i heard one of the speakers at the innovation conference define righteousness as "dignity, worth, and value."
that's interesting...the common definition of righteousness is "right standing before God", so this new definition sparks some curiosity on my part.
the most common word (along with all its derivatives) in the bible that we translate as "righteousness" is dikaios, which means "right standing before God...resulting in God's approval" [cf. Strong's 1342]
so...whereas we typically put the emphasis on our standing before God, this fella was putting the emphasis on the effects of right-standing.
both are correct.
but what i'd always previously missed was THE POINT of being righteous...which i now think may have more to do with experiencing the dignity, worth, and value of being in right-standing...rather than in just not making God angry.
this is cool
we all want approval. we all want to feel like we're actually worth something, like we're valuable somehow.
in short: we all want to be righteous.
we try, however, to find that approval - that righteousness - through the good things we do and the many ways in which those good deeds are supposed to elicit favor from other people.
but this must always fail - even if we're perfect, others will never perfectly appreciate our efforts, nor will our efforts guarantee their approval.
no one can ever make us righteous.
except, of course, God
and how does God give us His approval? through obedience? through sinning less?
we can only find our approval from God through the free gift of grace, given by Jesus Christ.
Jesus makes us righteous.
Jesus gives us dignity we didn't merit.
He values us even when we're worthless.
Isn't that cool?
As someone who keenly desires the approval of those I love...it's fascinating and beautiful to me that God has offered me that approval in spades.