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Is righteousness and not sinning the same

Posted By: John_C

Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:47 PM

We had a good men's group discussion on the passage starting at 1 John 2:28. Is righteousness exactly the same as not sinning? The passage tells us a Christian will practice righteouness. We know we sin, so righteousness cannot denote not sinning unless we are talking about Christ Jesus. Maybe the correct question is what is practice righteousness? We have right-standing before God due to the work of Jesus Christ. So, positionally righteousness I understand, but practice righteousness is somewhat confusing to me. How can I practice righteousness perfectly as is the standard. I cannot not, so righteousness must have definitions beyond perfect obedience. Thoughts?
Posted By: Tom

Re: Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:04 AM


I think this is one of those "already, but not yet" things.
We have Christ's righteousness imputed to us, but we must continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The context of 1 John 2:28 is being unashamed before Christ at His coming. We are not passively waiting for our Lord Jesus to come back; we are actively doing things like proclaiming the Gospel and trying to bring glory to God through obedience of the Word of God.

Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:33 PM

This is the sum of the argument, God is the fountain of all righteousness, and therefore they that give themselves to righteousness, are known to be born of him, because they resemble God the Father. To "do righteousness" is to be in perfect accord with God's revealed will. Everyone is required to be perfectly holy (Matt 5:48; 1Pet 1:15,16) and will be judged accordingly. Those who are outside of Christ and have not His imputed righteousness will receive the sentence of eternal death. Those, however, who have been clothed with His righteousness and who exhibit the fruit of the Spirit will receive the promise of eternal life.

Only ONE has ever lived in perfect righteousness. All others fall far short. But the inability to "do [perfect] righteousness" does not provide an excuse or exemption from the requirement to do so. Perfect obedience is what is required. There is no alternative definition. nope
Posted By: MarieP

Re: Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:19 AM

Are you saying that "righteous" and "doing righteousness" always denotes perfection? I agree that God's standard is perfection because sin must be dealt with- that's why we need Christ Jesus the Righteous, who died for our sins, rose for our justification, and ever lives to intercede on our behalf.

I thought Kevin DeYoung made very good points here:

My pastor also recently pointed this out in his first sermon on a series through Job

"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil." (1:1)
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:46 AM


Not sure what you are trying to say?? shrug But what I am saying is that the "righteousness" which God requires and expects from ALL is nothing less than perfection, i.e., perfect holiness. The article you referenced is noted, although I found myself wincing when he quoted John Piper from his Future Grace, which is fraught with serious "problems", especially in regard to the doctrine of justification. But being required to live perfectly holy (righteous) has no bearing on one's obligation to perfect obedience no less than God requires all men to repent and believe the Gospel despite their inherent inability to do so. Christians, true regenerate believing Christians are not only required to render perfect obedience (yes, not in any way related to justification) but are in part able to strive after it most sincerely and with heart-felt obedience due to their new nature. In short, obedience is not a synonym for righteousness. grin
Posted By: MarieP

Re: Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:38 AM

Pil, you said, "But what I am saying is that the "righteousness" which God requires and expects from ALL is nothing less than perfection, i.e., perfect holiness."

I agree! That's why we need the finished work of Christ! But I'm not certain "righteousness" always means the perfect kind. Is every reference to "righteousness" in Scripture referring to perfection? I'd never heard anyone say that, so I was surprised you did.

I really don't want a long debate the day I return to the board after too long, lol! And, as for Piper's book, I've not read it. I'm actually not that fond of his writing style- his books tend to be on the repetitive side.

Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:23 AM


No, I am NOT saying that every single instance where the word "righteous(ness)" appears it means "perfect(ion)". The CONTEXT will determine how it is used. However, from my own personal studies, the predominant use and meaning of the word "righteous(ness)", however, is perfect(ion), holy, without sin... in reference to the perfect will of God. The exceptions to this usage doesn't take away from its typical use and our responsibility to strive for it. That God accepts our sinful "good works", blesses our efforts and even will extend rewards for them is all of His infinite mercy and grace, based upon the perfect/righteous merits of Christ. "For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust."

But, I admit I am always skeptical when anyone comes up with different views/ideas concerning tsaddiyq, tsdaqah,dikaios, dikaiosune and their derivatives due to the present influx and pervasiveness of heresies against Sola Fide, e.g., Shepherdism, NPP, Federal Vision, and all their morphs. Add to this is the most recent emergence of the neonomianism of the "New Calvinism" movement which has effected many Reformed denominations/churches including Reformed Baptist camp.

So, I just want to maintain the biblical emphasis without ignoring or denying the other uses of these words. smile
Posted By: MarieP

Re: Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:26 PM

OK, I catch your drift now, thanks!!!
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Is righteousness and not sinning the same - Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:59 PM

Great! I try not to be misunderstood but sometimes I don't succeed.

Let me also mention a couple of texts to emphasize things a bit more; Isaiah 64:6 and Luke 1:6.
1) Re: Isaiah 64:6: I think Calvin was just a bit off with his comments on this passage. It is true that there is a contrast to be found between those who were blatantly evil, i.e., those who rejected God's precepts and commandments, both moral and ceremonial. But Isaiah's confession, when read as is, does include ALL of mankind, especially those who were Israelites. Isaiah's language does not exclude anyone, not even himself. The "righteous deeds" apply to everyone for they fall far short of that righteousness that God requires; perfection. If this were not true then those who some would like to exclude from this judgment would have had no need of the shadows and types of the ceremonial law, the priesthood, etc. That there were some who outwardly conformed to the requirements of the law and whose hearts truly desired to live a holy life is true. But again, the standard of perfect righteousness was never accomplished... "there is none righteous, no not one." (Rom 3:10)

2) Re: Luke 1:6: Zacharias and Elizabeth it is written were both "righteous" and "blameless". It is inconvertibly true that their good works; walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord did not justify them in the forensic sense, i.e., justification. These two words used here refer to Sanctification, i.e., those works done by those who have already been justified. Further, their righteousness is one which is in the Old Testament sense, i.e., conforming to the commandments and precepts, both moral and ceremonial laws. But, again, this is comparative, i.e., in comparison to the Pharisees and Sadducees of their day. In short, their deeds were not perfectly holy, but acceptable to God and before the eyes of men. Yet... they fell short. They were not "righteous" in the ultimate sense of what God required; perfection. For they too looked forward to and needed the righteousness of a Savior. This again shows that although their good works were acceptable they were not perfect, which was what God requires.

My point again is that "righteous(ness)", although used in ways to describe men's good works does not exclude the core meaning of "perfection". We need Christ's perfect righteousness (active obedience) imputed to us unto justification... AND... we need to do righteous acts from a new heart to be pleasing before God (Heb 12:14), even though they are not righteous (perfect)... aka: sanctification.

I hope this helps and doesn't make things more troublesome. [Linked Image]
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