Analyzing the Chinese word Righteousness
The Chinese written language is very unique. The Chinese words are called, “Characters,” and use a visual, or pictograph, series of lines, called, “strokes,” that represent a word, or a thought, or an action.
In written Chinese, we have an example of the righteousness of God through His Son, the Lord Jesus, in the word, “righteousness.” In Chinese, the word righteousness is written as, 「義」 The Chinese word righteousness is composed of two major words; the word Lamb「羊」 on the top and the word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」on the bottom. The word Me 「我」or Us 「我們」is composed of two words: the hand 「手」 and a spear「戈」
Righteousness is very important. God is holy and will not allow sin into heaven. A person needs to be reconciled to God, or to become righteous, in the sight of God, in order to escape the punishment of hell and enter into everlasting life in heaven. Before a person is a Christian in the sight of God he is unrighteous. The Apostle Paul said, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10 Therefore, in order for a person to have eternal life in heaven, in the presence of God, he must be righteous. He must have his sins forgiven.
We will analyze the Chinese word for righteousness and look at an example of how we can become righteous by God’s principles. In order to understand righteousness in the sight of God, we must turn to the word of God; the Bible. The Bible is God’s word and we can trust it.
First 「羊」 A Lamb
A sinless sacrifice must be made to forgive sins. And, it must be according to what God says. The Bible says that the blood of animals cannot take away the sins of mankind. Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” The animal sacrifices of the world cannot take away a persons sins. This includes the Muslims in the Middle East, and the sacrifices of the Buddhist, Confucianists and Taoists of the East. Hebrews 10:4, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The sacrificial lambs that God required by the Jews under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament did not take away sins; they were an object lesson of the sacrificial sacrifice for sins by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. They were a guide, or a teacher, for the sacrifice of Christ. Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
The Lord Jesus was sinless and perfect. In contrasting the sacrifices of the Jews under the Levitical law, the Old Testament, and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as our priest and sacrifice for sins, the author of the book of Hebrews makes this statement. “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. … For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,and made higher than the heavens. Who needed not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for his he did once, when he offered up himself.” Hebrews 7:22, 26 & 27
The Lord Jesus was sinless and totally righteous. A Chinese proverb says,「義刑於色」Translated, that means, “Righteousness manifested in one's appearance.”
Wang Ming-Tao says, “Yes, our Lord is completely holy. You can not find anything that He did without any blemish or unrighteousness. When He was on the earth no matter if it was a disciple, or if it was an enemy, including anybody else that had anything to do with Him, they all gave a clear testimony that He did not have even a little bit of sin or unrighteousness. 王明道：「是、我們的主就是那樣完全聖潔。你不能在他的身上找出一點污穢不義來。他在世上行走的時候、無論是他的門徒、他的仇敵、以及與他毫無關係的人、都證明他沒有少許的罪惡不義。」i A free translation by the author.
The Lord Jesus was like a lamb sacrificed for us. John the Baptist said, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 The Lord Jesus died on the cross, like a harmless lamb, and shed His blood as a sacrifice.
As with the Jews in the Old Testament the eternal salvation of the soul is by the imputation of righteousness the moment a person, by faith, trusts in God. When a person realizes that he has sinned against God, and deserves to spend eternity in hell, and believes by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as his payment for sins, than God imputes, or gives, His righteousness to that individual. “For what saith the scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3
Second 「我」 Me, 「我們」or Us
Why did Jesus become a sacrifice? In order to redeem us. So we can obtain eternal salvation. To reconcile us to God. Before a person is saved he is a sinner and His relationship with God is severed . The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is the only way we can be reconciled with God. The Lord Jesus was sinless. He became sin for us while on the cross in order for us to become righteous.2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Third 「手」The Hand
God made us. He made our hands. We can use our hands for good or for evil. God gave us the ability, the will, to either serve Him or the Devil. The decision is ours. Matthew 27:1&2, “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontus Pilate the governor.”
Because of our sins, the hand of man apprehended the Lord Jesus Christ. The hand of man hit Jesus. The hand of man took a whip and whipped Jesus. The hand of man took a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other hand and nailed Jesus on the cross. The hand of man caused the blood of Jesus to be shed. The Lord Jesus allowed men to crucify Him so His blood could be shed for our sins.
The apostle Peter testified, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:23 We can either use our hands for good or for wickedness.
Fourth「戈」 A Spear
The hand of man took a spear and pierced the side of Jesus and more blood flowed from the body of Jesus. John 19:34 says, “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” Jesus died for us! The Lord Jesus became a sacrificial lamb to die for the penalty of our sins on the cross of Calvary.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We need to have a repentant heart and believe on the Lord Jesus as our Saviour!
The Lord Jesus was righteous in every aspect. When a person repents and trust in Jesus as their Saviour then God imputes the righteousness of Jesus to that person. The Lord Jesus becomes our righteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary we can have forgiveness of our sins, escape the punishment of hell, and obtain eternal life in heaven. The Lord Jesus left the glory of heaven, became a man, to die on the cross as a sacrificial lamb, to shed His blood, so we could be saved and the righteousness of God imputed to us. So we can be reconciled with God.
i Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 93. 王明道，王明道文庫，第二冊，小徑（臺灣斗六：浸宣出版社，1996），93頁。