My children must be
…righteous before the Lord.
We acknowledge that what makes a man righteous is not obedience to the Law, but faith in Jesus Christ.
What is righteousness? It is an attribute implying that a person’s actions are justified, that the person has been “judged” or “reckoned” as leading a life that is pleasing to God. Some of the attributes of righteousness are being upright, just, straight, innocent, true, and sincere.
The Jewish teachers instructed that righteousness was equivalent to following the Law very strictly. The Jewish people have to work at righteousness by carrying out tasks.
St. Paul shows us that righteousness is more than mere acts, even if they are right acts. It comes from faith. Faith in Jesus leads us to performing right and proper acts, but those actions do not come first. Rather those acts derive from faith.
Jesus offers us the salvation He has won for us. Belief and faith in His coming, life, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming provides the benefits of that salvation. In our act of faith in Him, in the waters of regeneration, in accepting the gift of the Holy Spirit, and our membership in the community of faith we are changed to a people who do for the right reason, Jesus.
As changed people we walk in faith and have – already own – what has been won for us through God’s righteousness.
The good and righteous fathers among us have instilled this lesson in us. We are most aware of this when we consider WHY we do what we do.
Our dads showed us the way to go – teaching that we must do things for the right reason. That reason should never be simple adherence to a law or rule. Simple obedience out of fear, or just because, is never a good enough reason. We have to look and consider more deeply the “why” behind what we do.
As those with faith in Jesus Christ we do right, not because society says so or imposes penalties for doing wrong, but because doing right flows from faith. By faith we understand, by faith we live, by faith we walk in His footsteps. We are a people whose first instinct is to love, to do right, to live with integrity, to forgive – all coming from faith.
Simon the leper didn’t get the kind of righteousness faith demands. He wondered why Jesus showed love toward the sinful woman who was anointing His feet. Simon relied on the law in determining what should be done (while forgetting the laws of hospitality). Jesus showed him that her faith was the way to righteousness.
Let our lives and our reasons for doing be based on faith; pleasing to God, pleasing as precious ointment.