Ecclesiastes 7:20: Righteousness

Read: Ecclesiastes 7:20

Righteousness, simply defined in a scriptural context, is being without sin. The Preacher in Ecclesiastes notes that no one is righteous, and this fact is reiterated over and over in the scriptures (Romans 3:23, 2 Corinthians 6:36, 1 Kings 8:46, 1 John 1:8, Psalm 130:3-4, Proverbs 20:9). The Preacher qualifies this, saying that no one continually does good and without sinning. There are those who do indeed live lives that are well enumerated with good deeds, but the Preacher is saying that even such people still sin and are not righteous for this reason. When Paul declares in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, he is making the same sort of observation. Even those who live according to the ways of God still have a sin problem. Paul infers this from by citing several verses from the Old Testament (Romans 3:10-18). He says that no one is made righteous by observing the law, rather that the law is in place to make one aware of their sin (Romans 3:19-20).

But there is hope that comes from faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus is what “justifies” a person. When one is “justified”, he or she is declared righteous in God’s sight. God sees those who are justified as he would look upon one who has never sinned before. Paul explains that the law demands a price for sin, which is death (Romans 6:23). The law requires that every person that has ever sinned pay the penalty of death for his or her sin. What Jesus provides for sinners though is a way out, a way to be made righteous. Jesus, on behalf of sinners, died on the cross in their place. This death satisfied the requirement of the law that demands death (Romans 4:25). Sinners are then presented with two options: trust in Jesus who is able to make one righteous, or trust in one’s own righteousness when one stands before God

If all have fallen short of God’s standard, then there is really only one option that makes any sense, and that is to trust in Jesus. . Note, that when one “trusts” one is not merely accenting to some facts about Jesus. One is relying on Jesus to make them righteous, and this is what the Bible is talking about when it says “faith”. Faith is not believing something without evidence or reason to believe it as many think it is. It is rather trusting in a person to do something he or she has promised to do. God does indeed love people and he does not delight in the demise of the wicked. He would rather people repent and believe that condemn them to die because of their sin (Ezekiel 18:23). But those who choose not to believe in Jesus are nevertheless subject to God’s judgment and will be dealt with according to their sins. As for the Christian though, they will be judged according to their faith in Jesus because Jesus has made them righteous. But being declared righteous before God does not mean that one is able to do as he or she pleases. Rather one is made a “slave to righteousness” (Romans 6:14-19). One should go about the work of telling others how they too can be made righteous before God by trusting in Jesus!

Lord, I am made righteous by you! Help me live in a manner worthy of your righteousness!

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