Righteousness is God’s divine standard of right and wrong.
The process of deciding what is right and wrong is often approached in two ways. First, the decision can be based on what is valuable to each of us as individuals, and thus personal wants and desires become the central criteria. But this approach can dissolve into the moral chaos that was described in Judges 17:6:
“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”
In Jeremiah’s day, this moral chaos was also reflected in the unjust, idolatrous leaders of Israel whom God judged for “destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture” (Jeremiah 23:1).
The second approach to deciding what is right and wrong is to base the decision on majority rule or what is best for the greatest number of people. However, the majority may desire an evil, unrighteous outcome as in the majority vote that brought Hitler to power in Germany and ultimately led to the extermination of millions of Jewish people.
Because humanity is fallen and sinful, we need God’s righteousness as an outside standard that directs us beyond our desires and beyond the will of the fallen majority to what is objectively right and wrong. After all, it is ultimately God who will judge all nations and all people based on whether they pursued His righteous standard or their own sinful, fallen agendas:
“But the Lord abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, and He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity” (Psalm 9:7-8).
If you would like to learn more about what is to come, click here to download an mp3 of a sermon from Dr. Tony Evans.