Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 22

What does righteousness mean?

2 Samuel 22:22-25

David explains more clearly here what he means by righteousness (goodness). Many people try to establish their own righteousness or goodness, without any reference to God. Such people think that righteousness means simply to do right and good acts, and to have right and good intentions. In other words, they try to make themselves good by what they do.

However, David insisted that a person’s righteousness or goodness depends completely upon that person’s relationship with God. God alone is completely and perfectly good. Therefore, a good person must live in the way that he approves of. The only right standard for our lives is the standard that God has given to us. That is why God gave us his law (for example, the ten commands in Exodus 20:1-17). Nobody can be truly good if that person neglects or refuses to obey God’s law (Romans 2:1-24).

Therefore, the worst problem in our lives is sin – in other words, our thoughts, words and deeds that are against God’s law. God is good and his law is good (Romans 7:12). Therefore, anything that we do against God’s law is wrong and evil.

All people are guilty of wrong and evil deeds (Romans 3:9-18). We all fail to achieve God’s standards of right and good behaviour (Romans 3:23). However, like David, we can turn from sin (Isaiah 1:18) – and like him, we can know that God forgives us (Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 4:1-8). Then we will know in our own lives the righteousness or goodness that comes from God (Psalm 130:3-4; Ezekiel 18:20-22; Romans 5:19 and 6:23).

Next part: God is the judge of all people (2 Samuel 22:26-27)


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