The result of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quiet confidence forever. (Isaiah 32:17, Christian Standard Bible)
As I was growing up, a dear lady in our small church sometimes said, “If there wasn’t a heaven to gain or a hell to shun, I’d still live for the Lord.” From the perspective of youth, I wondered at that statement. After all, if I didn’t have to worry about hell, there would be no restrictions! I could do what I liked without fear of consequences. It sounded good to my immature mind. Of course, there is a heaven to gain, and our actions do have consequences, both here on earth and eternally. That is why we choose to live a righteous life before God.
Do What’s Right
What is righteousness? Theologians could give us a detailed answer, but perhaps the simplest way to express it is doing what is right in the eyes of God. God, whose very character is righteousness, sets the standard for right living. It is impossible to make ourselves righteous (Isaiah 64:6). Yet when the Lord took our sins to Calvary, it allowed us to come into a place of “right standing” with Him. He took the impossible and made it possible.
“He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21, CSB).
As a child, I thought having no rules and no consequences would be fun. As I matured in my thinking, I changed my opinion. Life would be miserable with no rules, no boundaries, and no consequences. God knew what He was doing when He required us to live righteously. He gave order to our lives and to our world. And that is a very blessed thing.
The Blessings of Right Living
Because of “right living” we are blessed in innumerable ways in this present life. We don’t have to wait for heaven to see the result of living a life that pleases God.
Scripture often contrasts righteousness with wickedness. We could search out more examples, but these show us that God blesses those who live in obedience to Him. He prospers us in ways the wicked will never experience nor understand.
- “For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin” (Psalm 1:6, CSB).
- “The righteous will never be shaken, but the wicked will not remain on the earth” (Proverbs 10:30, CSB).
- “The LORD’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous” (Proverbs 3:33, CSB).
One of the greatest benefits of right living is the peace it brings into our lives. Isaiah 32:17 tells us righteousness results in peace. We may not live trouble-free lives, but whatever our circumstance we can feel God’s peace calming our spirit and assuring us all will be well. In recent months our world has been chaotic. Yet, as a child of God, we have been blessed with an inner peace that calms our fears and gives us hope. That’s our wonderful God taking care of His children.
Aren’t you glad righteous living brings dividends here on earth as well as eternally?
Lord, I acknowledge that I cannot achieve righteousness on my own. Your Word says my righteousness looks like filthy rags. But Your sacrifice on Calvary paid the penalty for my sins and robed me in Your righteousness. You fill me with peace and offer eternal hope.