Could there be another way righteousness is worked? If so, how is it yet it is only through Christ that we are counted righteous? Could Cornelius have been a special case?
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Well we have repeatedly defined what righteousness is. Righteousness is exclusively of God and it is God's way alone. Only God grants it through His Son Jesus Christ. But then, what is this righteousness being spoken of by which Cornelius was called in Acts 10:22? Additionally, Jesus taught that if your righteousness doesn't exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the law, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:20). The direct lesson from this could be that; much as it is undoubtedly indisputable that righteousness is exclusively of God, this same reference could be made of anybody else but not on terms it is of God. For God is truly righteous. The first lesson therefore to learn from this is that; the righteousness of God is true righteousness, well as any of such which may be said in reference to anybody else could simply be out of simple observation. For example, Jesus compared the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees to whitewashed tombs which look very attractive on the outside yet they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanliness (Matthew 23:27). Moreover, as said above, Jesus says; "unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the law....". The lesson from this is that there is a certain level of righteousness which is only so by observation, but not deeply rooted. Yet it is referred to as righteousness because it appears to be so. This draws us to the conclusion that righteousness could be viewed in terms of levels of which the true of it in every meaning and intent of the word is the righteousness of God. But in this particular case of Cornelius, the reference of righteousness is made of him by God Himself in which case it can't be said to be like the self-styled righteousness of the Scribes, the Pharisees and the Teachers of the law. But which part of the person is righteousness rooted? Righteousness is rooted in the heart and mind. By righteousness, it means your actions are equally and squarely intentioned. Cornelius therefore gave alms generously and prayed to God always, and it is on this account that he received a visitation from the Lord (Acts 10:1-8). The giving of alms and praying to God daily of Cornelius was rooted in him and it is on this account that God set out to clothe him with the gift of salvation. Now, the question props up; could someone love God but lack the knowledge of God? Yes, it is pretty possible! Many love God but lack knowledge of Him. Cornelius was equally a man of this nature. For he loved God but lacked the knowledge of Him. But because righteousness is a matter of the heart, it was counted of Cornelius for righteousness because his actions were rooted in his heart. Nevertheless, being such a person (Cornelius), the rules of going to heaven would never permit him. For he was yet to hear the gospel and thereby embrace it (Romans 10:17). And because God loved him for well intentioned deeds, He loved it that he (Cornelius) would never go to hell at the end of his earthly life. For the only way to heaven is through Christ. If Cornelius had not accepted Christ, he would go to hell. God therefore had to send him Peter so as Cornelius could have the opportunity to hear the gospel and thereby embrace it. The righteousness of Jesus therefore had to be imputed on Cornelius in order to be accepted of God (2Corinthians 5:21). No one will go to heaven if he has not accepted Christ. Equally so, there are many people whose deeds are well intentioned. And according to the shallow judgment of us, those people will go to heaven. Yet because the righteousness by which heaven is accessible is the righteousness of God through His Son Jesus Christ, and having been referred to as righteous by God Himself, Cornelius was only so by his actions and only to be appreciated. For he needed the righteousness of Christ to access heaven. NB: Preach the gospel dear brethren, Cornelius equally needed it.
Cornelius was called righteous because Cornelius was a devout man and feared God, and always prayed to him. God heard him then sent Peter to tell Cornelius about Jesus. Regardless of his religion, God saw his heart and saw he was worthy. So if the heart is right, he will find us. Then hopefully when we do get the chance to know about Jesus we will take it in, then live it out.
In Romans 9:14 we read "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! (15) For He says to Moses, I"I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." Deuteronomy 32:4, "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He." Hebrews 11:3, "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:4, By faith...11:5, By faith,...11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please Him...for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Acts 10:2, "He and the whole household were devout and God fearing.. O.k.so this is after JESUS life, but the list in Hebrews chapter 11 is before Jesus birth! I believe that God is sovereign! He looks at the heart! 1Samuel 16:7, "...For the Lord does not see as man sees; for Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." Psalm 147:11, "The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy." Isaiah 55:8,9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,...For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Consider, Abraham, made righteous by faith...much later Christ came...He is The Way...but Acts 10:22 tells us that Cornelius was instructed by a holy Angel...obviously Cornelius had faith! God does what He wants! I think God was using Cornelius (a man righteous by faith) to remind Peter,10:42, to preach to the people...through His name WHOEVER believes, in Him will receive remission of sins. This man already had faith, now he had the story of Jesus too. God is sovereign!
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.