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Man’s Goodness and God’s Righteousness are Not Equivalent

“I have a hope in God, which these men themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection, both of the righteous and the unrighteous. I always strive to have a clear conscience toward God and men…..Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I have an opportunity I’ll call for you.” Acts 24:15-16, 25 CSB


The Apostle Paul believed in God, and because he believed in God, he believed in the resurrection of the dead to meet God and determine who lived pleasing to God and who would be condemned by God. Nearly all people who believe in God believe these same things: that God will raise people from the dead to determine their eternal destiny based upon the lives they have lived. Most people see this judgment as the decision between good and bad. Paul described the judgment as a decision of righteousness. Righteousness is not the same as being good. Righteousness is being right with God as demonstrated by living according to God’s commands. When people describe being good, they do so in comparison to others and social norms. The righteousness God requires and the goodness people accept are not the same. Since it is God Who judges because it is God alone with the power to raise people from the dead for judgment, it seems wisest to pursue the righteousness of God rather than the goodness of men. The righteousness of God is found in the Scriptures and revealed in human form in Jesus, God Who is righteous. This Jesus Who lived perfectly righteous will judge all people by His righteousness for eternal life with Him. Those who made themselves right with God by appealing to His love and grace through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, then lived according to everything Jesus commanded, will inherit eternal life. Those who lived according to their own standard of goodness will meet Jesus and be condemned by His righteousness, finally believing that man’s goodness and God’s righteousness are not equivalent. Then, it will be too late to do anything about it.

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