Righteous means acting in accord with divine or moral law, free from guilt or sin, or morally right or justifiable. Righteousness is a trait or attribute that designates one who is blameless and able to stand in God’s presence. The righteous are contrasted with the wicked who have very different outcomes.
Righteous vs. Wicked
A righteous person is considered godly and a wicked person is ungodly. A righteous person is blessed and a wicked person is punished. A righteous person is forgiven for his sins. A wicked person will be judged, condemned and will perish. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1:1-6
Who is righteous?
No one is inherently righteous. No one can make themselves righteous. My sins have separated me from God and they prevent me from having any association with him. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. Psalm 143:2
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12
Hope for the penitent
God is a merciful god and he will blot out my transgressions according to his lovingkindness. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Psalm 51:1-4
Search me, O God, and know my heart:Try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
Almighty God, you alone are righteous. I confess my sins and ask you to cleanse me from my sins according to your great mercy. Make me righteous so that I can approach you in faith. Amen.