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More on Righteousness
by Raymond C. Treat

When we exercise faith, repent and make a covenant with God by coming unto Jesus Christ, God calls us righteous (see Zarahemla Record #67). As part of the covenant-making process, we give God our outer garment, which is called filthy rags, and God puts his robe on us, which is called the robe of righteousness. This means our righteousness is by faith and is not something we have to earn (1 Nephi 3:117-118 [12: 10-11]; Alma 16:236 [34:36]; Romans 3:22). It is truly a blessing to finally realize the real definition of righteousness-God's definition.

Assuming that we have made a covenant by coming unto Christ and that we have continued in the covenant relationship through obedience and keeping the commandments, we have retained our righteous state in God's eyes. We are now in a position to look at the attributes of the righteous and realize that these attributes apply to us also. No longer can Satan continue to rob us of our inheritance by hiding the covenant relationship and God's definition of righteousness from us.

The following attributes of the righteous are taken from the Book of Mormon. Ponder them carefully. It is a great blessing to consider such a list. This list is made up of quotes and summaries. Turn to the references for exact wording and context.

The Righteous
are the saints       IN 3:230-231 [14:14]
are the saints of the Holy One of Israel       2N 6:42 [9:18]
are the covenant people of the Lord       IN 3:230-231 [14:14]; Mos 3:7 [5:6]
are those whose garments are made white in the blood of the Lamb of God because of their faith       IN 3:117-118 [12:10-11]; Alma 16:236 [34:36]
humble themselves before the Lord       IN 5:5 [16:5]
fear the name of the Lord       3N 11:19-23 [24:16-25:2]
have the power of God      IN 3:230-231 [14:14]
have believed in the Holy One of Israel      2N 6:42 [9:18]
are willing to hearken to the truth      IN 5:3 [16:3]
are willing to give heed to the truth      IN 5:3 [16:3]
fear not the words of truth       2N 6:78 [9:40]
love the truth      2N 6:78 [9:40]
hearken unto the words of the prophets and destroy them not       2N 11:72 [26:8]
look forward unto Christ with steadfastness       2N 11:72 [26:8]
are baptized by water       2N 13:7 [31:5]
walk uprightly before God       IN 5:3 [16:3]
walk in the paths of righteousness       IN 5:5 [16:5] Alma 5:33 [7:19]
walk in the ways of the Lord       Alma l4:74 [25:14]
serve God      3N 11:21 [24:18]
remember that the paths of the Lord are righteousness       2N 6:79-80 [9:41]
follow after righteousness       2N 5:70 [8:1]
keep the commandments of the Lord       2N 1:34 [1:19-20]
have faith, hope and charity       Eth 5:29 [12:28]
abhor sin delight in righteousness     2N 6:98 [9:49]
delight in righteousness       2N 6:98 [9:49]
are they who have endured the crosses of the world and despised the shame of it       2N 6:42 [9:18]
are they whose joy shall be full forever       2N 6:42 [9:18]
are born again       Mos 11:187-188 [27:25-26]
are born of God are changed from their carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness       Mos 11:188 [27:25]
are redeemed       Mos 11:188 [27:25]
are justified       1N 5:2 [16:2]
are sons and daughters of God are new creatures       Mos 11:188 [27:25]
bring forth good fruit       Alma 3:60 [5:36]
are blessed       Alma 3:32 [5:16]; Mn 3:22 [6:21]
bring forth works of righteousness       Alma 3:32,59 [5:16,35]
shall reap the salvation of their souls       Alma 7:43 [9:28]
receive healing      3N 11:23 [25:2]
will have their prayers remembered by the Lord       Mn 2:50 [5:21]
do not murmur       IN 5:3 [16:3]
are not shaken       2N 6:78 [9:40]
do not take bribes       Alma 8:70-72 [11:22]
are spared       Omni 1:9 [1:7]; Alma 10:2 [13:10]
need not fear       1N 7:37, 48 [22:18,22]; 3N 10:22 [22:14]
are far from oppression       3N 10:22 [22:14]
are far from terror       3N 10:22 [22:14]
put on the armor of righteousness       2N 1:38 [1:23]
have more power than Satan       1N 7:60, 62 [22:26]
no weapon formed against them shall prosper       3N 10:25 [22:17]
are not under the power of Satan       Eth 3:102 [8:26]
shall not be destroyed       1N 7:35 [22:16]
shall not perish      2N 11:72 [26:8]
are divided from the wicked       1N 4:48, 62 [15:30, 36]
are suffered by the Lord to be slain that judgment may come upon the wicked       Alma 27:29 [60:13]
are not lost because they are slain but they enter into the rest of the Lord their God       Alma 27:29 [60:13]
are favored of God       IN 5:122 [17:35]
it is well with them       2N 8:48 [13:10]
shall eat the fruit of their doings       2N 8:48 [13:10]
are happy       2N 1:90 [2:13]
know righteousness       2N 5:82 [8:7]
prosper       2 N 1:34 [1:20]
shall have all these things added unto them       3N 6:11 [13:33]
will be preserved       1N 7:36 [22:17]
are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world       2N 6:42 [9:18]; Mos 11:188 [27:25-261; Alma 5:33 [7:19]
shall sit down in his kingdom to go no more out       Alma 16:236 [34:36]
shall shine forth in the kingdom of God       Alma 19:59 [40:25]
are led away into precious lands      1N 5:129 [17:38]
will be blessed in the land of promise forever       2N 1:6,15 [1:5, 7]
shall have an inheritance at the right hand of the Lord       Alma 3:100 [5:58]
shall have their names written in the book of life       Alma 3:100 [5:58]
are received into a state of happiness which is called paradise       2N 6:31 [9:13] Alma 19:44,47 [40:12,14]
wear the robe of righteousness       2N 3:56 [4:33]; 6:35 [9:14]
receive their righteousness from the       Lord 3N 10:25 [22:17]
are clothed with purity       2N 6:35 [9:14]
are the people in whose heart I have written my law       2N 5:82 [8:7]
have the Lord dwelling in their heart Alma       16:235 [34:36]
shall be filled with the Holy Ghost       3N 5:53 [12:6]

Go over this list slowly, several times, keeping in mind that these attributes apply to you. This is not a complete list, so you may want to review all the references in your concordance referring to righteousness.

We see in the first attribute that the righteous are the saints. It is interesting that we all call ourselves saints but don't consider ourselves righteous. This is, of course, because our definition of righteousness has been wrong. Understanding our covenant gives us the correct definition of righteousness. Our increasing clarity of understanding about the covenant relationship goes hand-in-hand with the growing revelation of the Hebrew nature of the Book of Mormon. When we realize that an estimated 90 percent of all we know about the Hebrew nature of the Book of Mormon is about 10 years old or less, and that our awareness of the importance of the covenant relationship is about five years old or less, then it is easy to see that the Lord is indeed saving the best until last. The next time you talk to friends who are Book of Mormon believers, ask them if they are saints. If they say yes, ask them if they are righteous. If they say no, you can quote First Nephi 3:230-231 [14:14] and Second Nephi 6:42 [9:18] and tell them that if they are saints, they are righteous. If they do not believe or understand what you are saying, you can suggest a study of what the word of God says about these subjects. We now know that the covenant relationship is the most important subject of all scripture and we see from First Nephi 3:230 [14:14] that saints are the covenant people of the Lord. Conversely, if we do not have a covenant, we must not be saints.

We all have to deal with fear. We are told in Third Nephi 11:22-23 [25:1-2] that if we are righteous, we will fear the name of the Lord. If you will study the topic of the fear of the Lord, which refers to awe and reverence, you will find that it is a synonym for those who have a covenant (Psalm 25:14). We are also told in First Nephi 7:37,48 [22:17,22] and Third Nephi 10:22 [22:14] that we need not fear. Therefore, if we are righteous, that is, if we have a covenant and have the fear (reverence) of the Lord, we will be able to overcome all of the fear to which the world (those without a covenant) is subject. Fear is Satan's perversion of the faith of Christ. If we are exercising faith in every area of our lives, which is part of the covenant lifestyle, fear cannot enter. If the words that come out of our mouth are in harmony with the word of God, Satan cannot have entrance. The word of God tells us that the darts that Satan hurls at us are aimed at our tongue (James, chapter 3). Notice that no weapon formed against us shall prosper if we are living the righteous covenant lifestyle 3 Nephi 10:25 [22:17]). Fear is indeed a weapon of Satan in an attempt to keep us from acting in faith.

Notice the prosperous nature of the righteous (2 Nephi 1:34 [1:19]). This attribute is in stark contrast to the common belief that the more poor we are the more holy we are. Satan wants us poor to hinder us from spreading the word of God. The word of God says the Lord gives us power to get wealth to establish the covenant (Deuteronomy 8:18) and that if we have a hope in Christ, which is obviously a characteristic of the righteous, we will prosper in order to do good (Jacob 2:23-24 [2:18-19]).

Finally, a comment should be made about land. We are told in Second Nephi 1:6, 15 [1:5, 7] that the righteous will be blessed in the land of promise forever. One of the chief characteristics of the righteous (those with a covenant) is that they always receive an inheritance. We are looking forward to Zion. Zion is our inheritance, our land of promise. Therefore, if you are interested in an inheritance in Zion, you must be interested in the concept of righteousness according to God's definition.

We all need to go over this and other similar lists, spending enough time with them to allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten our spirits and correct any incorrect tradition we may have had about righteousness and related concepts. In the end it is the word of God which will stand-not our misconceptions. Go over this list until your definition of righteousness matches God's definition. Then you will be clothed with purity (2 Nephi 6:35 [9:14]) which we all recognize as a major prerequisite of Zion.

This article taken from the Zarahemla Record, issue 69 Sept/Oct 1993