for you before YHVH your Elohim.

6. They speak life (Prov 10:20-21; Prov 10:31-32)

Proverbs 10:11
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

7. They utter wisdom and YHVH’s law is in their heart (Prov 15:28)

Psalm 37:30–31
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his Elohim is in his heart; His steps do not slip.

8. They are teachable

Proverbs 9:9
9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.

9. Their fruit is a tree of life

Proverbs 11:30
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls.

10. Their thoughts are just

Proverbs 12:5
5 The thoughts of the righteous are just, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

11. They will live by faith (Rom 1:17)

Habakkuk 2:4
4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

12. They serve YHVH

Malachi 3:18
18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

13. They have regard for life

Proverbs 12:10
10 A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

14. They hate falsehood

Proverbs 13:5
5 A righteous man hates falsehood, But a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully.

15. They are instruments -, even slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:13; Rom 6:19)

Romans 6:16
16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

16. They are tested

Jeremiah 20:12
12 Yet, O YHVH of hosts, You who test the righteous, Who see the mind and the heart; Let me see Your vengeance on them; For to You I have set forth my cause.

17. They are persecuted, (Ps 94:21; Matt 5:10; 1 Pet 3:14)

Psalm 37:32
32 The wicked spies upon the righteous And seeks to kill him.

18. But will not fear! (Prov 10:30; Prov 28:1)

Psalm 112:7–8
7 He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in YHVH. 8 His heart is upheld, he will not fear, Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries.

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How are the righteous blessed?

1. The righteous are rewarded with prosperity (Prov 15:6; Isa 3:10)

Proverbs 13:21–22
21 Adversity pursues sinners, But the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity. 22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

2. YHVH hears them and sustains them (Ps 37:17; Ps 55:22; Ps 34:15-17; James 5:16)

1 Peter 3:12
12 “For the eyes of YHVH are toward the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of YHVH is against those who do evil.”

Proverbs 15:29
29 YHVH is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

3. They will not be forsaken or hunger (Prov 10:3; Prov 13:25; Isa 33:15-16)

Psalm 37:25
25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.

4. The righteous will inherit the land (Isa 60:21)

Psalm 37:29
29 The righteous will inherit the land And dwell in it forever.

5. Their salvation is from YHVH

Psalm 37:39
39 But the salvation of the righteous is from YHVH; He is their strength in time of trouble.

6. They will be recorded in the book of life (Ps 69:28; Matt 13:43; Matt 25:46; Rev 22:11)

Daniel 12:3
3 “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

7. They will flourish!

Psalm 92:12
12 The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Proverbs 11:28
28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.

8. They are blessed! (Prov 3:33; Prov 10:6; Prov 20:7; Matt 5:6)

Psalm 106:3
3 How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times!

9. Their desire is granted

Proverbs 10:24
24 What the wicked fears will come upon him, But the desire of the righteous will be granted.

10. Their prayer is a delight

Proverbs 15:8
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to YHVH, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

11. They have an everlasting foundation

YHVH’s Word is the foundation of the righteous. They will not be naive and easily swayed towards wrong, deceptive doctrine.

Proverbs 10:25
25 When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

12. Their hope is gladness

Proverbs 10:28
28 The hope of the righteous is gladness, But the expectation of the wicked perishes.

13. They will be remembered forever (Prov 10:7)

Psalm 112:6–9
6 For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever.

14. Their house will stand

Proverbs 12:7
7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand.

15. They will enter through the gate (Isa 26:2)

Psalm 118:20
20 This is the gate of YHVH; The righteous will enter through it.

16. Their way is smooth

Isaiah 26:7
7 The way of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.

17. They will dwell in YHVH’s presence

Psalm 140:13
13 Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence.

18. Their path is light (Prov 12:26; Matt 13:43)

Proverbs 4:18
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

19. They shall be judged and rewarded according to their righteousness (Ps 7:8; 2 Sam 22:21; 1 Kin 8:32; Prov 11:18)

Psalm 18:20
20 YHVH has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.

20. When the righteous man perishes, he is taken away from evil

Isaiah 57:1
1 The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil,

21. Those who practice righteousness is born of Him (1 John 3:7; 1 John 3:10)

1 John 2:29
29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

22. They are loved by YHVH !(Ps 33:5; Ps 146:8)

Proverbs 15:9
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to YHVH, But He loves one who pursues righteousness.

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A warning to the righteous

1. If we sin, our righteous deeds become like filthy garments

Isaiah 64:6
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

2. If the righteous sins, he shall die (Eze 3:20-21; Eze 18:24, 26; Eze 33:12-13)

Righteousness is not a certain point that is reached. It is a constant process of diligently living righteously, repenting daily and being cleansed by Y’shua’s blood.

Ezekiel 33:18
18 “When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, then he shall die in it.

3. A nation’s sin can cause the righteous to die with the wicked

Ezekiel 21:3–4
3 and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says YHVH, “Behold, I am against you; and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. 4 “Because I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore My sword will go forth from its sheath against all flesh from south to north.

4. Do not practice righteousness to be noticed

Matthew 6:1
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

5. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness

Matthew 6:33
33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

6. Judge with righteous judgment

John 7:24
24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

7. Do not view others with contempt (Luk 18:10-14)

Luke 18:9
9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

8. No man is truly righteous? Only YHVH (Isa 45:24; Job 4:17; Job 9:2; Ps 143:2)

Ecclesiastes 7:20
20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

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There is hope!

1. If the wicked turns to righteousness, he will live (Eze 33:14-16; Eze 18:27)

Ezekiel 33:19
19 “But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices justice and righteousness, he will live by them.

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Our hope!

Luke 1:74–75
74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In set apartness and righteousness before Him all our days.

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