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What Made Abraham Righteous?

The English word "righteous" originated from an old Anglo-Saxon word, rihtwis, which meant right wise. The purpose of the word was to emphasize the distinction between good wisdom and bad wisdom, which in turn produces good or bad behavior.

The Hebrew word of the Holy Scriptures that is translated as "righteous" is pronounced tsawd-deek. It means lawful, or clean - again, referring to right wisdom.

"3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (James 3:13-17 KJV)

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed"

Abraham is well-known as one of the most "righteous" people of Bible History. Why? Because Abraham had right wisdom, that produced right behavior.

The first mention of Abraham's righteousness involved his believing the LORD.

The Holy Scriptures

"15:1 After these things the word of the LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 15:2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15:1-6 KJV)

But believing is just the necessary first part of doing (see the Fact Finder question below). When the LORD told Abraham to leave the country where he was born and journey to a new land, Abraham obeyed and did it.

"12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." (Genesis 12:1-4 KJV)

When the LORD tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham obeyed and did it (the LORD stopped him at the last moment).

"22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. 22:3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." (Genesis 22:1-3 KJV)

"22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham:

And he said, Here am I.

22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." (Genesis 22:10-12 KJV)

Abraham's entire life after the LORD called him was actually obeying the LORD's Word. That is what made Abraham's faith truly righteous.

"11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is being a "believer" enough for salvation?
See What Believers Will Be In The Lake Of Fire?


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