How Can A Person Work Righteousness?

By Osamagbe Lesley Egharevba

The religion of Christ requires that one must do something before he can be saved. Cornelius was told by the angel to send for Peter who “will tell you what you must do” (Acts 10:6). When Peter got to the house of Cornelius, he declared that “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35). This Bible passage clearly proves that one must do something (work righteousness) before he can be accepted by God. Unfortunately, many religious groups today teach the exact opposite by insisting that men are to be saved by faith only.

Since the Bible also teaches that only the righteous will make it to heaven on the last day (Matthew 25:46), what that means is that one has to work righteousness in order to be righteous. And so, it is important for everyone to understand what righteousness is and how can a person actually work righteousness.

In the first place, it must be stated that a person cannot work righteousness by doing boastful works or works of his own righteousness which Isaiah likened to “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Ways that seem right to a man can have a destructive end (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). Ephesian 2:8-9 tells us that we are not saved by boastful works and Titus 3:5 makes it clear that God saved us “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” These passages are not contradicting Acts 10:34-35 but when it says we are not saved by works; it refers to works originating from man or of man’s device.

Second, a man cannot work righteousness by teaching as doctrines the commandments men. In Matthew 15:8-9, the Bible says “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Most religious groups today that have invented new unscriptural things into their worship services are worshipping God in vain. It does not matter whether the invention is good or not, inasmuch as such is not found in the New Testament, those practicing it are deviating from the act of working righteousness (II John 9). Hence, when a man is worshipping God, such must be sure that every act he carries out in his worship to God is authorized by Him by searching the scriptures to see if the practice is there in the scriptures.

Third, a man cannot work righteousness by following the Law of Moses in the Old Testament. Why? Because “no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:20 – NIV). Please read the following Bible passages (Romans 3:20-28; 6:14-15; 7:4-7; Galatians 3:11, 21) to understand that no man can be justified by obeying the law that God gave by Moses to Israel. That dispensation has passed and even the Law has been changed (Hebrews 7:12) and we are now to obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

Hence, the only way a person can work righteousness is to hear, believe and obey all of God’s commandments (Acts 2:36-47; 3:19-26; Rom. 10:17). This is true because all of God’s commandments are righteousness. Psalm 119:172 says; “My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.” Now, someone may ask; “Are God’s commandments not found in the Old Testament?” Yes it is but today in the Christian dispensation, the Bible teaches that God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Paul was speaking about the Gospel of Christ and he says that it is God’s power unto salvation and that the righteousness of God is revealed in it. If anyone must work righteousness today (that is, obey all of God’s commandments that He wants us to obey), such would have to turn to the New Testament to find out about it. On the Mount of Transfiguration, the voice that came from heaven declared that Christ is the beloved Son of God and who we are to listen to; not Moses or Elijah (Matthew 17:5). What that means is that we are not to obey commands given to Moses or to the Israelites, etc. See also Romans 2:16 & James 2:12.  

The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men and it teaches us to do certain things.We are to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope (Titus 2:11-14). We must be righteous to be saved. Meanwhile, it is possible for righteous people to fall away when they commit sin (I Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 5:4) but they should not for that is inconsistent with being a Christian (1 John 3:8-9). When a righteous man sins, and he is willing to repent, confess and pray to God for forgiveness (cf. Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9; James 5:16) such will be forgiven and will continue to be righteous by the grace of God. You may choose to be righteous but you must submit to God’s Will.

Does your religious group teach you to work righteousness or are you deceived that you do not have to do anything to be righteous? The choice is yours. Think on these things!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply