The answer to this question is yes. You don’t have to wait until you are actually perfect to be considered righteous before the eyes of God. I am not talking about who we are in Christ; in Christ we are already righteous and holy. God has created a system where He already sees us perfect in Jesus, even as within ourselves we are not. Jesus took away the power of sin over us in terms of judgment; in other words, when you are a born again believer, through Jesus, sin can’t be use against you. Jesus stands as our attorney.
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1 (NKJV)
The word Advocate is the Greek word, “παράκλητος paráklētos; gen. paraklḗtou, masc. noun from parakaléō (3870) meaning to comfort, encourage or exhort. It is properly a verbal adj. referring to an aid of any kind. In the Greek writers, used of a legal advisor, pleader, proxy, or advocate, one who comes forward in behalf of and as the representative of another.”
The intention of the writer, the Apostle John, is for Christians not to sin, but he also made it clear that if they do stumble, there is provision already made for us to receive the comfort, the encouragement and the exhortation needed. As if that is not enough, Jesus Himself goes before the Father on our behalf to plead for our innocence. Who can understand such love?
There is then, a temptation for us to believe that we are free to sin, but to the contrary, we are free to love and pursue God in spite of our struggles. Grace is not a weak system that is designed to promote sin, grace is the weapon of choice God uses to defeat sin. Romans 5:19-21 tells us,
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NKJV)
So the question continues to stand, is it possible to walk holy before the Lord? To biblically answer this question we will looks at a few men in the Bible whom God himself called righteous. Not everybody in the Bible was blessed with being called righteous. As you look at this list with me, I am sure you will question how some of these men made it to this list. That will be a good question to ask. Lets look at this list together.
Gen. 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
Gen. 7:1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Ja. 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Gen. 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
Gen. 19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
2 Pet 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Job 1:8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect (Strong’s 8535) and an upright (Strong’s 3477) man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Job. 32:1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.—Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
- King David
Ps. 7:10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
Ps. 18:23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.24 Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to MY righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
2 Samuel 22:21 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.23 For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. 24 I was also upright (Strong’s 8549) before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.25 Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.26 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright (Strong’s 8549) man thou wilt shew thyself upright.27 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.
1 King. 14:8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;
1 King. 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
2 King. 14:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did.
Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
- King Asa
1 King. 15:11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.—14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect (Strong’s 8003) with the Lord all his days.
2 Chron. 14:2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God:3 For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:4 And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
- King Hezekiah
2 King. 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.—3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.6 For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but KEPT HIS COMMANDMENTS, WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED MOSES.
- King Josiah
2 King. 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.
2 King. 23:25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.
2 Chron. 34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
Hebr. 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Moses and all of Israel were told to be perfect (which means they could)
Deut.18:13 Thou shalt be perfect (Strong’s 8549) with the Lord thy God.
Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect (Strong’s 8549) in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
- Abel and Zacharias
Matt. 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Hebr. 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
- Joseph, Mary’s husband
Matt. 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
- Joseph, the counsellor
Luk. 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. —22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
- John the Baptist
Mark. 6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
- The Apostle Paul (after his conversion)
1 Thess. 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
- The priest Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth
Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
There are two men that come to mind that should be added to this list; Joseph and Daniel. Both of these men gave us an example of how to remain holy in the mix of a secular society. These two men remained holy and committed to the Lord and were blessed with great promotion and power in the mix of the most powerful nations of their time. Joseph became the second most powerful man in Egypt. Daniel, on the other hand became a very power man under Babylon and under Syria’s reign over Israel.
To be considered holy before the Lord two things are required:
- To be hungry and thirsty for righteousness. The promise in Matthew 5:6 is that those with this kind of hunger and thirst will be filled. Outside of righteousness being manifested in our lives there is no satisfaction of the soul. That is the great deception of this world as they offer a thousand ways to be prosperous, to be better, to be happy, etc. In reality, the world system will NEVER fill you; only God can, but HE demands holiness.
- To separate ourselves from unholy things and to stand for the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 is indeed the New Testament standard of a holy life. I agree that only the Holy Ghost can change our hearts, but we are responsible for our behavior; what we say, what we do, where we go, what we buy, what we get involved with and who we get involve with.
I do not preach an irresponsible Gospel, but a Gospel that clearly state the need for good works. A gospel that demands action on our part. Salvation is free and it is all God’s doing. Holiness is also God’s doing, He will indeed sanctify us with His fire. However, it is through our daily walk and daily decisions and through a will surrendered to God that we then cooperate with Him and declare, let your will be done in my life as your will is done in heaven, with absolutely no resistance. That is indeed the ultimate goal, the genius of God, that even in this evil environment of the world, God can raise holy people out of you and me. I am ready to walk in holiness, are you?
 Romans 3:22
 Hebrews 10:10
 Romans 4:25
 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).
 All Bible verses on this list, taken out of the King James Bible Version. Also this list was taken out of http://bjorkbloggen.com/2014/02/19/examples-of-righteous-and-holy-people-in-the-bible/
 Genesis 41
 Daniel 2
 Daniel 6
 Matthew 5:6
 2 Corinthians 6:1-10
 James 2:14-26
 Ephesians 2:9
 First Peter 2:7 / Zechariah 13:9