Righteousness Defined by God’s Law

Psalm 119:172  

My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.

This verse is important because it defines “righteousness.” Some think of righteousness as a vague idea of being right or good. But God’s definition of righteousness is very specific. What is right and good is defined by His law.

Simply put: Righteousness equals God’s law.

It should be no surprise that the opposite of righteousness is sin, which is the breaking of God’s law (1 John 3:4). God’s character is righteousness and that character is defined by His law. Sin is unrighteousness (1 John 5:17) because it transgresses His law.

God’s righteousness is based on the principle of love. Jesus Christ defined the spiritual intent of God’s law in one overarching principle—love. This great principle has two central elements: love toward God and love toward fellow man (Luke 10:27). Love, then, is the central characteristic of God (1 John 4:8) and is defined through His law. Therefore, in order for a person to grow in love and be more like God, he or she must keep the law of God (2 John 1:6).

The apostle Paul expanded on the greatness of God’s law by describing it as “holy and just and good” and “spiritual” (Romans 7:12, 14). Understanding the depth of God’s righteousness as revealed through His law is a lifetime pursuit.

Another passage to study that shows the greatness of God’s law is Psalm 19:7-11.

To learn more about God’s law and how it leads to true godly love in a person’s life, see “The 10 Commandments and God’s Way of Life.”

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