What is God’s righteousness and Can man meet God’s standard of Righteousness? First, it might be helpful to understand what is his standard. The short answer is perfection!
—Deuteronomy 32:4 NKJV “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.”
In this verse we get a nice glimpse into God’s standard of righteousness. He is unerring, cannot lie and will always deal completely faithfully and fairly. In other words God is perfect. Absolute perfection is holiness.
—Isaiah 6:3 NKJV “And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!””
Mankind Thinks he is Self Sufficient
That is a high standard to meet. You would think, it would be obvious that man can not even hope to come close to meeting God’s righteousness. But man in his pride continues to try to approach God by his own merits.
In fact a large part of the world even takes this a step farther and will deny the existence of God or even the need of God. Instead, they will looks to themselves for their own spiritual needs. However, following this course, man has morally down spiraled. The foolishness of this path is made evident throughout the World today.
To those who feel they can dismiss the existence of God or to pretend they don’t have a sense of right and wrong; The Bible makes it clear that man was designed to be made aware of God and that he knows about sin. Inwardly man is left without excuse. He is aware there is a creator and In his conscience man knows he is a sinner. Man understands the concept of right and wrong.
—Romans 1:20 NKJV “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,”
—Romans 2:15–16 NKJV “who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”
Mankind is left without excuse and if he continues down this path all he has to look forward to is the wrath of God.
—Romans 2:5 NKJV “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,”
Can man meet God’s standard of Righteousness? The answer is no! Because of our sin nature, we can never measure up to God’s righteousness.
—Romans 3:23 NKJV “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Justice Must be Served
God is just and His justice demands that all those under the yoke of sin will be judged and condemned. Only those who are righteous may gain access to heaven and as we have discovered mankind does not meet God’s standard of righteousness.
We have inherited our sin nature from Adam and scripture teaches us that we all have sinned and as sinners it is impossible for us to meet the requirements of God’s righteousness. Therefore, we under the penalty of death, separated from God.
—Romans 3:19–20 NKJV “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Man Falls Short of God’s Righteousness
We fall woefully short of God’s standard of righteousness. If we try to approach God by our deeds we do so in vain. It is necessary for man to realize he is guilty before a righteous God. Salvation can not even be offered if man insist on approaching God by his own works.
—Isaiah 64:6 NKJV “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.”
—Romans 1:18 NKJV “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”
Even though man has this knowledge of sin, many continue to push God away. They feel that they can earn their way into heaven or they perceive there is some goodness in them that God must accept. Sadly, they are convinced that their righteousness is good enough for a holy God. They acknowledge sin but are not convinced they are guilty or in need of a savior.
But God’s standard is 100%. Anything else is failure and failure means death. God is holy and his justice demands He judge the sinner. The whole world is under the sentence of sin and there can only be one verdict: Guilty!
Mercy and Love
Things are certainly looking dismal for man. We have no way of meeting God’s standard of righteousness and as sinners we are facing the penalty of death. His justice must be served but thankfully because of His mercy and love, God had a plan to save us but it came at great cost to Him. His motivation for our salvation was love.
—Ephesians 2:4–5 NKJV “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”
—Romans 5:8 NKJV “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
As a just God, justice must be performed. The death penalty for sin must be handed down. In an astonishing act of love, God revealed His plan to deal with sin and to make man righteous in His eyes. He served His justice by paying that penalty of death for the sinner.
In Jesus, God took human form. Jesus who was sinless and completely innocent bore the sins of all mankind. This took place at the cross of Calvary. Since, Jesus had the full burden of our sins, he was facing the penalty of those sins — Death! He was fulfilling the justice of God by dying on the cross. He was paying the penalty of our sin on that cross. Essentially he died in our place. This act is a demonstration of the breadth and strength of God’s love.
—2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
—Romans 3:21–22 NKJV “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;”
God’s Righteousness Applied to Sinners
This was God’s plan to extend his righteousness to sinners through Christ. By believing and relying on Christ for his salvation man could be declared righteous. Once man acknowledges he is a sinner and realizes there is nothing good in him and by trusting in Christ’s substitutionary death for him on the cross by faith, God can apply the righteousness of Christ to men.
By this act of love God is declaring sinners righteous by Christ, because Christ paid the for our sins on the cross. This righteousness is applied to us by faith when we trust in what Christ accomplished on the cross of Calvary.
You can not be saved by your own righteousness but only through Christ. Place your faith in Christ and you will be saved.
—Acts 16:31 NKJV “So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”