This difficult questions to which I refer is on righteousness; namely, 'Can a man attain a state of righteousness?' Paul is briefly quoted in his adaptation of the Psalms, 'There is none righteous, no, not one,' and typically the Christian is satisfied at this point that the question has been answered satisfactorily.
But in so doing, they make God a tyrannical menace, and in affirming Calvinism, turn God into a devil himself.
Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." [Matt 5:48]
Also, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousnerss of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." [Matt 5:20]
If God gives us an order to obey His commandments, execute righteousness, repent and be saved, yet He knows that all of these things are impossible and He threatens and terrorizes us with threats of burning in hell, that is a deranged lunatic and a hare-brained monster you worship who I want nothing to do with.
One hallmark of the Greek system of mythology and the others was that rather than a God fashioning man after His own image, it is rather men who fashion gods for themselves. The gods experience all the same lusts, affections, immoralities, and improprieties noted in men. They reason similarly, sometimes illogically, and the most profound revelation from them is a clever paradox or simple parable. If there is truth in religion and any satisfaction to be had at the end, it can only come from a singular, all-powerful, all-knowledgeable, all-just Being whose inspiration is a cause of bringing peace and mercy throughout the world, not the endless wars and perverse immorality of the Greeks.
The idea of a Creator creating beings incapable of obeying His commands, an incapability He personally programmed into them, shows a Creator who would be adjudged not capable of managing His personal affairs, much less the entire universe.
It's clear why it's so necessary to Christian teaching that it is this way. It's what I call flow . It flows rather well together. These sorts of systems unravel easily, standing or falling together.
I. Man is fallen/unrighteous/cannot save himself.
II. Here comes a Saviour. He fixes all that.
III. He also fixes something else we don't like: The Law. Since we cannot possibly obey it and be righteous we just shred it like church documents that show how the church is defrauding the federal government iby refusing to disclose assets and cheating on its taxes.
--But let's be clear: No one admits to serving a lawless, hippy, tax-cheat named Christus. They only imply it with their words.
Now that it's established what it is God requires of us, that He does command us to obey His laws and become righteous, it has to be examined what the Bible additionally says about righteousness.
Righteous men in history
Abel was righteous
"That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar." [Matt 23:35]
"And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." [James 2:23]
Noah, Daniel and Job
"Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God... though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness." [Ezekiel 14:14]
David was not counted among the righteous, and I consider him one step below these saints. But Jeremiah remembers him like this: "Nevertheless for David's sake did the Lord his God give him [Jeroboam] a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem. Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." [I Kings 15:4,5]
Another one that gets raised eyebrows:
"Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God."
How can Jesus not be good? How is it that in spite of this, we should be perfect? How is it that none is rihteous but it's demanded we should be righteous?
GOOD: that which is without any bad. this is the highest mark.
RIGHTEOUSNESS: a righteous man is trustworthy, he can be trusted to do good. he can also be expected to make mistakes, and at times he will.
BAD: can be both deliberate acts of evil as well as unintentional
What all this means is in order to be righteous, you pursue those things that God expects from you and you avoid wrongdoing. Wrongdoing could be a lapse in judgment in a moment or it could be a simple mistake. One example of that: A righteous smoker will not steal your lighter, although he still might walk off with it. If you do what please God, and you abstain from those things that would displease God, I think biblically you are a righteous person. But you are not a good person, as sometimes you could do something silly that perfect beings do not do.
Psalm 14 uses distribution.
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
What this verse is saying is not that there is no one who is righteous; that would clearly violate literally hundreds of verses as well as much of the Psalms itself. It's saying paraphrasing, 'with reference to those who deny God, there is none righteous, there is none who doeth good.' Literallt in mathematical form, the words are making this sort of formula, (godless)(a+b+c+d...) It's a distribution and it's distributed to godless men. Of the godless, none are righteous, no, not one. 'But what about the children of men?" This is just another sort of language to refer to those men who were not born from above but were of fleshly concern and dedication. It is those who are born from above that Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about that righteousness belongs to.
Why was Jesus not good? Because Jesus failed in one point On the need for the Crucifixion, His will did not conform to His Father's perfect will. Nonetheless, it is not false to call Him perfect and indeed His 'H' is capitalized.
Good supersedes righteousness since we see the righteous sometimes make mistakes. Good would be an absence of mistakes. The third step is unabashed sinfulness, wrongdoing with intent. If a righteous man made a mistake, it was without intent or a serious momentary lapse, but something he admits to and moves on and corrects. In short, he repents when he does wrong, and he moves on committed to doing it right if he comes to it again .Righteous does not any way mean close to perfect. To say that there is none righteous makes God a devil and incompetent in His profession since He threatens us with hell for disobeying.
I don't recall the quote but Bastiat described work as effort and that it's uncomfortable, but it pays. And then he likely talked about socialism, legal plunder, and redistributionary schemes, or how the lazy avoid work. One thing this false teaching on righteousness does is become a convenient excuse to not apply effort. You don't have to do what God asks or study the Bible, all you have to do is put a smile, be happy and spread good cheer. Just pretend your Santa Claus and Christ will say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!" Whiners talk about doing their best when they're putting forth half the effort. They talk about how things aren't fair. Christians are whiners. They make excuses for themselves, attack God's commandments, and distort biblical teachings for their self-serving, arrogant, smug, know-it-all worthless selves. They had 2000 years to explain this and failed to do it. I spent less than fifteen minutes Tuesday night and had time to eat dinner too.