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The GoodLion Podcast

Shame, Sin, & What Tim Mackie Taught Us About Righteousness - (Classic GoodLion Episode)

Mon Jun 12 2023

The Good Land podcast

  • The podcast has been running for nearly five years and is in its ninth season.
  • During the summer, they will be introducing classic episodes of the show while taking a break to recharge and record new episodes.

Revisiting classic episodes

  • This episode revisits two classic episodes from their first season, which were part of the Righteousness mini-series.
  • Part one features Aaron's thoughts on righteousness and insights from Dr. Tim Mackie from the Bible Project on the Hebrew meaning of righteousness.
  • Part two includes a conversation with Pastor Brian Stupar about how righteousness ties into struggles with guilt and shame, using the story of the woman caught in adultery as an example.
  • The audio quality may not be top-notch due to their humble beginnings before having fancy equipment.
  • Aaron shares a hypothetical scenario where someone gets stoned to death for breaking rules and being deemed unrighteous, which was common in biblical times.

Understanding biblical righteousness

  • The concept of righteousness is often viewed as a perfect standard or list of rules not to break.
  • The speaker wants to explore the meaning of biblical righteousness and how Jesus sees it.
  • Righteousness is a churchy word that is often used in sermons, worship songs, and popular Christian culture.
  • A poll on Instagram revealed that people think righteousness means always doing what is right, following God's laws, being perfect, holy, morally and ethically good, or devoted to spiritual disciplines.
  • However, the speaker questions whether this aligns with the biblical authors' intention when using the word righteous.

The meaning of "righteous" in the Bible

  • The Hebrew word for righteous is "Saedek", which describes someone's character as demonstrated by how they treat others in their relationships.
  • Righteousness is a standard of being in right relationship, and it varies depending on the context (e.g. husband, business owner, neighbor).
  • A person cannot be righteous by themselves; it can only be seen through their actions towards others.

Righteousness and relationships

  • Righteousness is about having the right relationship with others, not just behaving correctly.
  • The phrase "to do right by somebody" means to behave in a way that benefits the other person.
  • Righteousness is more about our relationship with God than our behavior.
  • The story of Jesus healing a blind man in John 9 shows that righteousness is about restoring right relationship, not just proving moral behavior.
  • Jesus healed the man's physical blindness as well as his spiritual blindness and restored his relationship with God.

Jesus' love and righteousness

  • Jesus used the dust of the earth to restore a man's sight, showing God's love and healing power.
  • The gospel reveals a physical, loving person in Yahweh, not just a moral code.
  • God sees our sin and brokenness but is more concerned with our separation from Him than our wrongdoings.
  • Broken relationships cause pain and longing for righteousness, which often requires action to fix.
  • Many people feel they need to prove their worthiness of love through religious acts, but God says He will do it all because He loves us.

Jesus' role in righteousness

  • Jesus alone can make things right because he loves us.
  • The gospel is that Jesus died to make us righteous and whole again.
  • Righteousness in Hebrew scriptures has more to do with right relationship than right behavior.
  • Sin is a concept throughout the biblical story and needs to be addressed in connection with righteousness.
  • In the story of the woman caught in adultery, the Pharisees operate under the understanding that righteousness means being morally right and not sinning.
  • The Pharisees try to trap Jesus by bringing a woman caught in adultery before him, but he responds by saying that the sinless one among them should throw the first stone.

Jesus' response to the woman caught in adultery

  • Jesus wrote something on the ground, and it had a massive effect on the Pharisees who left one after another.
  • The woman caught in adultery was considered unrighteous by earthly standards because she committed sin, but Jesus saw beyond her behavior and recognized that her relationship with God was broken.
  • Jesus' primary goal was to restore the broken relationship between the woman and God, proving to her how loved and accepted she is by God.
  • Once the relationship was restored, Jesus instructed her to go and sin no more.

Right relationship and right behavior

  • Jesus prioritizes right relationship over right behavior.
  • He loves and saves us despite our wrong behavior, but also cares about our behavior because it keeps us from Him and His purposes.
  • Right behavior flows out of a right relationship with Jesus, not the other way around.
  • We are already accepted and loved by God through Jesus, so righteous behavior should flow out of that understanding.
  • Understanding how loved and forgiven we are by Jesus leads to less desire to give into temptation and more desire to pursue what Jesus has for us.

Sin and its effects

  • The podcast discusses the topic of sin.
  • It is important to talk about sin and its damaging effects, even though the grace of Jesus offers real righteousness.
  • Sin is not just a list of God's preferences but rather anything that misses the mark of who God made us to be.
  • The introduction of sin in Genesis 3 shows that mankind wanted to define good and evil for themselves instead of following what God said was good and right for them.
  • Sin was an archery term used to warn others when an archer missed the target completely.

Sin as a broken relationship with God

  • Sin is anything that goes against who God made us to be.
  • God creates humans in a right relationship with him, defined by his role as God, king, and best friend.
  • The right thing for God to do in this relationship is to protect us from doing things that are wrong.
  • Grace undoes the effects of sin but does not mean we are free from the way sin can shape us in ways that go against what God wants for us.
  • When we commit sin willingly, we break our relationship with God by not allowing him to be our father or king.
  • By sinning, we prevent God from fulfilling his role in our relationship and define what's right on our own.

The consequences of sin

  • Making small choices to not do tasks can allow tension to build in relationships.
  • Sin creates a poison that corrupts humanity and the earth beyond self-repair.
  • Reframing sin as a disease or sickness can help understand the need for Jesus' sacrifice.
  • Humans try to repair their own brokenness through good deeds, but it cannot undo sin's corruption.

Righteousness and acceptance

  • Good deeds do not erase wrongdoings, and we will still be judged for our mistakes.
  • Jesus' righteousness allows us to have a right relationship with God despite our flaws.
  • Many Christians struggle with feeling accepted by God due to guilt and shame from their mistakes.
  • Trying to get right with God through good deeds and religious practices can feel like climbing a mountain, but eventually leads to hopelessness and despair when we inevitably sin again.
  • Going to camps, conferences, or church cannot make us right with God because Jesus already made us right on the cross.
  • We should stop trying to earn righteousness and instead focus on accepting the righteousness that Jesus has already given us.

Overcoming guilt and shame

  • The speaker encourages people to stop trying to get righteousness into their lives and instead live out of the righteousness they already have.
  • The speaker emphasizes that we already have a right relationship with God and don't need to constantly try to get right with Him.
  • When we sin, we should get back up and keep walking, knowing that Jesus loves us and has already approved of us.
  • The cycle of guilt and shame can be harmful, but God takes our guilt and removes it, clothes us in His righteousness, and restores us.
  • People may set themselves up for failure by holding themselves to higher standards than God does.

Breaking the cycle of self-righteousness

  • Self idolatry and self-righteousness lead to setting higher standards than what God expects, resulting in guilt and shame.
  • There is an unseen realm that accuses individuals of their failures, leading to a cycle of condemnation.
  • The cycle can be broken by confidently trusting the gospel over other narratives that hijack thinking.
  • To address self-righteousness, individuals should name the things they do or assume to be true or righteous that give them a sense of accomplishment or despair when not done.
  • Identifying these areas can help welcome in the gospel and break destructive patterns.

Trusting in the gospel

  • Trusting in unhealthy and destructive things is not the way to live.
  • The gospel can help tear down false edifices and replace them with a better approach.
  • Jesus is committed to righteousness even when we are at our worst.
  • A man struggling with drug addiction and lies found redemption through confession, forgiveness, and love from God.
  • Struggling and backsliding are not unforgivable sins, but realizing God's love can inspire us to want to do better.

Future episodes

  • The podcast is part of a mini-series on righteousness.
  • Episode three will focus on self-righteousness and feature interviews with Calvary Chapel pastors.


  • The hosts aim to break down the theological meanings of the word righteousness and study scripture.
  • Listeners are encouraged to rate and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with others.