Title: Doctrine of the Angelic Conflict, part 26 - The essence of God - Righteousness. ISA 64:6; REV 20:12; TIT 3:5; ROM 3:21.
F. Righteousness: God is infinitely perfect in both His person and character and absolute good. He cannot sin nor have anything to do with sin except to judge it.
We left off with human righteousness in comparison to God’s.
It was inevitable that mankind would develop a system of good and evil or good and bad from his own viewpoint. As God and satan were in contact with mankind in the beginning, the human mind was given choices and it is inevitable that he would forsake one or the other and develop his own righteous and unrighteous standards. Unless they are from God, these standards are not divine in origin and therefore faulty, false, and ultimately evil.
When the unbeliever is compliant with the laws of divine establishment he avoids certain disciplines from God, however, without faith in Christ, he cannot escape eternal judgment and condemnation. Yet remember, God gave man the laws of divine establishment by grace. Man did not discover these on his own.
Therefore, as perfect and absolute righteousness, God rejects all relative standards of righteousness, and therefore, all human standards of righteousness, ISA 64:6.
ISA 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Following divine establishment principles does not make a person righteous. It makes him moral.
There is a vast difference. I may be a good husband, wife, parent, child, worker, boss, citizen, government official, and I may keep my nose out of other people’s business, but that does not make me righteous by divine standard. Other humans may consider me good and righteous but God does not. Righteousness only comes by means of faith in Christ and experiential righteousness is only the status of the believer who is residing in the plan of God, which is an outgrowth of imputed righteousness.
Morality is good for avoiding certain pains that result from the violation of natural law, but it is no good for righteousness.
Pains: physical illnesses, divorce, unruly children, poverty, economic inequality, loss of freedoms, tyranny, taxation without representation, and criminality.
All these things are painful, but avoiding them through divine establishment law does not make a man righteous by God’s standards.
A person experiencing all these pains, if he is a believer, is perfectly righteous before God. He will experience divine discipline most of his life, but he will be with God forever because imputed +R at salvation makes him as good as God. The human race considers this unfair because the human race considers everything as a moral issue in competition with his fellow man, and this is a flawed system of thinking.
On the contrary, a person may experience none of the ills or curses of natural law and be fit, happily married, have wonderful children, rich, fair, loving freedom, a patriot, and never committing crime, having a life that most would envy and before God be completely unrighteous and headed for eternal condemnation.
Therefore, morality, or divine establishment law is good, however, similar to the Mosaic Law, it becomes evil when man assumes that it is the basis for salvation or imputation of divine righteousness. What God has graciously given to man so that he can survive, man has turned into a competition and has fooled himself into thinking that the winner of his competition is as righteous as God is. In fact, this will be the issue for every unbeliever at the GWTJ.
This evil is shown by the person who says, “I’ve been good, I haven’t killed anyone, and I’m definitely better than what’s his name,” and by this they think they are qualified to live with God forever.
They are not afraid of a righteousness in comparison to others, since they’re not too far away from others so their arrogance is not challenged. Presented with absolute, perfect righteousness, in the name and person of Jesus Christ, they become fearful and their arrogance is challenged. They cling on to a relative righteousness in comparison with man rather than the absolute perfect +R that cannot possess unless God gives it to them. Satan pushes this evil down the throats of people all over the world in secular education where it is taught that there are no absolutes at all and that all things are relative. This is another false doctrine that appeals to the arrogance of man because in modernistic relativism, nobody is wrong. If satan can get the human race thinking that everyone is right then it will seem foolish that there is anywhere existing an absolute righteousness.
REV 20:11 And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
“earth and heaven fled away,” is the destruction of the present earth and heaven, making way for the brand new one. In the brand new heaven and earth there will be but one will between God and all creatures and so these unbelievers find no place for themselves other than the Lake of Fire, but they will have their evaluation.
REV 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
“deeds” - acts of morality and functions of divine establishment, none of which are divinely righteous and must be rejected. Personal sins cannot be the basis for judgment with the reality of the cross.
To tell man that his sins are not the issue in righteousness is to take away his competition and arrogance and he has to admit that he needs help, and this troubles him and frightens him. God is convicting the world of one sin.
"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
Salvation cannot be attained through any system of human works or human standards of righteousness, TIT 3:5.
TIT 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
TIT 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
TIT 3:7 that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
The works of keeping the Law will not save either, GAL 2:16; PHI 3:9.
GAL 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.
Phil 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith
However, the Law is holy, righteous, and good:
So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
As God is holy and so sin can only be condemned, when the holy Mosaic Law is broken, it must condemn, and since it had been broken in every case except for Christ, it was not a source of righteousness to the OT person, but a source of condemnation. This means that every attempt by man to be righteous from his own power, intellect, and sensibility will only be a source of condemnation to him and never set him free, but rather put him in more bondage.
Yet within the Law there were the Levitical offerings that pointed to the future Messiah’s substitutionary spiritual death, the true source of all righteousness in the creature.
The righteousness of God is available to anyone who believes in Christ, ROM 3:22.
ROM 3:21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,