A Good Man verses a Righteous Man
By David J. Stewart
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” —Matthew 28:19-20
In Romans 5:7-8 the Bible makes a distinction between a good man and a righteous man. What's the difference? A good man is being right with humanity; whereas, a righteous man is being right with God. It's that simple. Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” We are made right with God through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
There are many good men in the world who do not know God, i.e., they are not saved. They have never been born-again by the Word of God as 1st Peter 1:23 teaches. Being a good person is not enough to enter into Heaven. Romans 3:20 teaches that keeping the Law of God cannot save a good man. The reason is because even the best and brightest amongst mankind are still sinners in the eyes of God (Romans 3:23; James 2:10). Ecclesiastes 7:20, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Only Jesus Christ is sinless (1st Peter 2:22; 2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God Who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
If you pay your bills, live upright in the eyes of men, and help others in your path of life, people will call you a good person. But that doesn't make you a righteous person in God's eyes. Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
The following Scripture speaks of Adam's sin which opened the floodgate of sin upon mankind; and then of the wonderful Savior by Whom we are MADE RIGHTEOUS. Romans 5:19, “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be MADE RIGHTEOUS.” We are saved by Christ's righteousness, i.e., the imputed righteousness of Jesus that is given to us the very moment we are saved (Romans 4:5-6). When a person acknowledges their guilty sinful condition for breaking God's Laws (Romans 3:19), repenting toward God by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ to be forgiven (Acts 10:43); then they are eternally saved and are now a child of God (Galatians 3:26). We are the SINNERS and Jesus is the SAVIOR. It's that simple! John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Amen and amen!
You see friend, you and I have no self-righteousness of our own that can impress God (Isaiah 64:6). Even our best isn't good enough to appease the wrath of God against us because of the sins we've committed. Unless you're calling God a liar, you must acknowledge that you are a sinner. Truthfully, everyone sins everyday. Those religious people who claim not to sin everyday don't fully understand what sin is, for if they did they would fall on their knees and beg God to forgive and help them live right. We all sin, whether in deed or thought, every day.
The righteous man is right in God's eyes, for he has the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 4:5-6; 2nd Corinthians 5:21. Note: All Scriptures are quoted only from the inspired King James Bible).
Being a good man is not necessarily based upon what other people think about you, because bad people will think evil of a good man simply because he is good (2nd Timothy 3:3). But God knows our hearts. Amen! We should all want to be righteous in God's eyes, and good in the eyes of men. This is what God wants.
Albeit, there are some righteous men in God's eyes who are bad in the eyes of men, such as when king David commit adultery and murder in the Old Testament. The man after God's own heart didn't lose his salvation, because it wasn't his in the first place... it was God's salvation. In the book of Psalms, the Psalmist mentions “THY SALVATION” 21-times, for it is by Christ's righteousness that David was saved. In Genesis 15:6 Abram (Abraham) believed the Lord and it was COUNTED unto him for righteousness. That's how we are still saved today, i.e., by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). There has always been, and only will be, one Gospel by which men are saved, i.e., through the name of Jesus (Acts 4:10-12). God is good!
Are you a good person? The Bible says there are NONE good in Romans 3:12. Romans 3:10 says that there are NONE righteous. We are MADE RIGHTEOUS only by the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:19). Jesus died, was buried, and rose again (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). If we trust upon the Lord, the Christ, God's Son, to forgive our sins, then we will be saved eternally. Salvation can never be lost. It does not need to be maintained. Once righteous, always righteous.
Lot was a righteous man in Sodom. But the Bible says he lived in sin, so his sons-in-law laughed in his face as one who mocketh, when Lot tried to warn them of the coming judgment by God. No one took Lot serious because of his poor testimony. Abraham couldn't find even 10 righteous (i.e., saved) people in Sodom. And so God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah as examples to the world throughout history of the destiny of the wicked in Hellfire (Jude 1:7). Yet, 2nd Peter 2:7 teaches that Lot was a just (i.e., righteous) man. Lot was saved and he detested the sins being committed around him. God delivered Lot, just as He will deliver the saints at the Rapture from this wicked unbelieving and sin-loving world. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
I don't care how good you may think you are, or how good your family or others may think you are; you cannot enter into Heaven without being born-again (John 3:7). You need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!! (Matthew 6:33; Romans 10:3-4). Even one sin makes us guilty of all in God's eyes (James 2:10). I plead with you to receive Jesus Christ (John 1:12).
If you are a Christian already, then the only good in you is God. Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Amen!
I wrote this article to warn people that no amount of goodness can get a person into Heaven (Romans 3:20; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9). You must be MADE RIGHTEOUS by believing upon the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 10:43; John 20:31). Jesus is precious!
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” —John 1:29