Jesus encouraged his disciples to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” In Romans 14:17 Paul gave one of the most simple definitions of the Kingdom ~ “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking (works of the law) but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” So there is clearly a link between righteousness and the Kingdom of God.
Jesus boldly declared to his followers ~”For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
How on earth can we attain that righteousness?
Galatians 3:11 nails it ~ “Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith.” This little statement is so deep! Not only do we receive the blood and forgiveness of sins by our faith in Jesus but, our spirit is forever righteous by faith and never by works!
Paul had the profound revelation that Law, works and flesh were all common in the way that none of them produced the righteousness of God!
Striving is not a fruit of the Spirit!
But, about fruit of the Spirit…I noticed that Galatians 5 does not list righteousness as a fruit. However, both Proverbs and James (the “wisdom books”) mention “fruits of righteousness” because righteousness is a foundational aspect of Holy Spirit! Remember that “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your (The Lord’s) throne.“
This means that righteousness is an elementary principle of the Kingdom; Holy Spirit reigning in us! He actually gave us all that we need when we received him to reign in life!
Check out Romans 5:17b where Paul was describing how death and sin used to reign because of the weakness of human flesh to fulfill the righteousness of the Law. ~ BUT “much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
I can’t understand how every translator added a period (because originally, there was no punctuation) and not one chose an exclamation point! That’s like saying ” God just gave me a trillion dollars in the spirit.”
Ho-hum, pass me the remote.
We already have the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness in the Holy Spirit… it’s a done deal! We can’t claim to have Holy Spirit and be unrighteous…that’s calling a good tree bad.
I can’t help but think of Dan Mohler right now because he is all about this.
Righteousness is our identity. We are oaks of righteousness because of Holy Spirit and we bear fruits of righteousness by faith, not by our works. The seed is holy. The root is holy. (Jesus is both) We, the tree are holy!
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)
He has given his bride all that she needs to make herself ready and the wise virgins simply adorn their lamps with what they have received from him!
Paul describes putting on this adornment (or armor of light) like laying aside old filthy rags of “righteousness” according to the Law/works of the flesh this way ~ “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph.4:22-24)
We have received the robe of righteousness by faith when we received Holy Spirit and we must simply wear it as our identity because we have become the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.(2 Cor.5:21)