ESV - 9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
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The word "pursue" may mean one of the following: 1) To strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish 2) To proceed in accordance with 3) To follow in order to overtake, capture, kill 4) To practice 5) To follow close upon To pursue righteousness therefore can be defined in terms of one of the above (1Timothy 6:11), (2Timothy 2:22), (Isaiah 51:1). However though, I do believe that what would be more applicable here is number 2, 4 and 5. Recall that no human being can be righteous of themselves. Righteousness is exclusively of God and Him alone can extend it to whoever comes to Him through His provision when He offered His Son Jesus Christ. On that account therefore, we are only said to be pursuing righteousness and counted righteous if we accept and allow Christ into our lives. Jesus the Son of God, who offered Himself for a true sacrifice for the remission of our sins is the only one by whom we can be righteous. Now to pursue righteousness means after having been declared righteous by the acceptance and allowance of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over anything that ever be, we seek to keep ourselves righteous. Righteousness is only given from God, but maintaining it is of us. Thus the scripture; "...pursue righteousness..." Hebrews 10:38 says; "The righteous shall live by faith, but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him" My interest though is in part b of this verse; "....but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him" What I understand here is that after having accepted and allowed Christ into ones life and thereby declared righteous, if they give up on keeping themselves righteous, God is never happy with them. He is not happy with them on account of not being righteous, for He knows it is not of us to be righteous, but it is of us to keep righteous once we have been declared so when we have accepted and let Christ into our lives. Additionally, Hebrews 10:39 says; “But we are not of those who draw back, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” By this, I understand that I have to apply some effort in order to maintain myself righteous, for it is about the saving of the soul. Many things present themselves in our way of salvation, many of which are very tempting. Some of them have to do with our fellow human beings, some of whom we may be close to but are not for the enrichment of our inner man, but simply for our bodily pleasures and thereby denying us the love to keep ourselves pure for ourselves and for the work of God. But other things which seem and appear to be opportunities have to do with ourselves as well. Such may be our personal struggles as body lusts, uncontrolled appetite for riches, power and sex. These stand in our way of salvation and if we give in to them, we will have given up our righteousness. For righteousness also can be said to be the mind of God. If you possess the mind like the one of God, you can never be held subject to any of them. For subjecting yourself to such is the fruit of unrighteousness. So, the fact that the word “pursue” is used here means there has to be an effort to apply. It will not be as easy, but by the unceasing grace of our dear LORD Jesus Christ, we can surely get to the finishing line. For Paul says in 1Corinthians 9:27, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” In conclusive terms, righteousness is the clear product of the acceptance and allowance of Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior. It is the one single reason we will be able to see God. Righteousness is the major reason Jesus came, for He came to unlock it for us. We are only counted righteous on account of Him. It is therefore very important that we keep it preciously. It is not simply a matter of singing the name of Jesus, it is much a matter of keeping to Him.
What does it mean to pursue righteousness? My short answer would be to look at one of the best examples in God's Word: Remember how faithful and true Abram's relationship became even while enduring the emotional pain from Sarai, his wife not getting pregnant. Abram cried out to God at the water's edge begging Him to grant them children. God heard him and spoke to Abram, saying "Abram, I will make ye father of many nations for as you see the stars above so as your descendants will be." (Genesis 17:4-5 Genesis 22:15-17) (Romans 4:17-18) Your name shall be Abraham and Sarai shall be called Sarah. (Genesis 17:15) Abraham set the standard for "righteousness"! The meaning of pursuing righteousness before GOD is to do His will, to seek and pursue God's plan for your life daily; the very definition of true faith! God rewards those that truly seek Him and His righteousness daily. --Andy--
I like to think of the words I read today from proverbs 21:12 whoever pursues righteousness and kindness finds life, righteousness and honor. For me, associating righteousness with kindness is parallel. This means personal growth, loving what is just, forgiveness, grace, loving what is good and basically comes down to personal ethics. Righteousness is in itself kindness. It can only grow within our soul. As we know from the New Testament, our flesh is our weakness. Since we are in our flesh and have struggles from the flesh, it is important to be aware of our spirit and soul. Only from there can righteousness grow. I think before understanding this we first must be aware that not by works we are saved so no one can boast but it’s a gift from God, exclusively by faith. We also know we’ve all sinned and all battle our flesh and desires within the world, therefore righteousness can’t come from flesh, sin and world. Only in soul/spirit. Starting point for me would be kindness, loving what is good, loving peace, helpfulness, learning and growth. Spiritual maturity is probably the stepping stones towards righteousness. It may be as simple as doing what is right every day in our lives.
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