Righteousness

—that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

— Philippians 3:8-9

To the man who has no faith in God, faith in God cannot look like righteousness; neither can he know that it is the germ of life, creative of all other righteousness. It is not like some single separate act of righteousness; it is the action of the whole man, turning to good from evil—turning his back on all that is opposed to righteousness, and starting on a road on which he cannot stop, in which he must go on growing more and more righteous, discovering more and more what righteousness is, and more and more what is unrighteous in himself. In the one act of believing in God—that is, of giving himself to do what he tells him—he abjures evil, both what he knows and what he does not yet know in himself. A man may indeed have turned to obey God, and yet be capable of many an injustice to his neighbor which he has not yet discovered to be an injustice; but as he goes on obeying, he will go on discovering.  Not only will he grow more and more determined to be just, but he will grow more and more sensitive to the idea of injustice—I do not mean in others, but in himself. A man who continues capable of a known injustice to his neighbor cannot be believed to have turned to God. At all events, a man cannot be near God, so as to be learning what is just toward God, and not be near his neighbor, so as to be learning what is unfair to him. If a man is to be blamed for not choosing righteousness, for not turning to the light, then the man who does choose and turn is to be justified in his deed, and declared to be righteous.