An Overarching Concern for Righteousness

The apostles received from Jesus an overarching concern for righteousness, as evidenced in the verses listed below.

(An asterisk at the beginning of the citation indicates a non-explicit reference to the subject matter.  Many of these non-explicit references use the word “sin” – which is, of course, the antithesis of righteousness. Thus the connection.)

Matthew 3:15  –  Jesus’ primary concern was righteousness.  John surely agreed, for it was invocation of that idea that overcame his reluctance to baptize Jesus.

Matthew 5:6  –  Those with little appetite for what is right apparently have little reason to expect this blessing.

Matthew 5:10  –  If we think that being righteous is going to make everyone love us, we need to think again.  It certainly didn’t work that way for Jesus.

Matthew 6:1  –  Here’s a reminder that being righteous requires practice, and that we should consider carefully the audience before whom we practice it.

Matthew 6:33  –  Righteousness is part and parcel of the kingdom of God.

*Matthew 7:23 (quoting Psalm 6:8 below)

Matthew 13:43  –  The righteous in this verse are being contrasted with the lawless in Matthew 13:41.

*Matthew 18:15, 16, 17

*Luke 17:10

*John 5:14

*John 8:46

*Acts 3:26

Acts 13:10  – Enemies of God are enemies of righteousness.

*Romans 6:2

Romans 6:13
*Romans 6:14
*Romans 6:15

*Romans 11:26

Romans 14:17  –  How could there be peace and joy if there were no righteousness?

*1 Corinthians 5:13

*1 Corinthians 15:34

2 Corinthians 5:21  –  Is that point that we are made “the righteousness of God” in a purely theoretical sense, or is it that Christ through His power is willing and able to make us behave more as He did (i.e. righteously)?  In this regard, consider as well 1 Peter 2:24 below.

*2 Corinthians 11:29

*2 Corinthians 13:7  –  Paul is telling us that doing what is right – that is, the avoidance of sin – is more important than our reputation among men.

*1 Timothy 5:20

*1 Timothy 5:22

*2 Timothy 2:19

2 Timothy 3:16

*Titus 2:14

Hebrews 1:9 (quoting Psalm 45:7 below)

Hebrews 5:13

*Hebrews 12:1

*James 1:21

James 4:17  –  Note James’ concern for “the right thing to do.”

*James 5:19, 20

1 Peter 2:24  –  Consider how dramatic a change is expected of us!  We are to be as alive to righteousness as we previously were to sin.

1 Peter 3:6  –  Note Peter’s concern to “do what is right.”

2 Peter 2:21  –  Per James 4:17 above, knowing “the way of righteousness” made them blameworthy for not following it.  As for “the way,” remember what Jesus said in John 14:6, and how the apostles repeatedly referred to “the Way” in the book of Acts – e.g. Acts 9:2.  Thus the way of Jesus was “the way of righteousness“as well as “the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17).  In fact, can’t we say that Jesus both taught and demonstrated that salvation is found in righteous living?

*1 John 2:1


Of course, as a Jew, Jesus grew up learning about the importance of righteousness from the Scriptures of the prophets:

*Genesis 4:7

*Deuteronomy 13:5

*Deuteronomy 17:7

*Deuteronomy 17:12

*Deuteronomy 21:21

*Deuteronomy 22:21

Psalm 5:8

*Psalm 6:8 (quoted in Matthew 7:23 above)

Psalm 23:3

Psalm 45:7 (quoted in Hebrews 1:9 above)

Isaiah 26:9

Daniel 12:3

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