“A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.” (Proverbs 10:1)
The book of Proverbs describes active righteousness in great detail. This verse tells us that the wise and the righteous will bring joy to their parents, but the foolish and the wicked will cause their parents great grief.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). Those who fear the Lord listen to His voice. Indeed, the Lord’s voice, His Word, creates godly fear, humility, contrition, and a desire for the Lord’s favor. Wise parents will take the proverb to heart and bring their children to the worship service, where they can hear the voice of the Lord.
Active righteousness is important, but there is another kind of righteousness. You see, we cannot hope to make our heavenly Father glad with our obedience and diligence. Our best works are stained with sin and grieve our Father.
Thankfully, God has imputed your sins to Jesus, who carried them to the cross. There He was punished in your place. Also, God has imputed the righteousness of Jesus to you. This is the righteousness of faith, passive righteousness. When God looks at you, He doesn’t feel sorrow. He feels great gladness! He delights in you, because you have been clothed in the obedience of His Son!
You have no wisdom or righteousness that you can offer to God. Thankfully, you are in Christ, “who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
O Word of God incarnate, O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O Light of our dark sky:
We praise You for the radiance That from the hallowed page,
A lantern to our footsteps, Shines from age to age.
(“O Word of God Incarnate” LSB 523, st. 1)