Do you know what righteousness is?
Well, whatever it is, it makes up an entire third of what Paul describes the Kingdom of God as being.
In Romans 14:17, he says that "The Kingdom is a matter of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
For the most part, we know what peace is. And we know what joy is. Those two words are so "normal" that they make their way onto tons of holiday greeting cards.
Not so with righteousness. What does he mean when he says that the Kingdom is a matter of righteousness?
While we do not use this word often in normal everyday conversation, we most certainly read it frequently in scripture.
Jesus said he "fulfilled" righteousness when John baptized him.
He also preached that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be blessed. As well as those who are persecuted for righteousness.
Jesus also said we should seek righteousness first.
He warned that unless our righteousness exceeded that of the Pharisees and religious teachers that there is no way we will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Whatever it is, it sounds super important, doesn't it?
Luke adds that people can be righteous and refers to Jesus as "The Righteous One". Paul adds that God makes righteous decrees, that righteousness is revealed, and that we are to be "instruments of righteousness". James says that both the Jewish Patriarch Abraham, and the prostitute Rahab, were considered righteous for specific things they did, that we can raise a "harvest of righteousness" if we live a certain way, and that the prayer of a righteous man is effective. Peter adds that we are to live for righteousness, that God has a righteousness of His own, and that there is a home of righteousness.
Does all that help?
Today, we talk about this Kingdom matter of righteousness, and how to let the Holy Spirit keep it - whatever it is - alive within us no matter where we are or what is happening.