Righteousness In The
(Living Righteous Lives in Practical Ways)
By Kim Butts
"This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God" (Gen. 6:9). Would the Lord consider you to be blameless among the people of your time? Do you walk in an intimate relationship with God as Noah did? "The Lord then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation’" (Gen. 7:1). Is your family righteous in this generation? Noah’s righteousness covered his entire family, and although it isn’t specifically stated, it is likely that Noah modeled and taught righteous living to them in a generation that had turned its back on God so completely that God was determined to destroy them entirely. Noah’s family obediently followed the instructions of the Lord, and endured the ridicule of others to do so. Every other family in their generation was sentenced to death by drowning for their ungodly ways.
In the Old Testament, righteousness was a chosen lifestyle of obedience and holiness in honor of God. Those who were righteous ordered their lives in every way to be aligned with His perfect will. Noah lived in such a way before the Lord that his family was spared. They honored God and ordered their lives in all things according to His perfect will.
The truth of Jesus Christ was present in the Old Testament, even though it wasn’t fully understood. Righteous living was continually presented as the standard of the Lord:
• "Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…" (Psa. 15:1-2).
• "Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous" (Prov. 2:20).
• "Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them" (Hos. 14:9).
In the New Testament, righteousness was imparted to us through the obedience of Jesus Christ, who offered Himself up as a sacrifice for us. We must still choose to follow Christ. In doing so, we have made a conscious decision to die to the old unrighteous self and become a new creation in Christ: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:17-21).
God has given us a clear mandate: This righteousness is now to be imparted to others out of our obedience to Christ. Here are some practical ways that your family can actively live out the righteousness that is yours in Jesus:
A righteous family teaches and learns righteousness from the Scripture
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Jesus Christ is the One and Only standard for righteous living. The Bible is the training manual for teaching and learning righteousness. If your family desires to impart (make known) righteousness to others, you must spend much time in the Word – memorize it, meditate upon it, and most of all – obey it! "Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" (Jas. 1:22).
A righteous family lives on solid food Hebrews 5:13-14
We are righteous because of the sacrifice of Christ; however, if we sit back and don’t reveal Christ’s righteousness to others, we will miss all of the benefits and blessings that He has intended for us. Granted, some of the children in your family may be too young to really comprehend God’s righteousness fully; however, parents must continually be instructing and modeling it. One day each child is going to have to make two choices: to accept Christ as Savior and Lord, thereby receiving the righteousness that comes from His perfect sacrifice; and to demonstrate that righteousness in holy living.
Just as our children need to move from milk to solid food, they need also to move from hearing the Word to doing it. Many Christian families neglect their spiritual diet in favor of fitting into the culture in which they live. By doing so they are sacrificing the blessings that come from sowing seeds of righteousness to others. This can only be done by feeding on the solid food of the Word of God daily and continually. Righteous families will change the world because those who live in darkness will see a difference!
The righteous family is
good, and passes that goodness on to others
Good things are stored up in the hearts of God’s righteous people. There is no use in storing something that will never be used! Take time to focus on these passages of Scripture:
• "I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another" (Rom. 15:14). Paul is challenging those who are righteous to instruct each other – probably through being living examples of God’s goodness.
• "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins" (2 Pet. 1:5-9). As a family, be determined to do more than rest in the knowledge that you have been saved through the blood of Jesus. Determine to impart His goodness to others. Look for ways to do good deeds for one another and for others so that your acts of kindness will reflect favorably upon the Lord’s goodness to you and in you. A catch-phrase going around these days, which is actually very profound, if not good grammar, states: "Be good, do good." We must first be good before we can do good.
The righteous are pure
2 Timothy 2:22
Pureness of heart is blessed by God (Matt. 5:8). Perhaps the best way for your family to demonstrate purity to others is by getting your thoughts focused on how Jesus would live, and to be determined to live likewise. Here is a good passage to memorize and study together as a family: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you" (Phil. 4:8-9).
The righteous family is
Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 1:22; 3:12
Members of God’s family are marked by their holy lifestyles; they have died to sin (Rom. 6:2,11). This does not mean that sin never happens in the life of righteous people – but they are freed from the bondage of sin (Rom. 6:7) and have become slaves to righteousness (Rom. 6:18). To be holy means being set apart for the Lord’s service, which means being separated from what is ordinary. Our culture today has settled for the ordinary. Can your family share extraordinary living with others? Can you live in such a way that others will see the holiness of God in you? Will you live your lives to reflect the holiness of Jesus? Spend some time focusing on these verses, and discuss how you can live them out in your day to day lives:
• "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace" (2 Tim. 1:8-9).
• "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’" (1 Pet. 1:13-16). Determine together that you will live holy lives in the midst of an ungodly culture!
The righteous family is
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Think about people who may have hurt you or caused you harm. The Lord has asked you to forgive them. The righteousness of Christ is marked by a forgiving heart. Learn to forgive quickly by practicing forgiveness within your own family. Then be determined to forgive others just as the Lord forgave you! Forgiveness allows us to live lives that are free from the burden of bitterness and resentment.
The righteous family is
set apart (sanctified) to do
the work of the Lord
Isn’t it wonderful to know that the Lord has set your family apart for Himself? The Lord has a purpose and a plan to use you for His glory! Write a family mission statement and live by it!
Here are some additional ways that righteous families are to live. Take some time to study through these as a family and find some practical ways to live them out:
• The righteous family lives according to the Spirit – Romans 8:4-6.
• The righteous family rejoices in the Lord, and gives Him praise – Psalm 64:10; 68:3.
• The righteous family is godly – (devoted to the worship and service of God).
• The righteous family will live by faith – Hebrews 10:38; Habakkuk 2:4.
• The righteous bear good fruit; they bring good things out of the good stored up in their hearts – Luke 6:43-45.
As an encouragement, here are some rewards that righteous families will reap from the Lord. Take time to take each one to heart and claim these promises of God as you live out the righteous plans He has for you:
• The Lord watches over the way of the righteous – Psalm 1:5-6.
• The righteous will not go hungry – Proverbs 10:3.
• The Lord does not take His eyes off the righteous; He enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever – Job 36:7.
• The Lord will bless the righteous and surround them with His favor as with a shield – Psalm 5:12.
• The Lord will hear their prayers and answer – Psalm 34:15,17.
• The Lord will deliver them from their troubles – Psalm 34:19.
• Their mouths will utter wisdom, and their tongues will speak what is just. The law of God will be in their hearts, and their feet will not slip – Psalm 37:30-31.
• The Lord will be their stronghold in time of trouble. He will help them and deliver them from the wicked – Psalm 37:39.
Here is one last blessing for your family as you pursue lives of righteousness: "[May you] do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life" (Phil. 2:14-16a).
If you would like to read more articles by Kim Butts, please visit www.harvestprayer.com.