Torrey - God -10.2- What is righteousness?


Ezekiel 18:5 — "But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right."

Zephaniah 3:5 — "The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame."

To be just, or righteous, is to possess enough character to always do what is right.

The Hebrew word for just, according to its etymology, means "right" or "straight." The etymology of the English word "righteous" is the same. The etymology of the Greek word is "custom" or "usage" — that which conforms to custom.

The righteousness or justice of God is that attribute that leads Him always to do right. It is not to be limited, as it so often is in modern theological usage, to His punitive justice. This, as we will see, is only one manifestation of the justice, or righteousness, of God and not the one that is most prominent in biblical usage.

Holiness seems to have more reference to God's character as He is in and of Himself; while His righteousness is manifested in His dealings with others.