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Seek First His Righteousness,

by Michael Edwards  
3/03/2018 / Bible Studies


This study goes in depth with abundant scripture to prove that once a person places their faith and trust in Jesus, they are declared righteous, right with God by faith. It has nothing to do with our actions and everything to do with Jesus obedience. This study will set you on the firm foundation of Jesus righteousness. The Bible is clear that once your mind and heart are established in His Righteousness, the other things you need and have been seeking will be added unto you. Get your Bible out and study with me. If you have any questions, comments or objections, I hope you will post them below the study or contact me through private messenger.


While there are many specific verses in the bible about healing, peace, faith and other things we care about, the answer to everything we need is based on one crucial piece of knowledge. A lot of people claim to know it, but most do not live as though they believe it.

The fruit of the Spirit (peace, patience, joy, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, love, healing, health, financial stability) is based on this knowledge.

The knowledge I am talking about is presented clearly in these three verses:

“But seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt 6:33) and (Luke 12:31).

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).

Everything we want and need is tied up in our knowledge of our righteousness in Christ. We are as right with the Father as Jesus is because of His shed blood. All of God’s blessings—including the defeat of reoccurring sin in our lives, healing, freedom from depression and favor—are reserved for those who are firmly established in His righteous in their minds, which means “right with God.” This article is not about doing more, serving more, praying more or being perfect. It is about: right believing that always leads to right living.

Promises for the Righteous

The Bible lists a vast number of promises for those who are right with God. Here are just a few. (There is a much longer list at the bottom of this article.)

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19).

“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12).

“He [God] does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever” (Job 36:7).

“The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings ruin” (Pro 15:6).

“The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous” (Psalm 146:8).

“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12).

If you have placed your faith in Jesus as your savior, you are saved. But if the fruit of the Spirit, favor, and blessings are not growing in your life, you simply don’t understand what you have.

I can demonstrate this to you right now. Honestly consider for yourself: do the next few verses or similar ones that talk about righteousness make you feel uncomfortable? Do not be ashamed to admit it if they do; it took me years to be fully established in the truth of His righteousness.

"Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good" (Proverbs 13:21).

“These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).

“The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous” (Pro 3:33).

If the many verses in the bible like these make you feel unqualified, uncomfortable and uneasy and question or doubt your salvation, you are looking at yourself as though you are under the law and not the finished work of Jesus. You are sin conscious; and the bible states in Hebrews 10:2 you should no longer be sin conscious.

“… through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:20).

To some extent, you are living with one foot in the Old Covenant. You have mentally or practically placed yourself back under the law as the Galatians did.  

You are called to place yourself fully under/in Christ.

If you believe Jesus’s sacrifice worked, you should be righteousness conscious. Sin consciousness is a sign you don’t really believe Jesus’s sacrifice worked and it grieves the Holy Spirit in us, the born-again believer. Sin consciousness will lead you to punish yourself subconsciously. It leads to condemnation, fear, worry, anxiety and away from the peace that Jesus gave us. It is only Satan that wants you to be sin conscious.

This is where you want to be:

“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.  Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?” (Heb 10: 1-2).

While you may tell others it is all about Jesus and grace, uncomfortable feelings about being deserving of the blessings of the righteous indicate your focus is on yourself. It takes no faith to look at yourself and your faults and beat yourself up. To trust fully what the Bible teaches, that Jesus’s sacrifice paid for our past, present and future sins, takes faith. It takes faith to believe we are still righteous in Christ when we fail. It takes faith to believe we are holy, sanctified, righteous, complete and perfected in Christ, but that it what the Bible teaches.

You can further check to see if you understand HIS righteousness and are in the faith, by asking yourself this question. Do you believe that the prayers of your pastor, Billy Graham or someone you see as a more qualified Christian are more effectual than yours?

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 b).

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and still would prefer Billy Graham’s prayers for your dying family member over yours, believing that your prayers to heal, save and cast your mountains into the sea are inferior to Billy’s, you do not understand HIS righteousness.

When I started pursuing HIS righteousness alone, I discovered (as you may, too) that I was fearful to trust Jesus fully and just let go of the law. I feared that I would plunge headfirst into sin. I remember hearing preachers say that we need to balance grace with the law and that grace saves us through faith, but you must be careful and do the right thing.

There were times I could sense I was hanging onto the law like I was hanging from a cliff by my fingernails.  I even remembered the claim by some that when they let go, they only fell a few inches into God’s hand, but I still resisted.  I would say it was all about him, but when it came right down to it, I was terrified to let go fully and trust Jesus finished work 100 percent. If you had asked me, I would have even sincerely denied that I was not trusting Jesus 100 percent. I now realize that my fear of letting go was the enemy trying to stop me. This is something he does not want you to know.

Think about it for a moment. Is there an inkling of fear that arises if you were to think of letting go completely of the law and just trusting Jesus 100 percent for your salvation? Do you have any thought that if you were no longer conscious of your sin (Hebrews 10:2 states a believer should no longer be conscious of his sin), you might just go off the deep end and fall into sin?

Do you believe God loves you more when you pray more or do more good works? Do you think he is unhappy with you and loves you less when you are not doing good or when you fall into sin?  If these things lead you to believe that you would fall out of favor with God, this is further confirmation that you are not looking at Jesus’s finished work. Your eyes are on yourself and your actions. You are self-occupied when you should be Christ-occupied.

There is great news, though! You can understand and walk in HIS righteousness, and it will transform your life. It will lead you to be humble as a lamb and as bold as a lion. You will soar with the eagles, walk in peace and joy and desire at the highest level to share this good news about Jesus with the world. This will all happen without your effort as the fruit of the Spirit in your life when you are firmly established in your mind in HIS righteousness.

Understanding HIS Righteousness

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and do not have spiritual fruits and at times find yourself unsure of your salvation, somewhere in your subconscious you still believe it is a little bit about you.

This is what we are dealing with in this article, and the Bible is abundantly clear on this matter. If you have made Jesus your Lord and Savior, you are saved, but you will constantly be defeated by sin, depressed and beat up until you learn to walk in HIS righteousness. You may even walk away if you do not learn this truth. It makes all the difference in the world.

Are There Contradictions in the Bible about Righteousness?

The Bible lists a vast number of benefits for the righteous, but then in many verses, it seems to contradict itself by saying that no one is righteous.

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continuously” (Genesis 6:5).

“God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways” (Genesis 6:12).

“How much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!” (Job 15:16).

“… when they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near…” (1 Kings 8:46).

“Indeed, there is no one on earth, who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins” (Ecc 7:20).

“Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?’” (Pro 20:9).

No human is righteous according to the bible. “What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written:

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Rom 3:10-12).

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

Well if no one is righteous as these verses indicate, then who can benefit from the blessings reserved for the righteous? What does God mean by righteous? Since according to scripture it is impossible for us to be righteous by our actions, what are we missing here?

Righteousness by Faith

This is so important, so crucial to understand that I cannot stress it enough. Write this down somewhere and commit it to memory. It will be one of the greatest aids you will ever have when you read the bible. The Bible never, not once teaches that a person was or can be righteous before God because they did not sin. This is obvious by the verses we have just read.

Not one time in the Old or New Testament does the Bible teach that a person was righteous before God because of their perfect actions, works, law-keeping or lack of sin. It does not even teach this as a remote possibility. Some of the biggest names the Bible calls righteous were the biggest sinners in the flesh. Ever hear of King David and the apostle Paul? If you get this, it will change everything. Every single time you see a person called righteous by God in the Bible, it simply means they believed God, had faith in God and his Word, and God declared them righteous. This applies to the Old and New Testaments without exception. With a righteous person, you will see fruits of the spirit.

On the other side of this coin is this undeniable truth. Every time you see the word unrighteous, by default it simply means they did not believe God. With the unrighteous you will see deadly symptoms of their unbelief, outward actions of sin).

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Rom 3:19-20).

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the Law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39 NIV). 

The word justification in the above verse is “dikaioó” in the Greek. It literally means: I make righteous, defend the cause of, plead for the righteousness (innocence) of, acquit, justify; hence: I regard as righteous. In other words, it says “righteousness you were not able to obtain under the law.”

“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead” (Heb 11:4).

“If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness’” (Rom 4:2-3).

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith” (Heb 11:7).

“It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith” (Rom 4:13).

“For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘the righteous will live by faith’” (Rom 1:17).

It is so crucial to understand this truth. No one is righteous by the works of the law; all are guilty. There is only one way to be righteous (right with God)—by faith, God makes a person right with himself. Read Rom 3:9-31

You should pause from reading the rest of this article right now until you read this in-depth article about your righteousness in Christ:

Once your thoughts are firmly established in HIS righteousness, your life will never be the same. This is how you walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh. The fruits of the Spirit and all of the benefits the bible mentions come to the righteous and will grow in your life.

What Jesus did for us is the reality of the picture we see in the Old Testament of the priest sacrificing a lamb for the sinner. Making it personal, when you would bring the lamb (a picture of Jesus) the priest (a picture of the Father) did not examine you. He fully knew why you were there. He examined the lamb. If the lamb was acceptable, you went home free. It was all about the blood of the lamb then, and it is all about the blood of the perfect Lamb of God today. It has nothing to do with you or your actions.

Another picture we see in the Old Testament was when Moses was sent to Pharaoh by God to secure the release of the Jews from captivity. Pharaoh was given many opportunities to let the Jews go, but he backed out on all of them. Then God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Jews go, or the first-born child in every home would die in one night.

God told Moses to have the Israelites put blood on the doorposts so the Angel of Death would not take the firstborn in their homes. If they failed to listen to Moses, the firstborn in their homes would be taken, too.

So now we have two Jewish families, who listened to Moses. One family was up all night worried sick. They wondered if they had done enough, had they prayed enough and were they good enough. The second family had a great meal, sung songs praising God and got the best night’s sleep ever. The question is, which family was protected from the Angel of Death? The answer is both of them. You see again; it was all about the blood of the lamb. Which family does your life resemble?

Both of these pictures in the Old Testament testify that your righteousness is all about God and what he has done for you. We also see that a believer’s faith naturally leads him to walk out what he claims to believe.

What God wants you and me to believe, to place our faith in is specifically that Jesus is our righteousness. This is the place where you can never be shaken, never doubt and never fear. Where you walk in His peace no matter the circumstance.

"For our sake he made him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of god" (2 Cor 5:21).

We are the righteousness of God in Christ, and one of the best times to confess the truth: “I am the righteousness of God in Christ” is when you fail. It is easy to say it and requires little if any faith when you are doing the right thing, when you do not need an abundance of grace. But the truth is God loves you even when you fail. He is not looking at you; he is looking at Jesus.

Take your eyes off your faults where no faith is needed, and place your focus completely on Jesus. When you confess Jesus is my righteousness when you fail, you will start to realize how much God does love you. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it is the absolute truth. The more you confess it, the more you will live it out in your actions. God will transform you from the inside out as you become established in HIS righteousness. Your right believing will then produce the right living and defeat of sin that you have sought.

I now know without doubt or question, and for certain, the only type of righteousness in the entire bible is righteousness by faith. Every single time a person is declared righteous in the entire Bible it means only one thing: they believed God. This truth applies 100% of the time, even with verses that may appear to a flesh-led person as being about personal righteousness. Earned righteousness before God is not even a possibility in the Bible. When we believe God, we are credited HIS righteousness. Then our actions follow our professed belief.

Thank God, the knowledge of the truth has set me free. 

Here are more verses listing blessings and favor for the righteous, those who believe that Jesus is Lord and savior.

“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12).

“For God is present in the company of the righteous” (Psalm 14:15b). 

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19).

“For the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous” (Psalm 37:17). 

“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37.25). 

“The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever” (Psalm 37:29). 

“…but God will break you down forever; he will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent, and uproot you from the land of the living. Selah. The righteous will see and fear, and will laugh at him, saying,‘Behold, the man who would not make god his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and was strong in his evil desire’” (Psalm 52:5-7). 

“Cast your cares on the lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). 

“Who says, ‘I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up’” (Psalm 75:10). 

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree; they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12).

“Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:11). 

“Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever” (Psalm 112:6). 

“Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ‘The Lord's right hand has done mighty things!’” (Psalm 118:15). 

See Psalm 118 

“…the Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous” (Psalm 146:8). 

“The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous” (Pro 3:33). 

“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Pro 4:18). 

“The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked” (Pro 10:3). 

“Blessings crown the head of the righteous” (Pro 10:6a). 

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life prov 10:11a 

“The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death” (Pro 10:16). 

“What the wicked dread will overtake them; what the righteous desire will be granted” (Pro 10:24). 

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever” (Pro 10:25). 

“The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing” (Pro 10:28). 

“The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land” (Pro 10:30). 

“The righteous person is rescued from trouble, and it falls on the wicked instead” (Pro 11:8). 

“With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape” (Pro 11:9). 

“Be sure of this: the wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free” (Pro 11:21). 

“Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf” (Pro 11:28). 

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives” (Pro 11:30). 

“No one can be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted” (Pro 12:3). 

“The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm” (Pro 12:7

“An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble” (Pro 12:13). 

“No harm overtakes the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble” (Pro 12:21). 

“Trouble pursues the sinner, but the righteous are rewarded with good things” (Pro 13:21). 

“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous” (Pro 13:22). 

“The righteous eat to their hearts' content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry” (Pro 13:25). 

“The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing, but the righteous has a refuge when he dies” (Pro 14:32). 

“The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings ruin” (Pro 15:6).

“The lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Pro 15:29). 

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord” (Pro 17:15). 

“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes” (Pro 24:16).

“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion” (Pro 28:1). 

“The salvation of the righteous comes from the lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble” (Psalm 37:39). 

“The eyes of the lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15). 

“He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever” (Job 36:7).

“The path of the righteous is level; you, the upright one, make the way of the righteous smooth” (Isa 26:7). 

“Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor” (Isa 60:21).  This is a prophecy about Jesus making those who believe righteous by faith. 

"Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith” (Hab 2:4).

“For the eyes of the lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (1 Peter 3:12).

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father. Whoever has ears, let him hear” (Matt 13:43). 

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim 4:8).

Go here for an in-depth study on this subject: New Covenant Article Links 

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