If you have attended church for any number of years then you have probably heard your pastor say that the word is "living and active and sharper than any double edged sword." (This comes from Hebrews 4:12. Click here to read the verse in its entirety.) I think today I finally got this.
For the past week as I have been reading through the book of Proverbs there has been one word that has stood out at me. That word is righteous. It jumped out at me in the following verses: "What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted." (Proverbs 10:24 and "Trouble pursues the sinner, but the righteous are rewarded with good things." (Proverbs 13:21)
So what exactly is a righteous person? Am I a righteous person? Well according to what I have been reading a righteous person is one who believes in and follows God. We know from scripture that even the devil believes in God but that doesn't make him righteous. Someone who is righteous not only believes but also obeys Christ. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." John 14:21
If you are anything like me then you may be saying to yourself, "I want to be a righteous person. Can I be a righteous person? " Isaiah 64:6 will put it this way "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." What this verse means is that no matter how good our good deeds are, they will never be good enough. Nothing that we can do on our own can get us to be right with God. "There is no one who does good, not even one." Psalm 14:3b
But don't despair because there is hope. And the hope that we have is found in Jesus Christ alone. You see God sent him to die for our sins. He was the propitiation (payment) for our sin-debt. It was the only payment that God could accept on our behalf because He was faultless, blameless, perfect. By accepting Him you too will have access to the Father.
My words are incapable of doing what the word of God alone can do. So it is with these two passages found in the book of Romans 10 that I will leave you,
"Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them."But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."