Tzadek in Hebrew means ‘to be just, righteous, or perfect.’ Tzadek can also mean ‘justification’ through acquittal of crime or sin. ‘Righteous’ is found 325 times in the Old Testament; and 138 in the New.
“Then Y’hudah acknowledged owning them. He said, ‘She is more righteous than I, because I didn’t let her become the wife of my son Shelah.’ And he never slept with her again” (Genesis 38:26).
“The effect of righteousness will be peace; the result of righteousness, quiet trust forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
“But if you warn the righteous person that a righteous person should not sin, and he doesn’t sin; then he will certainly live, because he took the warning; and you too will have saved your life” (Ezekiel 3:21).
“But my prayer, in righteousness, is to see your face; on waking, may I be satisfied with a vision of you” (Psalm 17:15).
“Therefore Torah is not followed; justice never gets rendered, because the wicked fence in the righteous. This is why justice comes out perverted” (Habbukuk 1:4).
Tzadek can also mean ‘justification’ through acquittal of a crime or sin.
“Justification [acquittal from sin] is primarily and gratuitously by faith, subsequently and evidentially by works. The so-called contradiction between James and Paul is only apparent. There is harmony in the different views of the subject. Paul has in mind Abraham’s attitude toward God, his acceptance of God’s word (davar) and not on his character or actions, but a contrast between faith and the lack of it, namely unbelief. The contrast between faith that is real and faith that is false, a faith that is barren and dead, which is not faith at all is the actions of obedience that result because of that faith” (Vines Expository Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek).
“So since we have come to be considered righteous (deemed to be right) by God because of our trust, let us continue to have shalom with God through our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah” (Romans 5:1, Complete Jewish Bible).
“Therefore, since we have been justified [considered righteous] through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1, New International Version).
Hebrew Word Pictures
צ Tzade – A Fishhook means ‘pull toward.’
ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’
ק Kof – Back of the Head means ‘what is behind.’
The Hebrew Word Picture for tzadek: to pull toward what is behind the pathway.
In Greek, ‘justified’ is dikaiosis means acquittal as from a crime (such as a life of sin) or ‘to deem to be right.’
“He said to them, ‘You people make yourselves look righteous [free from sin] to others, but God knows your hearts. What people regard highly is an abomination before God!” (Luke 16:15, Complete Jewish Bible).
“He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify (acquit) yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight’” (Luke 16:15, New International Version).
Justification is the first step salvation. Justification is just receiving your ‘get out of death row’ card. A repentant individual will appreciate the ‘card’ and the judge who gave it to him freely, and sanctify his lifestyle to one worthy of being set free from the ‘law of sin and death.’
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