"For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”What is righteousness?
"The Father through the Son and in the Spirit gives the gift of righteousness (justice) to repentant sinners for salvation; such believing sinners are declared righteous (just) by the Father through the Son, are made righteous (just) by the Holy Spirit working in them, and will be wholly righteous (just) in the age to come." (biblestudytools.com)OK, so I am declared righteous at salvation, but then I am called to live out righteousness by faith. What exactly does that mean?
A few days ago, I came across a passage in Ezekiel 14 where God is talking to the prophet and not once, but 4 times (verses 14,16,18 and 20), He mentions Noah, Daniel and Job and their righteousness! I began to think about the lives of these three men and what made them righteous in God's eyes. A common thread among all three was their belief (faith) and obedience despite extreme obstacles.
Then, as I continued reading George Muller's autobiography, I came to a chapter entitled Food for Growing Faith. Muller stated that when a trial came into his life, he would pray that God would uphold and increase his faith. He did this with every trial, no matter how small or big. He went on to say that if we stand firm in the hour of trial, we will see the help of God IF we trust in Him. But then came an extremely powerful point. The more I am tried in faith, the more I will have the opportunity of seeing God's help and deliverance. However, I must let God do the work of deliverance! If we get ourselves out of a situation, we show that we do not trust God. And then, in the next trial, we will be inclined to deliver ourselves again. With every trial met this way, our faith decreases!
Let me end with one more passage from Hebrews 12:11 which I hope will put it all together:
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."