I think I figured it out. God grades us on the number of good things we do. For example, yesterday I was kind to Karyn, freed a butterfly from a spider's web, petted a kitten and gave a dollar to a man who was homeless. Oh, and don't forget, I was nice to that rude waitperson at the expensive steak house (but he only got an 8% tip because he needed to know that behavior wasn't acceptable).
I feel really good about myself. Surely, God agrees. I am one righteous dude. I am special. It's me and God and the rest of you can just go to hell. God listens to me before He listens to anybody else. After all the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. So, I've been really good, and do lots of good things. God will listen to my prayer first.
What I think I'm gonna do is rent myself out to the Indianapolis Colts so that I can pray for them to win. Why not put God's favor to my financial advantage? I'll just ask for a tithe of the amount of money that they earn for winning the Super Bowl. But don't worry, I'll tithe the money I earn for praying for them. After all, I don't want to get out of favor with God.
Then I got to thinking.... If that's the way God decides who is righteous, what is the cutoff score? What if God's rule is that I have to do 5 good things a day for 20 years in a row and I only did 4? I would have to catch up by doing one good thing a day for the subsequent 10 years. So, that means if I do 36,500 good things, I'm in. It's just God and me. But, what if my math is off and I figured out that 36,500 good deeds that was needed was wrong? What if I forgot about that one day where I was really, really sick and I only did 4 good things that day? I missed God's favor by one good deed! What am I gonna do?
Well, if the Colts don't win the Super Bowl, I'm gonna be sued for breech of contract.
You think I'm being sarcastic, don't you? Well, I hear Christians talk like this all the time. "I was stranded by the road and God sent a passerby who helped me. God is sooooo good!" What about the person who was stranded beside the road and was raped by a passerby? Is God sooooo good then? Maybe the rape survivor didn't do as many good things as the other person. So, we look askance at people when bad things happen to them and say to ourselves, "I wonder what they did to fall out of favor with God."
I just wonder if all this God is good. God loves me. God made the sun shine for me. Talk. Is appropriate for Christians.
By talking in such a manner, I wonder if we are turning people off to God.
The God's honest truth is that God doesn't grade, even on the curve. None is righteous, no not one.
So, what is the answer?
You can have two attitudes:
God, I thank You that I am not like other people
God, be merciful to me, the sinner!
Which prayer do you think God listens to?
Jesus said, "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
So, getting back to the original question, "How do you know when you are righteous?"
I don't think you know when you are righteous.
But, I think this is true, "If you think you are righteous, you probably ain't."
When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
BE A MAN.