The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. (Psalm 18:20)
An applied truth is an applied truth; a righteous deed is a righteous deed even if applied by an unrighteous liar. It is for this reason that the ungodly often prosper. They do things “right.” Herein is the meaning of righteousness: doing things right. The ungodly can do right, even with and for the wrong motives. Hard work is hard work. Good judgment is good judgment. We are to understand that there are two levels of righteousness---righteous acts and righteous people. Doing things right does not necessarily equate to being a righteous person. True righteousness comes from having been born again---having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Of the two, the latter is the greater. However, those that have found righteousness in Christ need to learn the fruit of righteous works. Having righteousness in Christ does not make one successful. However, it does make one forgiven and more apt to find true success. May the righteous be righteous.