by Christopher Harbin

Becoming God's Righteousness
Christopher B. Harbin
2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2

We like to be right, to feel we are justified in what we think and do. The news this week is a good example of people claiming to be right in regard to the attacks in France upon a hyper-satirical publication which bore the brunt of a terror attack. The terrorists claimed to be rightfully acting in defense of the Prophet Muhammad. The paper claimed to be right in proclaiming its ideas by claims of free expression. Some claim to be right in attacking the paper for its extreme critical positions devised in such a way as to inflame passions. They claim the paper went too far and bears a portion of the responsibility for the attack. Others claim the best response to such outlandish publication is simply to ignore it. Others claim to be right in placing certain issues beyond the sphere of freedom of expression. In the process, we point fingers at one another, claiming that we are in the right and those who disagree are in the wrong. In the process of attempting to be right, do we miss the point of righteousness?

Righteousness, or being right, is a Biblical concept. It refers to doing those things we should do. It refers to living according to God's design and purpose. There is a degree to which we understand that, but more often we seem overly concerned with forcing our understanding of righteousness upon others. Instead of concerning ourselves with living according to God's patterns, we find ourselves more attuned to pointing out and criticizing the failures of others in living up to our standards or definitions of righteousness. In effect, we focus less on righteousness and more on our grasp of the issues of justice. We substitute social and legal definitions of justice for the Biblical concept of righteousness.

Righteousness and justice are concepts we can hardly grasp on their Biblical basis. Biblically speaking, they are identical terms. We see them through some cultural lens and m ...

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