There are two types of righteousness in the Scriptures:
1)Righteousness by law through works
2)Righteousness by grace through faith
However our focus today is righteousness by law through works.
Were there people that were called righteous based on works in the scripture? Yes!
FEW EXAMPLES OF RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE BASED ON WORKS:
1)David:”The Lord rewarded me according to MY righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God”-Psalm 18:20-21
2)Cornelius-“And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews…”-Act 10:2
3)Zacharias and Elizabeth:”And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”-Luke 1:6
4)Apostle Paul:”...If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: Circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless…Phil 3:3-6
What is this ‘righteousness based on the law’ that Paul was faultless in? He was referring to all the commandments/laws God gave to the Jews! Yes…all.
David said: “My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness”.-Psalm 119:172
Was David talking about just the 10 commandments? No!
There were 613 commandments in the Pentateuch! Oh…you didn’t know about them.Let me provide a link.
Welcome back…Were you able to go through all the commandments? Say the truth,you weren’t! I wasn’t able too…However, during my study,I came across the work of @Tracey R Rich(Judaism 101).This man categorised them,which made it easier for me.Let me summarise it here:
CATEGORIES OF THE 613 COMMANDMENTS
1)Commandments relating to God–“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me”-Deut 5:6-7
2)Teach and obey the Torah:”And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”-Deut 6:7
3)Signs and symbols:Circumcision of the male offspring:”On the eighth day, the flesh of the baby’s foreskin is to be circumcised.”- Lev 12:3
4)Observe prayers and blessings(berakhot):There are three types of berakhot:
a)Ones recited before enjoying a material pleasure(eg eating,drinking etc) to thank God for His provision.
b)Ones recited before performing a commandment(e.g washing hands etc).
c)Ones recited at special times and events(seeing New Moon,rainbow,kings etc.
According to Jewish tradition, a person should recite 100 berakhot each day! Personally,David says he prays 3 times a day but praises 7 times a day (Psa 55:17, Psa 119:164).
5)Commandments relating to love and brotherhood:“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.’-Lev 19:18
6)Relating to the poor and unfortunate:”When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner,the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”
7)Treatment of Gentiles:”And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”-Deut 10:19
8)Marriage(Gen 1:28) Divorce(Deut 24:1,4) and Family(Exo 20:12).
9)Forbidden sexual relations: Incest,sodomy,bestiality etc:Lev 18
10)Times and seasons:New Month(Exo 12:2),Sabbath(Exo 23:12),Passover(Exo 12:16)
11)Dietary laws:Things forbidden to be consumed: Pigs,hare,camels,lobsters, oysters, shrimp, clams,crabs-Lev 11:3,9
a)No interest on loan-Lev 25:37
b)Not to demand from a poor man repayment of his debt nor press him when the creditor knows that he cannot pay (Ex. 22:24)
c)Not to possess inaccurate measures and weights -Deut 25:13-14
13)Vows,Oath and Swearing: “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin.”-Deut 23:21
14)To observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years: “You are to consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim freedom in the land for all its inhabitants. It will be your Jubilee…”Lev. 25:10
15)The Court and Judicial procedure: Deut 16:18
16)Injuries and damages:”When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.”– Deut 22:8
17)Property and property rights: Lev 25:23,Deut 19:14
18)Criminal laws:”You shall not murder.You shall not commit adultery.You shall not steal.You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…”-Exo 20:13-17
19)Punishment and restitution:Deut 21:22-23,Deut 22:29
21)Idolatry, idolaters and idolatrous practices:Exo 20:5,Deut 13:9,Lev 19:26,31
22)Agriculture and animal husbandry:”Obey my laws. Never crossbreed different kinds of animals. Never plant two kinds of crops in your field. Never wear clothes made from two kinds of material.”-Lev 19:19
23)Clothing: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this”….
“You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together”-Deut 22:5,11
24)Redemption of the Firstborn:“The first offspring of every womb, both human and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals”-Num. 18:15
25)Kohanims and Levites:Lev 21:1-3,Deut 18:1
26)Tithes,T’rumah(heave/sacred offering/Tithe of tithe),Taxes:”Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.”- Deut 14:22
“Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name…”-vs 23
“But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the Lord your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the Lord will choose to put his Name is so far away),then exchange your tithe for silver…”
“Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice”
“At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns,so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied,and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”vs 28-29
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house…Mal 3:10
27)The Temple,Sanctuary and Sacred objects:Exo 25:8,Lev 6:6,Num 7:9
28)Sacrifices and offerings:Exo 12:8,Exo 23:19
29)Ritual purity and impurity:Lev 11:29-39
30)Lepers and leprosy:Lev 14:1-9
31)The king:Deut 17:15-18
32)The Nazarites:Num 6:3-9
*Do you know you can’t obey one out of all these commandments and disobey others?The righteousness by law through works demands a person does ALL the things written in the law of Moses to make himself right with God:”For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.”-James 2:10.It means you cannot hold on to one of the above listed laws and falter in the others…
Luke 18:18-22 tells us the reply of Jesus to the Rich man that claimed he had kept all the commandments above:”You still lack one thing.”!!!
*The righteousness by works is a shadow of things to come:”The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves”.-Heb 10:1.If you are found doing them,you are running after shadows!
*No man can be made right with God by this type of righteousness:”Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”-Gal 2:16
*Salvation cannot be earned by works:How then can it be earned?The answer is in the second type of righteousness:
Righteousness by grace through faith:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–“-Ephe 2:8
Note: We are not saved by good works but saved unto good works!: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”-Ephe 2:10
We became sinners not because we sinned rather Adam sinned by falling short of God’s commandment therefore his sin was imputed to us.
We become righteous not because we are righteous(in fact all our righteousness are like filthy rags before God),rather Jesus Christ was righteous(fulfilled the requirements of all the laws above),therefore His righteousness is imputed to us by faith! Halleluyah!!!
This faith however is not a dead faith…It is a faith that works!
Stay blessed and rapturable.