Righteousness is something we must have in order to be in God's kingdom.
KJV 1 Corinthians 6:9
9. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Without our being righteous in God's sight no one will be in God's kingdom.
Webster defines righteousness as, "free from guilt or sin, morally right and justified."
How do we become righteous?
KJV Romans 3:21-22
21. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22. Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
The righteousness of God without the law is by faith in Christ.
Does keeping the law supply me with the righteousness of God?
KJV Philippians 3:8-9
8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
So if I keep the law the righteousness I have is my own and not God's?
How do I get the righteousness of God?
KJV Romans 5:17
17. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
God's righteousness is a gift to the one who has faith in Jesus Christ. This is the gospel of Jesus that must be believed. It requires faith to stop being a law keeper and become dependent on God for righteousness.
KJV Matthew 6:33
33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Notice it is God's righteousness and not your own by the law. No one has this Godly righteousness except as a gift by the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit no one is righteous.
KJV Romans 3:10-12
10. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11. There is none that understands there is none that seeketh after God.
12. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
God imputes righteousness from His own self to the one who has faith in Jesus.
KJV Romans 4:6-8
6. Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works,
7. Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
God will not call someone a sinner if they have faith in Jesus. Our keeping the law will not provide us with the righteousness of God. Ancient Israel kept the law but did not have God's righteousness.
KJV Romans 10:1-3
1. Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Those of Israel were law keepers and the righteousness they had was their own and not God's. The righteousness we need is given as a gift by faith in Jesus, imputed to us without our keeping the law.
The bible says that our hope of becoming a joint heir with Jesus in the kingdom is made void and worthless if we keep the law.
KJV Romans 4:13-14
13. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
This means that people who think they must keep the law will not be heirs with Jesus. The promise is by faith because the law was not based on faith.
KJV Galatians 3:11-12
11. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12. And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them.
We are not righteous or justified by keeping the law and will not receive the promise as an heir. The justified are to live by faith, which the law did not have. Faith is the only way we can please God.
KJV Hebrews 11:6
6. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Since the law is not of faith but faith is the only way we can please God we should not be law keepers. Law keepers will not please God.
How is it that we can be righteous, have faith, be heirs and keep from sin if we do not keep the law? Doesn't the law define what sin is? How can we not sin if we do not keep the law?
KJV Romans 5:5
5. And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.
The love of God is placed into the spirit of a person by the Holy Spirit and God's love is what it takes to not sin.
KJV Romans 13:8-10
8. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
10. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
God's love is far greater than human love and a person with God's love in their heart will do no evil and therefore fulfill the intent of the law. Remember that no works are needed only love, which God gives to us by the Holy Spirit. If we work to keep the law the works are not counted as grace but as a debt we have to keep the law.
KJV Romans 4:3-5
3. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Righteousness was given or imputed to Abraham because of faith and not because of works. When you work to keep the law it will not count as grace. If you do not work to keep the law but in faith believe Jesus you will be justified and you will be given or imputed righteousness.
Those who keep the law will fall from grace and make Jesus worthless to them.
KJV Galatians 5:3-5
3. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
5. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
You cannot be justified by keeping a law that is not of faith and you will not be given or imputed the righteousness of God to become an heir in His kingdom. Keeping the law will deny Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit because you think that keeping the law somehow does these things when it will not.
Everlasting life or immortality does not come from law keeping.
KJV Galatians 3:21
21. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
The law can not be against the promises of God because the law never gave everlasting life in the first place otherwise a person could have been righteous by the law which is impossible.
The law gives humanity the knowledge of what good and evil is but does not give us the power to always do the good and refuse the evil. This is the job of God's love by the Holy Spirit. Keeping the law is your works and righteousness and God calls this filthy rags.
KJV Isaiah 64:6
6. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Here Isaiah speaks of a person who is a law keeper and has their own righteousness but not God's. Paul knew that when he was keeping the law the righteousness was his own and not God's. Israel had a zeal for God but sought their own righteousness and not God's.
There are people who believe that they must keep the law and no matter how much it can be proved by the scriptures, that the law is not required to be kept by the saints, they will not accept or believe it.
Keeping the law is serving the tabernacle because it was the center of all Israel did to keep the law. The tabernacle was the meeting place of priest's who enforced the law. The law and the tabernacle were inseparable. To keep the works of the law means that you serve the tabernacle because you submit to the law. Those who do this have no right to the new covenant Passover.
KJV Hebrews 13:10
10. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
The saints are the tabernacle of God, who dwells in them by the Holy Spirit. The saints symbolically eat of the body and blood of Jesus. If you are a law keeper then you have no right to eat of Jesus' sacrifice. Law keepers think of themselves as being better than other people when in reality they have disqualified themselves of grace, justification, Everlasting life, God's righteousness, faith and a future inheritance in God's kingdom.
God's love is what will do no sin and the saints have this Godly love by the Spirit of God. By faith the saints know that God works in them by his love and that they have no works of their own. To walk by faith is to believe this and stop trying to work in the law to achieve a hope that is impossible to attain by the law.
KJV Galatians 2:21
21. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
The very righteousness you need to have salvation does not come by you keeping the law but rather by faith that the law did not have. There is no way you will ever have salvation by being a law keeper, because then Jesus would have died for nothing.
Of all the Ten Commandments that God gave the tenth is the key to understanding the true definition of sin and how we human beings can not by keeping the law fulfill the law.
KJV Hebrews 7:18-19
18. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof
19. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.
The law was unable to make those who kept it perfect. Jesus said that we had to become perfect.
KJV Matthew 5:48
48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
The law then was useless for this perfection.
KJV Romans 3:21. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
We know the prophets spoke of the grace to come but how did the law serve as a witness to testify of the righteousness of God without the law being needed?
KJV Romans 7:7
7. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet.
Under the law two human witnesses were required to testify against someone to accuse them of breaking the law. The accused, if guilty, was usually killed.
KJV Hebrews 10:28
28. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
How can a human witness testify that someone was coveting? To covet is to think with the mind, to desire or lust and this without taking any action to do what is intended. If a person thinks in their mind about performing an evil act it is sin. How could the tenth commandment be enforced by mere human witnesses' testimony when no one can know the thoughts and intents of the heart of anyone else? Under the law as long as you did not actually do what you were thinking and kept your mouth shut you would appear on the outside as a whitened sepulcher but inside you would be full of dead men's bones.
KJV Matthew 5:28
28. But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Jesus magnified the definition of sin to include the thoughts and intents of the human mind and made the thought of sin equal to the act of sin and worthy of the same punishment.
KJV Matthew 12:35
35. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth-good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth-evil things.
KJV Matthew 15:18-20
18. But those things, which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart and they defile the man.
19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies:
20. These are the things, which defile a man: but to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man.
The message Jesus gives us is that all manner of sin has its source in our human spirit. Our bodies are only the vehicles we use to commit the acts or speak the words we think about. All sin is premeditated.
KJV James 1:13-15
13. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
How can the Ten Commandments address sin when Jesus magnified the definition of sin to include our thoughts? What person can control all of his or her thoughts at all times in order not to sin? This is the question Solomon asked.
KJV Proverbs 20:9-11
9. Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
The real problem with humanity is the human spirit where sin begins. The law could not deal with the cause of sin but could only deal with the effect of sin. The tenth commandment is a witness to this truth because you will never read of anyone in scripture convicted of coveting by two witnesses under the law and all the other nine commandments can be broken by coveting as Jesus illustrated. James also shows this fact.
KJV James 2:10
10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
The law dealt with the outer man, the flesh, while the Holy Spirit deals with the inner man, the human spirit. Your human spirit is what you really are and is what has the promise of salvation, not your fleshly body.
KJV 1 Corinthians 15:50
50. Now this I say brethren that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. kingdom of God
The law was given as a schoolmaster to teach us this very thing.
KJV Galatians 3:24-25
24. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The law is not sin but those who attempt to keep the law will become sinners.
KJV Romans 3:23
23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
If we are honest with ourselves can we in truth say that we are without sin because we keep the law? All people have sinned and have fallen short of God's glory. Sin then is falling short of God's glory. Job and Solomon knew that sin begins in the heart of man and that no man was free of sin.
KJV Job 4:17-19
17. Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?
18. Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
19. How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?
KJV Proverbs 20:9-11
9. Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
10. Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the lord.
11. Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work is pure, and whether it is right.
Those who think that following the law will make them justified in God's eyes are self righteous and deceived. No law was ever given to address the thoughts and intents of the human spirit. The law itself testified to this truth as well as the prophets.
This is why Paul said that he would not have known sin except the law had said thou shalt not covet. Paul recognized that all sin begins as a thought of coveting or lust in our human spirit. The law was powerless to address this fatal flaw in our natures. It is only by the Holy Spirit of God that our minds can be renewed into sound minds so that the inner man can also be renewed and transformed into the likeness of Christ. Those who are intent on keeping the law deny the working power of the Holy Spirit of God as well as the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The law could only give us the knowledge of what good and evil is but not the power needed to always do the good and reject the evil.
KJV James 4:17
17. Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.
The law cannot change our natures but the Holy Spirit is the divine nature of God himself that can transform our minds to be like the mind of Christ.
KJV 2 Peter 1:4
4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Anyone who has ever come to grace has first come to an understanding of the law because the law is what condemns all as sinners and in need of being saved. Once under grace the law has no hold a person. The correct way to preach the gospel is to inform sinners of their death sentence resulting from the laws righteous condemnation. To tell sinners they need to have sincere Godly sorrow for failing to keep the law. Sinners then are informed that Jesus brought a new covenant into effect by His sacrifice and resurrection to enable them to escape the old covenant. The law is a vital tool needed to bring sinners to repentance. Without the law there would be no sin to repent of and no way for God to judge the world. It is not just
but all people except those who have come to grace. Israel
KJV Romans 3:19
19. Now we know that what things soever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and the entire world may become guilty before God.
There are many views today about the law and differences in doctrine among the churches, because of misunderstanding how the law functions.
KJV Galatians 3:22
22. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
It makes no difference if you are Jew or Gentile; God's law condemns all except those who come to grace. The law is not for the righteous, those who have faith in the gospel and are in the new covenant.
KJV 1 Timothy 1:9
8. Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
All uncoverted people are under and condemned by the law to death. It is only the righteous, the born again and saved person that is not under the law.