Friday, November 14, 2014
"If There Is None Righteous, Then Where Do All These Righteous People Come From?"
Objection: The contradiction is plain: the Bible states there is no righteous person, yet many biblical figures are described as righteous (Job, Joseph, Noah, to name a few)--even Christians go around talking about being made righteous. I can't believe in a religious contradiction.
Answer: The apparent contradiction is very plain, but is anyone asking “what does ‘righteousness’ mean?” The central text from which we learn “there is none righteous” is found in Psalm 14 where we also find one definition. Other biblical uses quote this passage or point back to this place, so instead of addressing each one individually, we will consider the source.
First, it helps to know who is writing and it takes no scholar to find the answer as the first line reads “Of David,” who incidentally is also one of the biblical figures whose righteousness is called into question.
What is he writing about? Well, the first verse explains his topic as “the fool [who] says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’”
So what about these fools? They are described as “corrupt” because “they do abominable deeds.” No fool does good.
Now someone will object here: surely everyone does good! Yes . . . and no. The kind of goodness the fool will never do is to seek after God. There is a “kind” of understanding, but God looking down from heaven sees they don’t understand Him and the goodness that pleases Him. No fool does God’s kind of good.
This is why David writes that these fools have “all turned aside . . . have become corrupt.” Every person who does not seek after God nor desires the things of God does the goodness of God. They don’t know how, so they “eat up” God’s people. Chew them up and spit them out as they continue to reject God. They live in terror because the reality is this: God is found with the generation of those who seek after God, who want to please God. God is found in the midst of those whom He makes righteous.
Try a test: discriminate someone who is afflicted and has trusted God and you will find you can’t touch him. He will not be moved. Who is being unfair and unequal but the one who calls into question the Creator and Giver of all things.
This is why Job and Joseph and David and so many others could be called righteous--despite their mistakes, their sins--they kept short accounts with God and constantly sought Him out in order to be pleasing to Him. God puts His righteousness on our account.