God is a God of relationship.
 
In Genesis 1:26, while preparing to create Man, God said “let Us make Man in Our image.”
 
Just as His thoughts are higher than your thoughts and His ways higher than your ways, relationship with God is far more excellent than relationship with your fellow Man.
 
He desires to commune with you throughout your days, to enjoy continual conversation with Him so that He can counsel, lead, guide, and help you through your days.
 
Because He knows your thoughts before you think them and your actions before you do them, He wants you to bring every negative emotion to Him.
 
Those who don’t know the nature and character of God assume they can only bring “holy” thoughts to God. They also think that they must be alone to pray or to worship God. Both these assumptions are opposite of God’s desire.
 
If you try to limit your thoughts and emotions to those rare times when you feel “holy,” you won’t spend any time at all with God!
 
God, Who names Himself your Father, wants relationship with a human, not an actor.
 
Better said, He wants relationship with His beloved child, not someone pretending to be someone other than His child.
 
He wants relationship with you as His child, not with you as His mechanical robot.
 
He wants you to come near to Him as His child, His vulnerable, transparent child.
 
He desires that you draw near in honesty of emotion. As you spend time reading the verses offered later on in this section, especially in the Book of Psalms in the Bible, you will find that psalmists expressed every negative emotion — hatred, anger, bitterness, resentment, self-pity, judgment, feelings of unjust treatment, fear that God was not noticing the writer’s pitiful circumstances.
 
In fact, many of these negative emotions are expressed in the same psalm, often one line away from worship!
 
 
 
One line in Psalms says that God’s “eyelids test the hearts of men.” Because we only see eyelids when eyes are closed, this psalmist was saying that when men think that God’s eyes are closed, they are tested as to whether they will continue trusting God.
 
In one psalm, David asks God to attack his enemies and “break their teeth in their mouths.” He begs God to make his enemies’ wives childless.
 
In another, David questions why his soul feels so alone and despondent.
 
If David had thought he needed to be holy in order to have relationship with God, 98% of the psalms would not have been written down for others to witness.
 
In all reality, since the Bible says that our human righteousness is like filthy rags, 100% of the human David’s psalms, would never have been recorded in the Bible.
 
Ecclesiastes 7:20
    20 Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth who does good and never sins.

 
In Romans, however, we learn:
 
Romans 4:4-6
    4 Now to a laborer, his wages are not counted as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation (something owed to him).
    5 But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God).
    6 Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does:
 

God called David “a man after God’s own heart.” You can take comfort in the fact that God looks at your heart and your intentions and relates to you based on what you desire to do [with God’s help] rather than what you actually accomplish.
 
He has established this Father-child relationship to be as natural to you as breathing. You were designed to realize the Presence of God in every aspect of your day. You were created for relating to Him as your Father.
 
You were ordained for a relationship with God as your Father so intimate that you could just as readily express your frustrations, impatience, anger, sorrow as you do your desires and hopes.
 
 

God spoke and created all things.
 
Psalm 33:6
    6 By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all their host by the breath of His mouth.
 
Psalm 33:9
    9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
 
2 Peter 3:5
    5 For they willfully overlook and forget this [fact], that the heavens [came into] existence long ago by the word of God, and the earth also which was formed out of water and by means of water,
 
Hebrews 11:3
    3 By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
 

 
From the first verse in the Bible on, God established what He wanted to establish, and the Bible affirms “and so it was.”
 
For all His own reasons and purposes, and in absolute, perfect wisdom, God established.
 
In this same absolute determination, God chose to create Man for relationship with Himself.
 
God did not establish Man in a slave relationship, though a Master-slave relationship would have been fitting since God is King of all Kings, General of the Host of Heaven, Creator of All Things, The Eternal I AM, The Beginning, and The End.
 
Instead, God generously established Man in relationship to Himself in the most esteemed position of son. [Women are honored with the position of son as well as men.]
 
Beginning with the first Man, Adam, and the first Woman, Eve, God named Himself Father.
 
Simultaneous with establishing Himself as Father, God established a continual, Heart-to-heart, moment-to-moment relationship designed for mutual enjoyment.
 
From the moment that He breathed Life into Man, Father God intended that Adam and Eve would relate with Him as easily as they breathed the pure air of the Garden in which He had placed them.
 
In other words, relating moment-to-moment with their Father was to be as natural to them as breathing moment-to-moment.
 
Then, Man sinned and everything changed in every relationship. Spend a moment thinking about what changed in the context of relationship as you read these verses:
 
Genesis 3:6-12
    6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate.
    7 Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apronlike girdles.
    8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
    9 But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you?
    10 He said, I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.
    11 And He said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?
    12 And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me [fruit] from the tree, and I ate.
 

Not only did Man change in his relationship with his wife and with his Father God, how he felt about himself in the context of the relationship changed.
 
After all, before sin there was no doubt, no hesitation, no calculation, no wasting of time wondering how the other Person would react.
 
Tragically, from the first sin to today, satan has bound Mankind with so much shame and feelings of unworthiness that we’ve been deceived into thinking God could never love people as awful as us.
 
That shame leads us to wrongly believe we have no hope of righteousness, either.
 
God has extended the invitation back into relationship, but shame has kept us from accepting His invitation.
 
We’ve been tricked into thinking we have to “earn” God’s love. Worse, we tie righteousness together with performance.
 
Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, we reason that we could never “perform” well enough to achieve His righteousness.
 
Taking the thought one step further, we reason that if we cannot achieve His righteousness we have no hope of receiving His love.
 
Many of us give up before we even start to try.
 
 
 
What does relationship have to do with righteousness? Everything.
 
The dictionary proves that righteousness cannot be achieved without relationship:
 
“1. characterized by uprightness or morality: a righteous observance of the law.
 
2. morally right or justifiable: righteous indignation.
 
3. acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous: a righteous and godly person.”
 
 

Read the Ten Commandments, which are found in the Old Testament of the Bible, in the context of relationship:
 
Exodus 20:3-21
    3 You shall have no other gods before or besides Me.
    4 You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
    5 You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me,
    6 But showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
    7 You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
    8 [Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God).
    9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
    10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your domestic animals, or the sojourner within your gates.
    11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart for His purposes].
    12 Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you.
    13 You shall not commit murder.
    14 You shall not commit adultery.
    15 You shall not steal.
    16 You shall not witness falsely against your neighbor.
    17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
    18 Now all the people perceived the thunderings and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet and the smoking mountain, and as [they] looked they trembled with fear and fell back and stood afar off.
    19 And they said to Moses, You speak to us and we will listen, but let not God speak to us, lest we die.
    20 And Moses said to the people, Fear not; for God has come to prove you, so that the [reverential] fear of Him may be before you, that you may not sin.
    21 And the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
 

Almost everyone, when they first hear this passage, hears the “do not” in every verse.
 
Further, they “hear” the word “command” in the phrase “The Ten Commandments.”
 
When they hear these words, they respond just like most little children do when their parents tell them not to do something.
 
Whether or not they say the words aloud, children reason, “My father doesn’t want me to have any fun.” “My mother is so mean. She gives me all these commands because she doesn’t want me to  play.”
 
Yet, when you tell your child not to play in the street, are you doing so because you don’t want your child to have any fun?
 
When you tell your child not to play with fire, are you as mean as your children think?
 
Certainly, you use the word “not,” but does your use of the word “not” show meanness, or love?
 
One writer authored an English-language book suggesting that the Ten Commandments are more properly called the Tender Commandments [changing the word “Ten” to “Tender”] to highlight the Truth that God’s commandments are given from a Fatherly heart of wisdom, counsel, instruction, and nurture.
 
 
 
While the Old Testament of the Bible sets forth hundreds of laws designed to help the people relate better with God and with one another, in the New Testament Jesus ties together relationship with righteousness with these two concepts.
 
Luke 10:27
    27 And he replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
 
Matthew 22:35-40
    35 And one of their number, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him.
    36 Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?]
    37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).
    38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.
    39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.
    40 These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.
 
Mark 12:30-31
    30 And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment.
    31 The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
 

In Romans, Paul writes:
 
Romans 13:7-10
    7 Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due.
    8 Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements].
    9 The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire), and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.
    10 Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law.
 

If Man loves God and loves his neighbor ― pursues relationship with both ― God will enable Him to walk in righteousness. Man cannot be righteous without God’s righteousness.
 
The entire Bible is our instruction manual from Father God on how to be righteous as He is righteous.



God is not only righteous, the Bible describes Him as pure, holy, perfect, and just. The following passages referring to His righteousness provide the foundation of these truths.
 
First, God Himself speaks:
 
Isaiah 32:15-17
    15Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is valued as a forest.
    16Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) will abide in the fruitful field.
    17And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.
 
Isaiah 42:1-9
     1Behold, My Servant, Whom I uphold, My elect in Whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice and right and reveal truth to the nations.
    2He will not cry or shout aloud or cause His voice to be heard in the street.
    3A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will bring forth justice in truth.
    4He will not fail or become weak or be crushed and discouraged till He has established justice in the earth; and the islands and coastal regions shall wait hopefully for Him and expect His direction and law.
    5Thus says God the Lord--He Who created the heavens and stretched them forth, He Who spread abroad the earth and that which comes out of it, He Who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:
    6I the Lord have called You [the Messiah] for a righteous purpose and in righteousness; I will take You by the hand and will keep You; I will give You for a covenant to the people for a light to the nations,
    7To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness from the prison.
    8I AM the Lord; that is My name! And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.
    9Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.
 
Isaiah 45:8
    8Let fall in showers, you heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness [the pure, spiritual, heaven-born possibilities that have their foundation in the holy being of God]; let the earth open, and let them [skies and earth] sprout forth salvation, and let righteousness germinate and spring up [as plants do] together; I the Lord have created it.
 
Isaiah 45:21-23
    21Declare and bring forward your strong arguments [for praying to gods that cannot save]; yes, take counsel together. Who announced this beforehand (long ago)? [What god] declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a rigidly and uncompromisingly just and righteous God and Savior; there is none besides Me.
    22Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I AM God, and there is no other.
    23I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness and shall not return, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear [allegiance].
 
Isaiah 48:18-19
    18Oh, that you had hearkened to My commandments! Then your peace and prosperity would have been like a flowing river, and your righteousness [the holiness and purity of the nation] like the [abundant] waves of the sea.
    19Your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like the offspring of the sea; their name would not be cut off or destroyed from before Me.
 
Isaiah 54:17
    17But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.
 
Isaiah 58:8-11
    8Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness (your rightness, your justice, and your right relationship with God) shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
    9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, Here I AM. If you take away from your midst yokes of oppression [wherever you find them], the finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and every form of false, harsh, unjust, and wicked speaking,
    10And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday.
    11And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.
 
Isaiah 60:17
   17Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. [Instead of the tyranny of the present] I will appoint peace as your officers and righteousness as your taskmasters.
 
Isaiah 60:21-22
   21Your people also shall all be [uncompromisingly and consistently] righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.
   22The least one shall become a thousand [a clan], and the small one a strong nation. I, the Lord, will hasten it in its [appointed] time.
 
Jeremiah 9:23-24
    23Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise and skillful person glory and boast in his wisdom and skill; let not the mighty and powerful person glory and boast in his strength and power; let not the person who is rich [in physical gratification and earthly wealth] glory and boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] riches;
    24But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I AM the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.
 
Jeremiah 22:3
    3Thus says the Lord: Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver out of the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong; do no violence to the stranger or temporary resident, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
 
Hosea 2:19-20
    19And I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.
    20I will even betroth you to Me in stability and in faithfulness, and you shall know (recognize, be acquainted with, appreciate, give heed to, and cherish) the Lord.
 
Amos 5:24
    24But let justice run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty and ever-flowing stream.
 
Malachi 3:16-18
    16Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name.
    17And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My peculiar treasure). And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.
    18Then shall you return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him.
 
Malachi 4:2
    2But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol [skip] like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

 
Alternate Text
 

Jesus continues:
 
Matthew 5:2-9
    2Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
    3Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous--with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
    4Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!
    5Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous--with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!
    6Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!
    7Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous--with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!
    8Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous--possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!
    9Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous--with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!
 
Matthew 6:25-34
    25Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?
    26Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?
    27And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?
    28And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.
    29Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence was not arrayed like one of these.
    30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?
    31Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear?
    32For the Gentiles wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.
    33But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.
    34So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
 
Matthew 7:7-11
    7Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.
    8For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.
    9Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone?
    10Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent?
    11If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him!
 
Matthew 10:40-42
    40He who receives and welcomes and accepts you receives and welcomes and accepts Me, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts Me receives and welcomes and accepts Him Who sent Me.
    41He who receives and welcomes and accepts a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
    42And whoever gives to one of these little ones [in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water because he is My disciple, surely I declare to you, he shall not lose his reward.
 
Matthew 13:36-43
    36Then He left the throngs and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him saying, Explain to us the parable of the darnel in the field.
    37He answered, He Who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.
    38The field is the world, and the good seed means the children of the kingdom; the darnel is the children of the evil one,
    39And the enemy who sowed it is the devil. The harvest is the close and consummation of the age, and the reapers are angels.
    40Just as the darnel (weeds resembling wheat) is gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the close of the age.
    41The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of offense [persons by whom others are drawn into error or sin] and all who do iniquity and act wickedly,
    42And will cast them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth.
    43Then will the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God) shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him who has ears [to hear] be listening, and let him consider and perceive and understand by hearing.
 
Matthew 13:47-50
    47Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet which was cast into the sea and gathered in fish of every sort.
    48When it was full, men dragged it up on the beach, and sat down and sorted out the good fish into baskets, but the worthless ones they threw away.
    49So it will be at the close and consummation of the age. The angels will go forth and separate the wicked from the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God)
    50And cast them [the wicked] into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth.
 
Matthew 25:21
    21His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master enjoys.
 
Matthew 25:31-40
    31When the Son of Man comes in His glory (His majesty and splendor), and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
    32All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them [the people] from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats;
    33And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left.
    34Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
    35For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me,
    36I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me.
    37Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink?
    38And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You?
    39And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You?
    40And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me.

Mark 2:1-12
    1And Jesus having returned to Capernaum, after some days it was rumored about that He was in the house [probably Peter's].
    2And so many people gathered together there that there was no longer room [for them], not even around the door; and He was discussing the Word.
    3Then they came, bringing a paralytic to Him, who had been picked up and was being carried by four men.
    4And when they could not get him to a place in front of Jesus because of the throng, they dug through the roof above Him; and when they had scooped out an opening, they let down the [thickly padded] quilt or mat upon which the paralyzed man lay.
    5And when Jesus saw their faith [their confidence in God through Him], He said to the paralyzed man, Son, your sins are forgiven [you] and put away [that is, the penalty is remitted, the sense of guilt removed, and you are made upright and in right standing with God].
    6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, holding a dialogue with themselves as they questioned in their hearts,
    7Why does this Man talk like this? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins [remove guilt, remit the penalty, and bestow righteousness instead] except God alone?
    8And at once Jesus, becoming fully aware in His spirit that they thus debated within themselves, said to them, Why do you argue (debate, reason) about all this in your hearts?
    9Which is easier: to say to the paralyzed man, Your sins are forgiven and put away, or to say, Rise, take up your sleeping pad or mat, and start walking about [and keep on walking]?
    10But that you may know positively and beyond a doubt that the Son of Man has right and authority and power on earth to forgive sins--He said to the paralyzed man,
    11I say to you, arise, pick up and carry your sleeping pad or mat, and be going on home.
    12And he arose at once and picked up the sleeping pad or mat and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and recognized and praised and thanked God, saying, We have never seen anything like this before!
 
Mark 2:17
    17And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, Those who are strong and well have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick; I came not to call the righteous ones to repentance, but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).
 
Luke 5:29-32
    29And Levi (Matthew) made a great banquet for Him in his own house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others who were reclining [at the table] with them.
    30Now the Pharisees and their scribes were grumbling against Jesus' disciples, saying, Why are you eating and drinking with tax collectors and [preeminently] sinful people?
    31And Jesus replied to them, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
    32I have not come to arouse and invite and call the righteous, but the erring ones (those not free from sin) to repentance [to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins].
 
Luke 15:1-7
    1Now the tax collectors and [notorious and especially wicked] sinners were all coming near to [Jesus] to listen to Him.
    2And the Pharisees and the scribes kept muttering and indignantly complaining, saying, This man accepts and receives and welcomes [preeminently wicked] sinners and eats with them.
    3So He told them this parable:
    4What man of you, if he has a hundred sheep and should lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (desert) and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?
    5And when he has found it, he lays it on his [own] shoulders, rejoicing.
    6And when he gets home, he summons together [his] friends and [his] neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep which was lost.
    7Thus, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind, abhorring his errors and misdeeds, and determines to enter upon a better course of life) than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance.


Alternate Text
 
Father God’s pure love and righteousness are closely bound together through the father in the following story. For further insights into God's heart as your loving Father, go to the section His Father's Heart Expressed.
 
Luke 15:11-32
    11And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons;
    12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them.
    13And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.
    14And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want.
    15So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs.
    16And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better].
    17Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger!
    18I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.
    19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.
    20So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity [compassion] and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].
    21And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]!
    22But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet.
    23And bring out that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry,
    24Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry.
    25But his older son was in the field; and as he returned and came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
    26And having called one of the servant [boys] to him, he began to ask what this meant.
    27And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed that [wheat-]fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and well.
    28But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in. Then his father came out and began to plead with him,
    29But he answered his father, Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends;
    30But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf!
    31And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
    32But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!
 


Luke 18:9-14
    9He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [that they were upright and in right standing with God] and scorned and made nothing of all the rest of men:
    10Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
    11The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men--extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers--or even like this tax collector here.
    12I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain.
    13But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am!
    14I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.
 
John 5:18-47
    18This made the Jews more determined than ever to kill Him [to do away with Him]; because He not only was breaking (weakening, violating) the Sabbath, but He actually was speaking of God as being [in a special sense] His own Father, making Himself equal [putting Himself on a level] with God.
    19So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn].
    20The Father dearly loves the Son and discloses to (shows) Him everything that He Himself does. And He will disclose to Him (let Him see) greater things yet than these, so that you may marvel and be full of wonder and astonishment.
    21Just as the Father raises up the dead and gives them life [makes them live on], even so the Son also gives life to whomever He wills and is pleased to give it.
    22Even the Father judges no one, for He has given all judgment (the last judgment and the whole business of judging) entirely into the hands of the Son,
    23So that all men may give honor (reverence, homage) to the Son just as they give honor to the Father. [In fact] whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, Who has sent Him.
    24I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life.
    25Believe Me when I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the time is coming and is here now when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear it shall live.
    26For even as the Father has life in Himself and is self-existent, so He has given to the Son to have life in Himself and be self-existent.
    27And He has given Him authority and granted Him power to execute (exercise, practice) judgment because He is a Son of man [very man].
    28Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,
    29And they shall come out--those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence].
    30 I AM able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord--but only as I AM taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I AM bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.
    31If I alone testify in My behalf, My testimony is not valid and cannot be worth anything.
    32There is Another Who testifies concerning Me, and I know and am certain that His evidence on My behalf is true and valid.
    33You yourselves have sent [an inquiry] to John and he has been a witness to the truth.
    34But I do not receive [a mere] human witness [the evidence which I accept on My behalf is not from man]; but I simply mention all these things in order that you may be saved (made and kept safe and sound).
    35John was the lamp that kept on burning and shining [to show you the way], and you were willing for a while to delight (sun) yourselves in his light.
    36But I have as My witness something greater (weightier, higher, better) than that of John; for the works that the Father has appointed Me to accomplish and finish, the very same works that I AM now doing, are a witness and proof that the Father has sent Me.
    37And the Father Who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. Not one of you has ever given ear to His voice or seen His form (His face--what He is like). [You have always been deaf to His voice and blind to the vision of Him.]
    38And you have not His word (His thought) living in your hearts, because you do not believe and adhere to and trust in and rely on Him Whom He has sent. [That is why you do not keep His message living in you, because you do not believe in the Messenger Whom He has sent.]
    39You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!
    40And still you are not willing [but refuse] to come to Me, so that you might have life.
    41I receive not glory from men [I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame],
    42But I know you and recognize and understand that you have not the love of God in you.
    43I have come in My Father's Name and with His power, and you do not receive Me [your hearts are not open to Me, you give Me no welcome]; but if another comes in his own name and his own power and with no other authority but himself, you will receive him and give him your approval.
    44How is it possible for you to believe [how can you learn to believe], you who [are content to seek and] receive praise and honor and glory from one another, and yet do not seek the praise and honor and glory which come from Him Who alone is God?
    45Put out of your minds the thought and do not suppose [as some of you are supposing] that I will accuse you before the Father. There is one who accuses you--it is Moses, the very one on whom you have built your hopes [in whom you trust].
    46For if you believed and relied on Moses, you would believe and rely on Me, for he wrote about Me [personally].
    47But if you do not believe and trust his writings, how then will you believe and trust My teachings? [How shall you cleave to and rely on My words?]
 
John 7:17-18
    17If any man desires to do His will (God's pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself) whether the teaching is from God or whether I AM speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority.
    18He who speaks on his own authority seeks to win honor for himself. [He whose teaching originates with himself seeks his own glory.] But He Who seeks the glory and is eager for the honor of Him Who sent Him, He is true; and there is no unrighteousness or falsehood or deception in Him.
 
John 16:All
    1I have told you all these things, so that you should not be offended (taken unawares and falter, or be caused to stumble and fall away). [I told you to keep you from being scandalized and repelled.]
    2They will put you out of (expel you from) the synagogues; but an hour is coming when whoever kills you will think and claim that he has offered service to God.
    3And they will do this because they have not known the Father or Me.
    4But I have told you these things now, so that when they occur you will remember that I told you of them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
    5But now I AM going to Him Who sent Me, yet none of you asks Me, Where are You going?
    6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts [taken complete possession of them].
    7However, I AM telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].
    8And when He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment:
    9About sin, because they do not believe in Me [trust in, rely on, and adhere to Me];
    10About righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God), because I go to My Father, and you will see Me no longer;
    11About judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him.
    12I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now.
    13But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].
    14He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.
    15Everything that the Father has is Mine. That is what I meant when I said that He [the Spirit] will take the things that are Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.
    16In a little while you will no longer see Me, and again after a short while you will see Me.
    17So some of His disciples questioned among themselves, What does He mean when He tells us, In a little while you will no longer see Me, and again after a short while you will see Me, and, Because I go to My Father?
    18What does He mean by a little while? We do not know or understand what He is talking about.
    19Jesus knew that they wanted to ask Him, so He said to them, Are you wondering and inquiring among yourselves what I meant when I said, In a little while you will no longer see Me, and again after a short while you will see Me?
    20I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that you shall weep and grieve, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.
    21A woman, when she gives birth to a child, has grief (anguish, agony) because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she no longer remembers her pain (trouble, anguish) because she is so glad that a man (a child, a human being) has been born into the world.
    22So for the present you are also in sorrow (in distress and depressed); but I will see you again and [then] your hearts will rejoice, and no one can take from you your joy (gladness, delight).
    23And when that time comes, you will ask nothing of Me [you will need to ask Me no questions]. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].
    24Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.
    25I have told you these things in parables (veiled language, allegories, dark sayings); the hour is now coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures of speech, but I shall tell you about the Father in plain words and openly (without reserve).
    26At that time you will ask (pray) in My Name; and I AM not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf [for it will be unnecessary].
    27For the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father.
    28I came out from the Father and have come into the world; again, I AM leaving the world and going to the Father.
    29His disciples said, Ah, now You are speaking plainly to us and not in parables (veiled language and figures of speech)!
    30Now we know that You are acquainted with everything and have no need to be asked questions. Because of this we believe that you [really] came from God.
    31Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? [Do you believe it at last?]
    32But take notice, the hour is coming, and it has arrived, when you will all be dispersed and scattered, every man to his own home, leaving Me alone. Yet I AM not alone, because the Father is with Me.
    33I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]