Righteousness In The Testaments:
Righteousness – Let’s take the word righteousness and examine it under the two Testaments. And consequently find out its standing in both Testaments. Righteousness in the Old Testament is regarded as the righteousness of the Law. It implies that it’s righteousness obtainable by observing or keeping the law. So, one is declared righteous based on his ability to keep the entire laws. And as the system stipulates one is required to keep all. The failure to keep one means a failure to keep all. Let’s see this from Apostle James –
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
In that case, the righteousness of the law is regarded as “the doing righteousness”.
“For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.”
And as a Matter of fact no one under the face of this sun was able to keep those laws at the same time until Jesus Christ came and became the end to the law.
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Righteous of Jesus Brought The End Of The Law:
He became the end to the law by fulfilling the requirements of the law for us and in us. Let’s see (Matthew 5:17 – 18, John 19:30, Romans 8:4). Obviously, this kind of righteousness is placing a demand on people who don’t have the ability to fulfill the laws. Hence the massive flaws in the system. See (Exodus 19:5). Instead of a blessing it became a heavy load on the side of the people (Acts 15:7 – 10). What was meant to produce right standing in the life of the people became a means for hypocrisy.
A certain fellow came to Jesus and asked rhetorically “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus listed out to him the things contained in the laws. However, the fellow he was proud to claim his mastery ability in observing them.
Then Jesus said to him;
“Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”
The Law Encourages Self-Righteousness:
This shows that those who practice the laws always lack one thing. In the case of this young man, his response to this statement shows that he does not love his neighbours though he claimed to love them. No one under the conduct of the laws was able to keep them. As a result of that, people were kept far away from God.
The stiffness of the demands of the law made the people to become debtors before God. See (Romans 4:4). This is because they depended on their effort to accomplish the requirements of the law. But the more they try harder in their effort, the more they find out that they are bankrupt and in fact needed help. This is because of the weakness in their flesh.
So the system produced a set of people who are hypocrites right from the top ranking officers. That is (the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Scribes) to the lowest ranking among them. They were all pretenders parading themselves as righteous people whereas they are dirty in their inside. No wonder Jesus called them beautiful sepulchers (Matthew 23:25 – 28). The system made them to worship or relate with God in a way people could see the cleanness of the outside but the rottenness in the inside isn’t known.
Therefore, under this weak system, a man can commit a heinous crime and still standing before the people as a righteous man. This is inasmuch as he was not caught in the act. It shows the level of weakness in the system (Romans 8:3). And of course a system of this nature does not in any way epitomize the wisdom of God!
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