Last year was the first year my family and I celebrated Passover. It was a huge blessing, but I really didn’t ‘get’ the whole Days of Unleavened Bread ‘thing’ so we let it slip by…
How much we missed!!
As we approached Pesach this year I determined to learn more about the related feast, Days of Unleavened Bread. I have learned so, so much!!
In a previous post I shared a little of what Abba has been showing me, but today my understanding of righteousness from a Scriptural perspective took a major leap forward!!
As my previous post hints at, Unleavened, as all the Feasts of Yahweh, is an illustration. This particular feast teaches of the leavening/”yeasty” effect of sin in our lives. Rav Shaul says, “… a little leaven leavens the whole lump…” If we are to learn from the Feast, then, as we remove all physical leaven from the house, we should really be pondering the spiritual leaven in our lives. In that vein, I have been really seeking understanding on ‘righteousness.’
That led me today to an interesting passage of Scripture: 2 Samuel 22:21-25
“Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. 22 “For I have kept the ways of Yahweh,
And have not acted wickedly against my God.
23 “For all His ordinances were before me,
And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.
24 “I was also blameless toward Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. 25 “Therefore Yahweh has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness before His eyes.
I don’t know about you, but that set off an alarm… Raised in the church, I had always been taught, directly or indirectly that ‘my righteousness’ is of no value. Generally, the phrase from Isaiah 64:6 comes to mind: “...all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.…”
So, today I read the larger context of the Isaiah passage and a different picture comes into view. Thus, the error of proof-texting to support false teachings is again exposed! But, I digress…
In the larger context it becomes clear that the ones Yahweh is dressing down are NOT doing things HIS way. They are pursuing their own agenda… Verses 6 & 7 indicate they are involved in the unclean, they do not know His name and He has delivered them into the powers of their iniquities which leads to blindness.
Now, as I was raised, there really were only two kinds of righteousness taught: 1) the righteousness of Christ and 2) all other righteousness that is as filthy rags. Comparing the two passages above, however, reveals something.
It would seem there are actually three types of righteousness in view.
- The righteousness of Yeshua/Christ/Messiah
- My righteousness according to HIS ways
- My righteousness according to MY ways…
Let’s test this with a few verses.
Understand up front, I can do NOTHING that merits salvation. Yeshua is the only acceptable atoning sacrifice before Yahweh. So, we are not talking about salvation. We are talking about the walk of righteousness and our relationship to it.
Deuteronomy 6:24-25 says:
24 So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us.
This would seem to be at least one of the verses David is pondering when he says, “Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. 22 “For I have kept the ways of Yahweh,…”
Isaiah 58 seems to speak a similar message. The people are complaining to Yahweh because they fast, but He does not hear. He points out that they are not doing what He desires, keeping His commands, etc. He says in verse 8, “[if you will do that] Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard...”
There are numerous other verses that advance this line of thought. For brevity sake, consider these references:
- “own righteousness” Ez. 14:14;
- “practice righteousness and live” (7X+!!) Ez. 18
- “cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit” 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1
- “…achieve the righteousness of God… [by being] an effectual doer…” James, in 1:20-25, contrasts sin (anger, wickedness, etc) with the ‘perfect Law of Liberty.’
Here’s the point, once we are saved by the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua, we are called to walk in the ‘paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.’ That path of righteousness is not an ethereal path we get to define as some moral code based on the traditions of men or doctrinal statements. (“Don’t drink, smoke or chew, or go out with girls who do.”)
No, Abba gives a very clear definition of what righteousness looks like and how we are to ‘walk’ in it.
Where the problem comes in is when false doctrines and teachers create little codes that they deem the path of sanctification and then declare anyone who actually seeks to do all of the Commandments that “will be righteousness for us” to be seeking self righteousness.
The question then that we must ask ourselves is: “Am I pursuing righteousness according to the doctrines of men, or according to the revealed righteousness of God?” Yahweh clearly defines for us what righteousness looks like. It looks like Yeshua, the Living Word revealing Torah, the written Word. Yeshua was sinless according to Torah and we are called to ‘walk as He walked.’
Walking according to a doctrinal statement or theological statement that runs counter to Torah is self-righteousness. It is the righteousness of men.
Just as we have been challenged by the task of removing the physical leaven from our house (…never knew that leaven is in some types of toothpaste!), we have been challenged by where we find some of the spiritual leaven… Traditions, common in the church, that need to be purged.
It is not easy, but I challenge you to honestly evaluate every part of how you worship and why you do it! Is it prescribed by Scripture, or tradition? Find the verses and prove it!
You may be very surprised that the ancient paths have never changed, contrary to most church doctrines.
Jeremiah the prophet, in chapter 6 says,
16 Thus says the Lord,
“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 “And I set watchmen over you, saying,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
18 “Therefore hear, O nations,
And know, O congregation, what is among them.
19 “Hear, O earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, The fruit of their plans,
Because they have not listened to My words,
And as for My law, they have rejected it also.
I pray you are challenged to dig in and study. You will find rest for your souls. Indeed HIS burden is light…