What Does Righteousness by Faith Mean?

The man in Christ, that is, the person that believes the gospel is righteous by faith. 

But what does this mean/ imply? 

I will be explaining it from God’s word in this article. 

What does righteousness mean literally? 

Righteousness is a word that means /dikaiosunē/ which in English means justification. It means that a person is made right or just in God’s sight. 

How have people been made righteous? 

In the Bible, the first man for whom righteousness was used is Abraham, popularly known as the Father of Faith. Abraham is someone that some religions like Judaism and Islam consider their Father. But how did Abraham become righteous in the sight of God? 

In Genesis chapter 15, we see a scenario where God was telling Abraham that he would have a child from which many nations would be born. Then in verse 6 of that chapter, we see something very important. We see that Abraham believed what God told him, and it was accounted for or reckoned to him as righteousness. 

Genesis 15:6: And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

When God would say that Abraham was righteous, it was because he believed what God said. And what God said was about Christ. So Abraham believed in Christ who was to come, and that was how he was made righteous. 

In the New Testament which is the explanation of the Old Testament, we see in Galatians 3: 8 that the gospel which is the message about Christ was preached to Abraham, and that was what he believed and he was made righteous. Abraham was made righteous by believing in what God would do in Christ Jesus. 

Galatians 3:8: And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.

Further explanation of righteousness in the Old Testament

Jesus stated clearly that all that Moses and the prophets spoke about was concerning him. Isaiah 56:1 shows us that righteousness was a revelation and that revelation would come by a man (vs 2).

Isaiah 56:1-2: Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.

We understand that the man that righteousness comes from is the Man Jesus Christ. In Psalms 72:1-2 David said prophetically that righteousness was with the king’s son which is Christ. 

Psalms 72:1-2: Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s Son. He will judge Your people with righteousness, And Your poor with justice.

There are many other inferences showing clearly in the Old Testament that righteousness was by believing. 

Further explanation of righteousness in the New Testament 

In Romans 4:5, we see that God is a God that justifies sinners or the ungodly by us believing. God never imputed sins against man, but instead imputed righteousness by faith.

Romans 4:5: But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness…

And the object of our belief is what God has done in the resurrection of Christ. In Romans 10, Paul explains two types of righteousness. 

This will be explained in another article, but in summary, he contrasted righteousness by the law that Moses spoke about and righteousness by faith which Moses also spoke about. 

However God expected that people would read and submit to what Moses wrote about righteousness by faith, and to reject the one that was by the works of the law. That is because Christ is the end of the law for righteousness (vs 4).

Romans 10:4: For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Christ is the cancellation of the law for righteousness. In the works of the law, there is no righteousness to be found. The only way men are righteous is by believing the gospel (vs 10). 

Romans 10:10: For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

What does this mean for you?

Righteousness is a characteristic of the man who believes in the gospel. The man/woman in Christ is the definition of righteous. If you believe the gospel, you are righteous because righteousness is found in salvation. Righteousness is the inheritance of the person who believes the gospel about Christ Jesus.

2 thoughts on “What Does Righteousness by Faith Mean?”

  1. Oyeleye Oluwatoni

    “If you believe the gospel, you are righteous because righteousness is found in salvation.”

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