The Righteous Brothers
by Joseph Franks
Is anyone righteous? Is there one without blame? Can a holy man be found? Do we know any worshiper anywhere who can be considered one wholly following the Lord? The answer is both “no” and “yes.”
There is none righteous, not even one. Across the globe, whether religious or irreligious, whether moral or immoral, whether respectable or without respect, there is not a man who is holy, righteous, and blameless. There never has been and never will be one who wholly follows the Lord. All are sinful. All are duplicitous. All are corrupt. All are guilty of breaking God’s good and holy law. All are unrighteous.
There is one righteous, and his name is Jesus Christ. He is the holy and sinless one. His record is spotless and without blemish. He is the one who can honestly say, “I have loved the Father with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, all my days.” Of him the Father says, “This is my beloved Son, and in him I am well pleased.” Jesus is the Son of Righteousness.
There are many who have been made righteous. A glorious transaction has taken place, whereby Jesus Christ became the substitute or proxy of many. Jesus suffered for man’s sin and supplied many with his righteousness. Consequently, the Heavenly Father justified them; he declared they were without a hint of sin, and he also declared them to be saturated with his Son’s righteousness. It was like a royal garment completely covering them with glorious splendor. Therefore, identified with Jesus and looking just like Jesus, the Father declared over them, “These are my beloved sons in whom I am well pleased, and”there is now no condemnation.” They were declared positionally righteous, positionally blameless, positionally holy, and positionally sanctified. The same God who said, “Let there be light,” also said, “Let them be righteous,” and with perfection God’s will came about. Consequently, Spirit-inspired authors echoed the pronouncement of the Heavenly Father. Sinful men were declared in scripture to be “righteous, blameless, upright.” They were declared to be and presented as “holy and sanctified men wholly following the Lord.” They were righteous, and scripture proclaimed them to be so. (Genesis 6:9; 7:1; Job 1:1; 2:3; Num. 32:11; Deut. 1:6; Josh. 14:8, 9, 14)
There are many who are doing more and more righteous things. The Gospel is the fertile soil from which righteous affections, righteous thoughts, righteous words, and righteous deeds spring forth. Jesus Christ who lived and died, now lives to intercede and fruit. He is the Alpha and Omega of our spiritual renewal, and he promises to finish that which he began. Therefore, all those who are foreloved, lived for, died for, regenerated, converted, justified, and positionally sanctified, they are also adopted, filled, and being progressively sanctified — they are making progress in displaying Christ’s righteousness. They are righteous people, sadly still committing unrighteous deeds, but this is contrary to their new nature and identity. Therefore, every day they are repenting and gaining further victory over their world, their flesh, and the devil. Every day they are repenting and rejoicing in their Spirit-caused love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Every day they are interested in starving the old man, feeding the new man, and looking more like Jesus. They see their sin, they abhor and repent of their sin, and then they walk in like free men saying “no” to the next sin. Like young Timothy, they worship in such a way that their spiritual progress is seen by all. And as a result, more and more people are giving glory to God by declaring them to be holy, blameless, upright, saintly, sanctified, and righteous — which they really are.
There are many who are only doing righteous things. Those in the Church Victorious — saints who have graduated to glory — they are perfectly sanctified. Their conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil is finished. Repentance is not a possibility for them any longer, for they are permanently free from even the possibility of sin. They are the finished work of Jesus, and they are cheering their brothers and sisters on to the finish line.
Friends, contemplating this, how ought we to walk and worship today? I might suggest the following action steps. First, realize you are not righteous and receive the gift of Christ’s righteousness. This is done by means of faith, repentance, and prayer. Recognize that which Jesus has done in history to secure the salvation of his family. Trust only in his righteousness. Trust only in his sacrifice. Call upon the Lord in prayer; ask him to be your Savior; proclaim him to be your Lord. As you do such, you can rest in the promise of God that he draws near and blesses all who call upon him.
Listen not to the accusations of the world, the flesh, the devil, or the devilishly religious. If God does not condemn you, who is left of any merit to condemn? From now on, you are a righteous person who still has unrighteous affections, thoughts, words, and deeds. Hate the sin, but do not hate yourself. God loves you and accepts you, and you must love that which God loves and accepts. Receive again — every single day — the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and bask in the undeserved, unlimited, unchangeable affection of God. Your works had nothing to do with your becoming the Father’s beloved; they have nothing to do with remaining so. Jesus is the Friend of Sinners, and he never stops being such. Relax! Sabbath! Rest! Rejoice!
Love God, love godliness, hate sin, and practice righteousness. As adopted sons and daughters, let us walk worthy of the name we have received. As the bride of Jesus, let us wear his name honorably. For freedom, Christ has set us free, so no longer walk about as slaves to sin. Grace does not give us permission to sin; it gives us permission not to sin, so do not do less righteousness but more. Let your Heavenly Father and your earthly fathers enjoy seeing your spiritual progress. As Samuel and Jesus increased in stature, wisdom, favor with God, and favor with man, you do the same. Have fun giving God better worship each and every day, for this is your chief end — his glory and your enjoyment.
Look forward to death. Over the horizon are a New Heavens, a New Earth, and New Community awaiting our renewed souls and bodies. Paradise will be fantastic as sin and its consequences are no more. This is the final chapter. This is the end of the story. Find comfort in the fact that many of your loved ones are already there. Grieve not as the world as you see other loved ones drawing closer. Pant for the day when you too will be permanently removed from this planet of death and this body of death. Your best life is still to come.
Walking as holy, blameless, upright, and righteous saints, give glory to God with your lips. Tell everyone you meet about the source of your godliness. Let them know about his power to transform their lives. While Jesus gift is not exhaustive — applying to each and every man on the planet — it is not limited and finished. There are still many who are to be invited to the party. There are still many whom Christ wills to save. As holy men women, live righteously. Be not scandalous. Repent, make progress, live righteously, and tell the world about the Son of Righteousness who dwells above and within. This is what holy people do; with passion they seek to keep Christ’s Great Commission. It is one of their great acts of worship. Before they are the Church Victorious, they are the Church Militant. Now go and ambitiously combat the world, the flesh, and the devil. Steal Satan’s joy and add to yours. There are many more righteous people to be found.