“How then can man be righteous before God?” Job 25:4
This question was asked by one of Job’s “comforters,” Bildad the Shuhite? But it is a good question to ask. I used to really struggle with thinking of myself as righteous. I did much better to think of myself as a filthy rag. But that was even after I had become a Christian. There was something in me that felt like I should walk down the aisle at church on Sunday morning and publicly repent of all my wrongdoing for the week. I am not saying I necessarily did that every week but I was living in the shame and guilt of my past choices as well as my present choices. I was measuring myself completely by the law and well let me just say that is no way to live. I just knew that God really couldn’t accept my filthy rags because He was so Holy and I was so filthy. I just could not see that I really could think of myself as righteous. It sounded pious and uppity and I knew I would not be able to measure up. Bildad was asking a good question when he asked that question in Job. (Even though his timing may have been a little off if you ask me. Don’t send Job’s buddies to comfort me in my time of need.)
The truth of the matter is that the only way we can approach God and be righteous is once we have accepted Jesus. Prior to Jesus, the only way to be righteous was to live under the law and to strive to keep the law to the letter. And still, they must at certain times bring the blood sacrifice to atone for sins that they had committed. But once Jesus became our blood sacrifice, once and for all we can now approach the throne of grace boldly because His righteousness, His blood covers us.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Once we have accepted Jesus we are to seek His righteousness. It’s all in the verb. There is a huge difference in striving to keep the law and seeking the kingdom and his righteousness. Let’s look at the definitions of strive and seek.
Strive – make great efforts to achieve or obtain something, struggle or fight vigorously.
Seek – attempt or desire to obtain or achieve something, ask for (something) from someone.
The definitions themselves make me tired. Under the law the people had so many rituals and laws that they had to keep. I know for me it would have been a constant struggle. But with Jesus, all we really must do is pursue and seek Him. And all the things can and will fall into place. That is not to say that life will be perfect. But we will be perfected in Christ in order to approach the throne of grace.
“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” Isaiah 32:17
When we pursue Him and His righteousness, the benefits are a life of peace, quietness and trust. Kind of reminds me of the words of an old hymn.
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”
That’s the best place for my hope to be, on Christ, the solid rock!