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I saw a news show recently where they spent a significant amount of time essentially making the case that everyone is dishonest and cheats. It was depressing. It is not true and it doesn’t have to be that way.

God wants us to be (live) honest lives in right standing with Him. Jesus makes the same challenge. This focus is huge for us. It is core to having a heart after God because God is truth.

We have a spiritual problem, both as individuals, a culture, and a country. We need moral clarity. We must accept the challenge of Jesus. Wisdom and an eternal life are the payoff.

Here are the key ideas:

  • Honesty, grounded in truth, is the key to wisdom.
  • God’s goal for us is to live a honest life and to speak the truth.
  • God is God and can only speak the truth. God is light. God shines his light on us.
  • God is in a good mood and gives us the power to live a honest life.

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.

English Standard Version. (2016). (Proverbs 10:2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

God wants us to pursue righteousness. Dictionaries define righteousness as “behavior that is morally justifiable or right.”

  • Such behavior is characterized by accepted standards of morality, justice, virtue, or uprightness.
  • The Bible’s standard of human righteousness is God’s own perfection in every attribute, every attitude, every behavior, and every word.
  • Thus, God’s laws, as given in the Bible, both describe His own character and constitute the plumb line by which He measures human righteousness.

The Greek New Testament word for “righteousness” primarily describes conduct in relation to others, especially with regards to the rights of others in business, in legal matters, and beginning with relationship to God. It is contrasted with wickedness, the conduct of the one who, out of gross self-centeredness, neither reveres God nor respects man. The Bible describes the righteous person as just or right, holding to God and trusting in Him.

  • Amos 5:24 (CSB) — 24 But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.
  • Matthew 6:33 (CSB) — 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
  • Isaiah 1:16–17 (CSB) — 16 “Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from my sight. Stop doing evil. 17 Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.
  • Isaiah 56:1 (CSB) — 1 This is what the Lord says: Preserve justice and do what is right, for my salvation is coming soon, and my righteousness will be revealed.
  • Jeremiah 22:3 (CSB) — 3 This is what the Lord says: Administer justice and righteousness. Rescue the victim of robbery from his oppressor. Don’t exploit or brutalize the resident alien, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place.
  • Hosea 10:12 (CSB) — 12 Sow righteousness for yourselves and reap faithful love; break up your unplowed ground. It is time to seek the Lord until he comes and sends righteousness on you like the rain.
  • Zephaniah 2:3 (CSB) — 3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who carry out what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord’s anger.
  • Matthew 5:6 (CSB) — 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Ephesians 6:14 (CSB) — 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,
  • 1 Timothy 6:11 (CSB) — 11 But you, man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.
  • 2 Timothy 2:22 (CSB) — 22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.