What is Righteousness

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. Isaiah 32:17

This was the verse of the day that popped up on my phone this morning. I think I read it seventeen times before I looked it up in another translation. I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is about the ESV translation that had me so perplexed. I think it is the word effect.

The NIV words it a little differently: And the fruit of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17

And the NKJV differently still: The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. Isaiah 32:17

The thing about the second two is that it puts the responsibility of righteousness on me, a striving, a work, a fruit. Whereas the first one made it feel like a concept that should just be there.

Because righteousness is un-achievable this side of heaven, it is our responsibility to pursue the character of Christ and desire holiness more than fleshly indulgence.

What exactly is righteousness? To simplify it, righteousness is to be right with God. A heart that is right with God brings with it a desire to work to become more like God and this enhances the fruits of the Spirit within us.

So, can we achieve righteousness? True righteousness begins with godly humility, and turning from justifying ourselves with a myriad of good deeds, to recognizing our brokenness and seeking the mercy of God. The pursuit of righteousness starts with the recognition that we cannot please God in our sinful state but that He desires to walk with us, and the more time we spend in His presence, the more we become aware of our sin, and the more we become aware of our sin, the more we want to run from that sin.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you. 1 Peter 5:6

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