2 Samuel 22:21-25
“The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from guilt. And the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.”
According to my righteousness
I am struck by David’s boldness. How could a man, especially this man, stand before a nation, much less God, and claim he has perfectly kept God’s law? David the adulterer? David the murderer? How could he say his way was blameless? How could he claim that he was guiltless, innocent, or clean? As is says in the Proverbs, “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin’?”
“The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness,” he says in this Psalm, and I am tempted to laugh. I would consider him to be delusional at best, or heretical at worst if I didn’t look at the rest of the bible.
In the Psalms David reveals the reasoning behind his boldness. He says here in this text that God deals with him according to his righteousness, but in other Psalms he takes it a step further.
- Psalm 103:10-12; “[God] does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us;” Psalms 103:10-12.
- Psalm 32:1-2; “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
Blameless before him
David understood that his righteousness was not a result of his ability to maintain his own perfection. David trusted in God who justifies the ungodly.
- Romans 4:4-8; “To the one who does not work [toil and strive to make himself right before God] but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.'”
These words were not written for David’s sake alone, “but for ours also,” Paul continues in verse 24 of the same chapter. “[Righteousness] will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
We, like David, can confidently believe and confidently say that we are blameless. Not because we have kept the law or because we have abstained from immorality, but because Jesus Christ was killed for our trespasses and then raised from the dead for our justification: to declare us innocent.
- Colossians 1:20-22; “[Through Christ God reconciled] to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.”
- Ephesians 1:4-7; “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”
Like David, we can say with confidence that we’re blameless, and we can say with confidence we are guiltless.
- 1 Corinthians 1:8-9; “[God] will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We are blameless, we are guiltless, we are righteous.
- Romans 3:21-25; “The righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:21; “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
- Philippians 3:8-9; “Indeed, I count everything [all my self attained righteousness] as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”
Righteousness before God is not something that is earned, it is something that is given. It is not something that fluctuates, it is something that is sure and stable. It is not something that can be lost but something that is kept by God in Christ. We stand before Him, if we have faith in Jesus Christ, 100% pure, 100% clean, 100% righteous, 100% perfect. We can share in David’s boldness because we are persuaged that we share in David’s blessing.
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life;” Titus 3:3-7