I'll have to say that I'm a little disappointed at the lack of response to my earlier post. I was really hoping for a hearty discussion on the issue. So come out of your closets, friends (and you three followers!) and share your thoughts. Here are mine.
Preface: I'm sure there are no new thoughts here. I'm also sure that quite possibly everything I say is worthy of your question and inspection. I truely feel like a babe in Christ on this topic so please point out errors in my thought process. You know how sometimes, in the midst of a tangent, you can be blinded to the most obvious fact? Yeah. Don't let me miss the train.
Question 1: Can I maintain the righteousness of God in me by a specific act or work?
Definitions seem to always prove or disprove any suspicions right away.
Righteous= acting or being in accordance with what is just, honorable and free from guilt or wrong
Impute= to credit or attribute to a person or a cause
Maintain= to keep in an existing state; to sustain against opposition or danger; to continue in, carry on
So, God's righteousness (based on the first definition)= acting or being in accordance with God's standard of justice and honor and God's standard of what it means to be free from wrong. Wow. That's heavy.
Now to the concordance.
Where I first see that every mention of the word righteousness in the New Testament comes from the exact same Greek word. That's good. And I don't know much about Greek etymology, but I see that the English definition for that Greek word means justification.
Looks like almost half of all NT uses of the word righteousness come from Romans. No surprise. But I'm not ok with simply pulling out one verse to prove a point, so maybe I'll just look at all of them. I think it makes sense to study the verses and the context of the verses first rather than quickly rifling through to find one that proves my suspicions. I really want to hear what God has to say to me about this.
So, starting with the first reference of the word in Romans. Maybe it will help to make all these references blue.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17
"For therein..."- obviously referring to the verse before it so...
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:16-17
It helps me to look at the sentence from a grammar point of view. Paul is saying that the righeousness of God is revealed in something- but what? I'm not an English major, but I think it refers to the statement in v 16 "for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes...". So could we say "the righteousness of God is revealed (from start to finish) in the power God has to save to all who believe (regardless of their nationality or background)"? And it seems like part of Paul's point here is that cultures and nationalities don't matter, belief in Jesus trumps all that.
But now(in this time) the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 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: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness (in exchange)for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:21-25
So the righteousness of God (without the law) is shown in our day by faith in Jesus.
Then there are eight uses of the word in Romans 4. Here's a visual. Yellow= Righteousness. Orange= faith or believe. Green= impute.
To summarize the righteousness topic in Romans 4 we can say that it was not written for his (Abraham's) sake alone, but for us also, to whom it (righteousness) shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead (v 23-24).
This is a good place to break. I'll be back later with the rest of the references in Romans.
Also, please tell me if I'm butchering God's word in trying to make sense of Paul's run-on sentences or if I've misinterpreted something or left something out or if you simply disagree. Speak up!