In this post we consider the covenantal connotations with righteousness in the scriptures. God as King makes covenants with his people. Covenants involve members, promises, commands, inheritance, blessings and curses. Covenants describe the relationships between God and his people.
This is the fifth of a series of posts on the concept of righteousness and justification in the scriptures. I’ve listed most (if not all) references to right, righteous, righteousness and just, justified and justification in the scriptures to do my own study on what the scriptures say about the concept.
Click on this link to go to the first post which has a summary and links to all.
Kingdom of God
- Kingdom of God
- God’s obligations
- Covenant Promises
- Covenant Blessings
- Covenant Curses
- Pestilence, disease and drought (Dt 28.20-24)
- Boils and tumors (Dt 28.27-29)
- Increased crime, family and property plundered (Dt 28.29-35)
- Locusts (Dt 28.38-40)
- Famine and Starvation (Dt 28.54-57)
- Defeated by enemies (Dt 28.25-26; 2 Chr 12.1-6)
- Foreign rule (Dt 28.36-37)
- War, Exile and Captivity (Dt 28.41-44; Neh 9.32-36; Dan 9.3-24,7,14,16)
- Forgiveness of transgression (Ps 85.1-13; 103.2-6,8-11,17-18; 143.1-2,8,11-12; cf. Ps 32.1-2,5,10-11)
- Salvation and deliverance (Ps 31.1-2,16,21; 36.5-6,10; 51.1,14; 71.2,15-19,24; 85.7-13; 98.1-3; Zec 9.9-13)
- Associations with Steadfast Love and Faithfulness (Ps 36.10; 48.9-10; 98.2-3; Isa 11.5; 16.5)
- God’s covenant faithfulness (Rom 1.16-17; 3.3-6; 21-22, 25-26; 10.1-4)
- People’s Obligations
- Other Covenantal Connotations
Kings make covenants (Ps 89.14,24-29,34; 2 Sam 7.16)
In the Old Testament God as King rescued and delivered Israel from slavery and then made a covenant with them. In doing this he formed a bond of kinship (Father-Son) so they could be his people. Kings make covenants with the people they rule over.
We see the covenantal themes with the words ‘covenant’, ‘steadfast love’ and ‘faithfulness’.
God has made covenants with Noah (Gen 6.18; 9.8), Abraham (Gen 12.1-3; 15.18; 17.4), Moses (Ex 19.5; 24.7) and David (2 Sam 7.8f; cf. Ps 89.3). In the Old Testament he promised a new covenant (Jer 31.31-34) which has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Mt 26.28; Lk 1.72; 2 Cor 3.6; Heb 7.22f).
Covenants are made between two or more parties. Covenants establish relationships between those parties and define various obligations each party is to abide by.
The covenants God makes in scripture have members, promises, commands, blessings and curses.
God as king has made various covenants with people. These covenants establish Father-Son, King-People relationships which we see particularly describing the relationship between God and Israel.
God makes various promises in these covenants. God is faithful to his promises and fulfills them. God’s people, those in covenant with him, are obligated to trust God and keep his commands. Based on whether God’s people keep the commands or not, God is obligated under covenant to bless or curse his people accordingly.
In these cases, when either party fulfills their covenant obligations they can be described as righteous, their behaviour as righteousness.
In this post I will walk you through various covenant obligations in scripture and then show with some of them how they are described as righteousness.
God made promises. According to the covenant agreement God obligated himself to fulfill these promises.
Promised Land (Gen 12.1,7; 13.15; 17.18; 1 Sam 12.6-8; Neh 9.6-8)
12 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” … 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. (Gen 12.1-3,7)
6 And Samuel said to the people, “The LORD is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. 7 Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the RIGHTEOUS deeds of the LORD that he performed for you and for your fathers. 8 When Jacob went into Egypt, and the Egyptians oppressed them, then your fathers cried out to the LORD and the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. (1 Sam 12.6-8; cf. Ex 2.24-25)
6 “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; hand you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. 7 You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are RIGHTEOUS. (Neh 9.6-8)
Offspring (Gen 12.2,7; 15.5; 17.4-7)
Blessing to all nations (Gen 12.3)
12 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. (Gen 12.1-7)
15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Gen 15.1-6)
Eternal kingdom (2 Sam 7.11-17; Jer 33.14-22)
Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. (2 Sam 7.11-17)
14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the PROMISE I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a RIGHTEOUS Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and RIGHTEOUSNESS in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our RIGHTEOUSNESS.’
17 “For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”
19 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 20 “Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my COVENANT with the Levitical priests my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.” 14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the PROMISE I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a RIGHTEOUS Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and RIGHTEOUSNESS in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our RIGHTEOUSNESS.’
17 “For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”
19 The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 20 “Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my COVENANT with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my COVENANT with the Levitical priests my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.” (Jer 33.14-22)
28 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. (Dt 28.1-2)
Population Growth (Dt 28.4)
Victory over enemies (Dt 28.7,10)
Prosperity (Dt 28.8,11-12)
Financial security (Dt 28.12)
15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. (Dt 28.15)
Pestilence, disease and drought (Dt 28.20-24)
Boils and tumors (Dt 28.27-29)
Increased crime, family and property plundered (Dt 28.29-35)
Locusts (Dt 28.38-40)
Famine and Starvation (Dt 28.54-57)
Defeated by enemies (Dt 28.25-26; 2 Chr 12.1-6)
12 When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him. 2 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3 with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people were without number who came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. 4 And he took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. 5 Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’ ” 6 Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is RIGHTEOUS.” (2 Chr 12.1-6)
Foreign rule (Dt 28.36-37)
War, Exile and Captivity (Dt 28.41-44; Neh 9.32-36; Dan 9.3-24,7,14,16)
32 “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day. 33 Yet you have been RIGHTEOUS in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly. 34 Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. 35 Even in their own kingdom, and amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land that you set before them, they did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. 36 Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and it’s good gifts, behold, we are slaves. (Neh 9.32-36)
Forgiveness of transgression (Ps 85.1-13; 103.2-6,8-11,17-18; 143.1-2,8,11-12; cf. Ps 32.1-2,5,10-11)
Forgiveness of transgression (Lev 1-4) is associated with God’s steadfast love in a number of passages.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works RIGHTEOUSNESS and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Ps 103.2-8)
1 Lord, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah
3 You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. 4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us!
5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. 8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. 10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; RIGHTEOUSNESS and peace kiss each other. 11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and RIGHTEOUSNESS looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 13 RIGHTEOUSNESS will go before him and make his footsteps a way. (Ps 85.1-13)
Salvation and deliverance (Ps 31.1-2,16,21; 36.5-6,10; 51.1,14; 71.2,15-19,24; 85.7-13; 98.1-3; Zec 9.9-13)
God rescuing Israel from Egypt (1 Sam 12.6-8)
23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. (Ex 2.23-24)
6 And Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. 7 Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the RIGHTEOUS deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your fathers. 8 When Jacob went into Egypt, and the Egyptians oppressed them, then your fathers cried out to the Lord and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. (1 Sam 12.6-8)
Promising future deliverance (Isa 42.6-9; 45.11-13; 59.15-21; Jer 33.14-22; Hos 2.14-23,19; Zec 8.7-8)
121 I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me.
123 My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your RIGHTEOUS promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your STEADFAST LOVE, and teach me your statutes. (Ps 119.121-124)
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; RIGHTEOUS and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. …
11 As for you also, because of the blood of my COVENANT with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. (Zec 9:9,11-12)
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69 and has raised up a horn of SALVATION for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be SAVED from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy PROMISED to our fathers and to remember his holy COVENANT, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and RIGHTEOUSNESS before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of SALVATION to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Lk 1:67–79)
Associations with Steadfast Love and Faithfulness (Ps 36.10; 48.9-10; 98.2-3; Isa 11.5; 16.5)
5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your RIGHTEOUSNESS is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; pin your light do we see light.
10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your RIGHTEOUSNESS to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, tunable to rise. (Ps 36.5-12)
God’s work and deeds (Ps 33.4-5,18,22; 71.15-17,19,22-24; 111.2-9)
2 Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. 3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his RIGHTEOUSNESS endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. 5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his COVENANT forever. 6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 8 they are established forever and ever, to be performed with FAITHFULNESS and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his COVENANT forever. Holy and awesome is his name! (Ps 111.2-9)
God’s covenant faithfulness (Rom 1.16-17; 3.3-6; 21-22, 25-26; 10.1-4)
When God saves a group of people, he is primarily being faithful to his covenant promises. We see this in Romans especially.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Rom 1.16-17)
3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,
“That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”
5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? (Rom 3.3-6)
21 But now the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. … This was to show God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his RIGHTEOUSNESS at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3.21-22,25-26)
10 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for RIGHTEOUSNESS to everyone who believes. (Rom 10.1-4)
Belief in covenant promises (Gen 15.5-6,17-18; Rom 4; Gal 3.6)
According to the covenant, Abraham, his offspring and Israel were required to fulfill their own obligations (promises). Initially the only obligation required of Abraham was to believe God would fulfill his promises.
5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS. …
18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” (Gen 15.5-6, 18-21)
Abraham’s believing was counted as ‘righteousness’. The text associates ‘righteousness’ with the covenant.
Keeping the Covenant (Dt 6.20-25; Ps 106.28-31; cf. Nu 25.10-13)
In Deuteronomy, Moses refers to covenant righteousness as well.
5 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. 2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. (Dt 5.1-3) …
20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be RIGHTEOUSNESS for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’ (Dt 6:20–25)
14 “But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, 15 if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant. (Lev 26.14-15)
But with the later development of the Jewish law, the notion of what covenant righteousness looked like for Abraham’s offspring changed. Israel was given a number of commands, statutes and rules to live by at Horeb. These were part of their covenant agreement (Dt 5.2-3). Ongoing practice of these commands was from regarded by the Hebrews as ‘righteousness’. Disobedience broke the covenant.
One other notable reference to covenant righteousness is mentioned in the Psalms.
28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead; 29 they provoked the LORD to anger with their deeds, and a plague broke out among them.
30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed. 31 And that was counted to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS from generation to generation forever. (Ps 106.28-31)
10 And the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 12 Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13 and it shall be to him and to this descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.’ ” (Nu 25.10-13)
Once again Phinehas’ example demonstrates ‘righteousness’ is closely associated with covenant.
Other Covenantal Connotations
These we have seen from an earlier post.
The righteous inherit the promised land (Ps 37.29; 125.3; Isa 60.20-21 cf. Gen 12.3)
1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the RIGHTEOUS, lest the RIGHTEOUS stretch out their hands to do wrong. (Ps 125.1-3)
The righteous inherit the kingdom (Mt 13.36-43)
36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the RIGHTEOUS will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Mt 13.36-43)
The righteous receive the promises (Heb 10.35-39)
35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,
“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my the RIGHTEOUS one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” (Heb 10.35-38)
The author of Hebrews applies this covenant blessing to those who existed before the Mosaic covenant.
We can see this in Heb 11. Abel (Heb 11.4) ‘commended as righteous’, Enoch (Heb 11.5), Noah (Heb 11.7) the ‘heir of righteousness’ (cf. 2 Pet 2.5), Abraham and Sarah (Heb 11.8-12) are mentioned.
‘These all’, referring to the above, ‘died in faith, not having received the things promised’ (Heb 11.13). The promises of course are part of the God’s covenant. So in this passage we see the covenant covenantal associated with faith and righteousness. Most of these existed before the Abrahamic covenant.
Abraham and Sarah (Heb 11.17-19) are again mentioned and so is Moses (Heb 11.23-28). Again the author of Hebrews says;
39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. (Heb 11.39-40)
My point here is that the righteous receive covenant blessings and promises. Even those who existed before the covenant was made.
Covenant ministry of righteousness (2 Cor 3.4-11; 5.21)
I’ve posted on Paul’s covenant ministry. Paul associates it with righteousness in two linked passages.
4 Such is the confidence that we [apostles] have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we [apostles] are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us [apostles], but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us [apostles] sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of RIGHTEOUSNESS must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. (2 Cor 3.4-11)
20 Therefore, we [apostles] are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us [apostles]. We [apostles] implore you [Corinthians] on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we [apostles] might become the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God.
6 Working together with him, then, we [apostles] appeal to you [Corinthians] not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Cor 5.20-6.1)
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