The above terms do not necessarily equal ”to never have been guilty of any sins”. All sinners have been given the opportunity to repent for their sins – to become holy, righteous and blameless – and when Jesus cleanses us from our sins we are completely clean because our old sins have been removed. We do not have to wait until we die before we can honor God by living holy and righteous lives and be faithful to him (Titus 2:11-12). On the other hand, we can not always expect to have perfect and complete physical bodies in this life, which includes Jesus as well. There is a difference between moral perfection and physical perfection.
Eccl.7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
The below terms can be translated just, perfect, upright, unblameable, etc
The Hebrew word tsaddiq (Strong’s 6662)
The Greek word dikaios (Strong’s 1342)
The Greek word teleios (Strong’s 5046)
Examples of Biblical individuals who were righteous due to living righteous lives
I have used the three colors as per above to illustrate the meaning of the original words below. Simple black text means that the person’s righteousness is described without using any of the words above. The Bible certainly has no shortage of people who have lived holy and righteous lives. They may have sinned at least once, but they have repented for those sins and restored their salvation. If the same individuals would have mixed their righteous lives with sin, they would not have been considered righteous before God. A righteous person is someone who lives upright, after first having been cleansed from his former sins – which occurs upon repentance.
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.
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. 18:20 The Lord rewarded me according to MY righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.22 For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.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.25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Below you can read about the contrast between the unrighteous and the righteous, and the issue is obedience to God. You can also read here how we can know if we are the children of God.
2 Sam. 4:(Is-Boset)11 How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?
1 King. 8:31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. (2 Chron. 6:23)
Ps. 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.—5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Proverbs 3:32 For the froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous.33 The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.
Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.—16 The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.—20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.—24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.25 As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.—28 The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.29 The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.—18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.19 As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the Lord: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.—23 The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.—27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.—30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.31 Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.2 A good man obtaineth favour of the Lord: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.––5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.7 The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.—10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. —.13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.—20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.—.22 Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.—26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.—.28 In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.—3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.—5 A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.6 Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.—9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.—13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.—18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
Proverbs 14:32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
Proverbs 15:24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.—26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
Proverbs 20:7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
Proverbs 21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.—6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.8 The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right..—10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.—16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.—21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
Ezekiel 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
Matt. 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
Matt. 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Matt. 25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. —37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?—40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:.—45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Matt. 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
1 Peter. 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
1 John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
Rom. 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Hebr. 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
1 Cor. 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
Phil 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Ja. 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
You can read here about John 15 and the risk for a branch to be cut off the vine due to lack of fruit. God expects us to live righteous lives.