The two kinds of righteousness

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The Two Kinds of Righteousness is a Lutheran paradigm (like the Two Kingdoms of God). It attempts to define man’s identity in relation to God and to the rest of creation. The Two Kinds of Righteousness is explicitly mentioned in Luther’s 1518 sermon entitled Two Kinds of Righteousness, in Luther’s Galatians Commentary (1535), in his Bondage of the Will, Melanchthon’s Apology of the Augsburg Confession, and in the third article of the Formula of Concord. It is also the implicit presupposition governing Luther’s Freedom of a Christian as well as other works.
In theology “to be righteous is to be human as God envisioned in creation, and again in redemption.”[1] Lutherans believe that there are “two dimensions to being a human creature,” or two relationships that define human nature.[2] The first dimension defines man’s relationship with God and the second defines man’s relationship with his human neighbors and the rest of God’s creation. “In the former we receive righteousness before God through faith on account of Christ. In the latter, we achieve righteousness in the eyes of the world by works when we carry out our God-given responsibilities.”[3]


1 Righteousness Coram Deo

1.1 Works Righteousness
1.2 Law and Gospel
1.3 The Implications for Pastoral Ministry

2 Righteousness Coram Mundo

2.1 The Imperfection of Civil Righteousness
2.2 The Importance of Good Works

3 A Third Kind of Righteousness?
4 Other References to Two Kinds of Righteousness
5 References

Righteousness Coram Deo[edit]
The first kind of righteousness is righteousness coram deo (righteousness in the eyes of God). The Reformers also called it passive righteousness, the righteousness of faith, the righteousness of the Gospel, alie

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