Righteousness - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G1343, dikaiosune ]
is the character or quality of being right or just;" it was formerly spelled "rightwiseness," which clearly expresses the meaning. It is used to denote an attribute of God, e.g., Romans 3:5, the context of which shows that "the righteousness of God" means essentially the same as His faithfulness, or truthfulness, that which is consistent with His own nature and promises; Romans 3:25-Romans 3:26 speaks of His "righteousness" as exhibited in the Death of Christ, which is sufficient to show men that God is neither indifferent to sin nor regards it lightly. On the contrary, it demonstrates that quality of holiness in Him which must find expression in His condemnation of sin.

"Dikaiosune is found in the sayings of the Lord Jesus,
(a) of whatever is right or just in itself, whatever conforms to the revealed will of God, Matthew 5:6, Matthew 5:10, Matthew 5:20; John 16:8, John 16:10;
(b) whatever has been appointed by God to be acknowledged and obeyed by man. Matthew 3:15; Matthew 21:32;
(c) the sum total of the requirements of God, Matthew 6:33;
(d) religious duties, Matthew 6:1 (distinguished as almsgiving, man's duty to his neighbor, Matthew 6:2-Matthew 6:4, prayer, his duty to God, Matthew 6:5-Matthew 6:15, fasting, the duty of self-control, Matthew 6:16-Matthew 6:18).

"In the preaching of the Apostles recorded in Acts the word has the same general meaning. So also in James 1:20; James 3:18, in both Epp. of Peter, 1st John and the Revelation. In 2 Peter 1:1, 'the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ,' is the righteous dealing of God with sin and with sinners on the ground of the Death of Christ. 'Word of righteousness,' Hebrews 5:13, is probably the gospel, and the Scriptures as containing the gospel, wherein is declared the righteousness of God in all its aspects.

"This meaning of dikaiosune, right action, is frequent also in Paul's writings, as in all five of its occurrences in Rom. 6; Ephesians 6:14, etc. But for the most part he uses it of that gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God. This righteousness is unattainable by obedience to any law, or by any merit of man's own, or any other condition than that of faith in Christ ... The man who trusts in Christ becomes 'the righteousness of God in Him,' 2 Corinthians 5:21, i.e., becomes in Christ all that God requires a man to be, all that he could never be in himself. Because Abraham accepted the Word of God, making it his own by that act of the mind and spirit which is called faith, and, as the sequel showed, submitting himself to its control, therefore God accepted him as one who fulfilled the whole of His requirements, Romans 4:3. ...

"Righteousness is not said to be imputed to the believer save in the sense that faith is imputed ("reckoned' is the better word) for righteousness. It is clear that in Romans 4:6, Romans 4:11, 'righteousness reckoned' must be understood in the light of the context, 'faith reckoned for righteousness,' Romans 4:3, Romans 4:5, Romans 4:9, Romans 4:22. 'For' in these places is eis, which does not mean 'instead of,' but 'with a view to.' The faith thus exercised brings the soul into vital union with God in Christ, and inevitably produces righteousness of life, that is, conformity to the will of God." * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 246, 247.]

[ 2,,G1345, dikaioma ]
is the concrete expression of "righteousness:" See JUSTIFICATION, A, No. 2.

Note: In Hebrews 1:8, AV, euthutes, "straightness, uprightness" (akin to euthus "straight, right"), is translated "righteousness" (RV, "uprightness;" AV, marg., "rightness, or straightness").

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words