God's holiness and His righteousness are not the same. Holiness is a condition of purity or freedom from sin. It describes God's nature; righteousness describes how God acts as a result of His holiness. God's laws are holy because they come from His nature. God's standards for enforcing His laws are always righteous.
Let me give an example. God says, "Do not commit adultery." That simple statement arises out of God's holiness. He can never be disloyal when He has made a commitment; it is against His nature. Therefore, when we stand before a minister and promise to love our spouse and be faithful to him or her the rest of our lives, we are making a commitment or covenant that reflects God's holiness. When we keep that commitment we act righteously.
But do not falsely imagine that righteousness is reaching a standard like climbing a ladder to a higher level. That is what most people think when they consider righteous acts. "If I tell the truth more times than I tell lies, I'll be more righteous." Or, "If I make up for the money I stole from my employer, then I'll be okay." Wrong! No one can work-up-to righteousness because righteousness begins as purity. It comes out of holiness; it does not reach up to holiness.
Holiness sets the standard. Righteousness is the result of a relationship that fulfills that standard.
Your View of God Really Matters ...
If righteousness only flows from holiness, how can we be righteous? Today, walk in the presence of a holy God, and let his Spirit act through you.
Learn more about God’s character at Discover God, by Bright Media Foundation, an affiliate of Cru.
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