The righteousness of God is one of the most prominent attributes of God in the Scriptures, and, as with all attributes it is intertwined and complementary with all His others. God’s righteousness complements His holiness, His goodness, His justice, His love, His mercy, His faithfulness, and His wisdom. His righteousness is perfected through His omniscience, His omnipotence and His sovereignty. His righteousness, therefore, is the standard of righteousness that distinguishes Him from all other beings.
The Psalmist tells us that God’s “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” (Psalm 97.2). His “righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and [His] law is truth.” (Psalm 199:142). “The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.” (Psalm 145:17). “His righteousness endures forever.” (Psalm 111:3). His justice flows from His righteousness. “He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 9:8). His righteousness will deliver the oppressed. “The LORD performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed.” (Psalm 103:6).
God’s righteousness is an expression of His holiness. His holiness and righteousness demands that He be infinitely pure, opposed to all sin. His righteous opposition to sin reflects on His justice and His judgement of the unrighteous. This very righteous justice demands, therefore, punishment for the unrighteous. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” (Psalm 97.2). From His righteous justice flows His grace. His grace means God sending His only Son to descend into hell from the cross so that we who are guilty might be spared from the justice we deserve. We can see the perfect interconnectedness of His attributes and we can see that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). When we read that God is righteous or just, we are being assured that His actions toward us are in perfect agreement with His holy nature.
We must rightly conclude therefore that the righteousness of God is evident in the way He consistently acts in accord with His own character. God always acts righteously and His every action is consistent within His character. God is always consistent and cannot act contrary to Himself. God is not defined by the term “righteous,” as much as the term “righteous” is defined by God. God is not measured by any standard of righteousness because God has set the standard of righteousness. His righteousness manifests itself in so many ways and they all are to the benefit of those that accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26). How many of God’s perfect attributes can be found in these verses? Take the time and read through these verses again slowly and contemplate how He has revealed His character in so many ways! Can you see how these verses show His absolute love for those who believe?
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