Marks of the Righteous Man - 4/4/10

"Mark the Righteous Man” - by Ansel Hicks

"I have seen the wicked in great power, And spreading himself like
a green tree in its native soil. But one passed by and, lo, he was not;
Yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man,
and behold the upright; for there is a happy end to the man of peace”
(Psa. 37:35‐37).

The word "perfect” as used in the Scriptures does not usually mean
"without flaw.” The usual meaning is that of "upright” (as in our
text), or "complete, or full grown.” For instance, the apostle Paul
wrote of what the Scriptures can do for us, "That the man of God may
be complete, furnished completely unto every good work” (2 Tim.
3:17). The King James, and some other versions, have "perfect” in
verse, instead of "complete.” But "complete” or "full grown” (as in
Eph. 4:13 and James: 15) is also one of the usual translations of this

"Mark the perfect man.” To "mark” a man, as the word is used in
this passage, means to take notice of him, to observe him, as he lives
a life of righteousness in a wicked world. The righteous (or perfect)
man is the one who devotes himself to the things of God. The apostle
Paul wrote, "Whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and
teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man
perfect in Christ” (Col. 1:28) From the reading of this verse, we can
easily see the importance of having our lives "hid with Christ in God”
(Col. 3:3). In fact, God "hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in
the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Note that again‐every
spiritual blessing is "in Christ." And that includes righteousness. The
perfection God requires cannot be attained out of Christ.

1. Cannot Be Saved by our Righteousness
According to the Scriptures, there are only two kinds of
righteousness: God’s and man’s. The prophet wrote, "But we are all
as an unclean thing and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags”
(Isa.64:6). Man’s righteousness – that is, his standards of what is right
and the extent of his good words – cannot avail anything in the sight
of God. No one cannot atone for the sins he has already committed,
or can anyone live such a good life as to build up "credit” with God.
The apostle Paul wrote, "But when the kindness of God our Savior,
and his love toward man, appeared, not by works done in
righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he
saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the
Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ
our Savior; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs
according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4‐7). Note that again:
"Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves.” The
only hope we have for righteousness is the mercy and grace of God.

2. Saved by the Righteousness of Christ
In that great treatise on righteousness penned by the apostle Paul,
we read, ”And if children, then heirs of God, and joint‐heirs with
Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we suffer with him, that
we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of
this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which
shall be revealed to us‐ward. For the earnest expectation of the
creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom 8:17 – 19).
Christ gave His own blood to cleanse us from sin – not because we
deserved it, but because we did not deserve it! "God commendeth his
own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for
us” (Rom. 5:8). We are saved by the blood of Christ not by our own
goodness, nor by our own efforts, but by the grace of God.
If one is to be that "perfect man” (or, that righteous man), it must
be because of the grace of God. Man can never attain that on his
own. As Paul wrote, "Not by works done in righteousness, which we
did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). The
Scripture says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
(Rom. 3:23). And no matter how we may try, how much good we do,
we can never erase one sin we have committed. Our righteousness
can never avail. We must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
As we read. "Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf;
that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
And again, the emphasis is that we be "in Christ” in order to become
"the righteousness of God.”

3. Our Part in the Righteousness of God
The psalmist wrote, "Let my tongue sing of thy word; for all thy
commandments are righteousness” (Psa. 119:172). Earlier in this
same psalm, it is written: "Thy words have I laid up in my heart that I
might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Jehovah: Teach me
thy statutes” (Psa. 119: 11 – 12). We become servant of righteousness
when we obey the will of God. As Paul wrote, "Know ye not, that to
whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants
ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience
unto Righteousness? But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants
of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching
whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye
became servants of righteousness”(Rom. 6:16 – 18).
Look at Cain and Abel. They both brought sacrifices to God, but:
"Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and
to his offering he had not respect” (Gen. 4:4‐5). Why? What was the
difference between them? Let us read further. The Scripture says, "By
faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous,
God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being
dead yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4). Because "faith comes by hearing of
the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). , it is clear that Abel heard God, and
did what He said. That is why "he had witness borne to him that he
was righteous.” Abel honored God by doing what He said, and the
Scriptures says that Abel’s works were righteous.

4. Grace Reigns through Righteousness
That the grace of God reigns through righteousness unto eternal
life none can deny: "That, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace
reign through righteous unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our
Lord” (Rom. 5:21).
But what is righteous? Literally, the word means "doing right.” But
the righteousness of God means doing what He (GOD) defines as
right. Note again, "All thy commandments are righteousness” (Psa.
119:172). The grace that saves is grace which leads one by the