A good deed is usually accepted with open arms. High compliments often accompany it. Righteous deeds on the other hand don’t always receive praise and gratitude like good deeds. What is the difference between good and righteous? The apostle Peter made a distinction between the two in his epistle.
Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 1 Peter 3:13-14
There are four emotional terms used in this portion of scripture:
- eager to do good
- suffer for doing right
- reward from God
- afraid of threats
There is a definite difference between doing good and what is righteous. We must understand that all righteousness is good, but not all good is necessarily righteous.
Many good things are done on the earth which are widely recognized. But not all of those good deeds have anything to do with the Lord or His plan.
An example might be donating funds to save the poor defenseless animals shown on TV. To animal lovers and others, this is certainly a good deed. Who would object to a project like that? It is, however, simply a good deed—not a righteous deed.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do good deeds. Look what verse 11 says.
Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. 1 Peter 3:11
Peter continued with this thought in verse 17 which says.
Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 1 Peter 3:17
A Righteous Deed
Some Christians think they must suffer happiness, but that isn’t what we read in our verse for today. Here is how the Common English Bible says verse 14.
But happy are you, even if you suffer because of righteousness! Don’t be terrified or upset by them. 1 Peter 3:14
Peter was there when Jesus suffered on the cross. In verse 18 he says this.
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18
A righteous deed promotes the kingdom of God. Righteous deeds could include giving someone hungry a meal, in the name of Jesus. Or proclaiming the gospel to the unsaved.
A related post you might enjoy reading is How Have you shown Your Love to God?
Peter says if you suffer because of righteousness, you are making a stand for Jesus and can find satisfaction in it. Jesus remains our example of what Peter said when it comes to suffering for righteousness.
Jesus modeled for us in His suffering when He took our sins upon Himself. He was well aware of the rewards it would produce. The bottom line here is, nobody enjoys suffering, and rightly so. But God promises a reward when an act of righteousness causes us to suffer.
Thank you, Lord, for giving us the ability to live happily through being obedient to your word.
Read a related post on evangelism called How To Reach Lost People For The Kingdom Of God.
Read the entire chapter of 1 Peter 3.
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3 thoughts on “What is the Difference Between Good and Righteous?”
I never considered the difference between righteousness and goodness before. In today’s spiritual warfare culture, I often find that I speak out against the evil which is the right thing to do, yet man do not perceive my actions as being good.
I must not stop trying to spread the truth, however. Thank you for helping me to see the distinction between the two concepts.
Thanks for your comment Susan. May you continue to do the righteous work of the Lord.