Two of my favorite study sites are: blueletterbible.org and thebible.org. There are so many questions that keep me up at night and these two sites are where I find myself digging for answers. Blue Letter Bible is a treasure trove of study aids. Click on a verse, the options appear. Click on an option and you're off to the races.
If you've read, What If The Cross Changed Everything, you know I present The Revelation of Christ Jesus as documenting the legal issues of humanity's redemption from the law of sin and death. Which doesn't agree with the mainstream interpretations currently being purported.
One ah-ha moment that helped in piecing my ideas together came with the study of the word 'righteous(ness)', and realizing that there are a couple definitions for the word that can't be interchanged without causing confusion.
Here's the deal. Righteous, under the old covenant, had more to do with legal matters. In our western minds it helps to think, 'rights and privileges'. Citizens of the USA, enjoy certain rights and privileges that citizens of other countries do not. It is simply a matter of law, morality aside. (Rights can be lost or surrendered but that's a subject for another day).
A secondary definition has to do with morality.
This might seem like hair splitting, but sometimes that's how the picture is more clearly revealed. And we know that the Word of God helps us to separate bone from marrow and thought from intent. (Hebrews 4:12)
When things jump from Hebrew to Greek the definitions and weights are reversed; heavier on morality, lighter on legality. The two can go hand in hand and can complement one another, but they are not interchangeable concepts. Attempts to do so has resulted in the 'doctrine of righteousness'; a two headed hybrid that is dealt with in Mark 2:18-22 and Revelation 3:14-22.
This leads to the challenge when studying scripture; determining whether to think and interpret using the legal or moral definition. Clarity will often come when choosing one over the other. We are made legally righteous by the Cross of Christ. We live morally righteous in honor and appreciation of that Cross.
Jesus showed us how powerful life can be when it is rooted in the legal basis of citizenship in the Kingdom of God. It is who we are and allows The Father's attributes of grace, peace, integrity, authority, and love to flow. This is what the Cross accomplished. The way has been made for each person to reconnect with God - legally righteous. That connection empowers a life of moral righteousness. Because of who I am, this is what I do. To reverse the concept negates the cross. Galatians 5:4 says our attempts at attaining righteousness from our own self-effort is to fall from grace. That's a tumble I want to avoid.
If you want to read more on this subject: