Who Are the Righteous?

By Buddy J. Duncan

            Without a doubt those who step into the aisle and come forward to obey the gospel’s commands to become a Christian are those who desire to become “righteous”. Of course you don’t have to be in a church building to obey the gospel, you can obey the gospel anywhere there is water! Do you remember the Ethiopian eunuch? He was on the road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza [Acts 8:26], when Philip caught up with him and taught him about Jesus Christ. As they were riding along studying together they came to some water and the eunuch said: (Acts 8:36) “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” They were not even in a place of worship and the eunuch was able to obey the gospel. Was he then righteous? YES! This eunuch had come to realize that he was not “righteous” in and of himself; so he took the steps which could make him “righteous”: (Phil. 3:9)“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” Through the teaching of Philip he had come to have faith in Jesus Christ and upon his confession of that faith he was buried with Christ in baptism [Col. 2:12]. So through faith and obedience this eunuch became “righteous” in the eyes of God.

           There are many in the world today that are a lot like the eunuch in the condition that we first find him. This eunuch was a religious man; he had traveled some distance to go to Jerusalem to worship, however, he was not a Christian.  We know of many who travel to the worship services [some nearly every time the saints are assembled] but they have never done what this eunuch did; I.e. they have never confessed the name of Jesus nor have they been baptized for the remission of their sins: (Acts 2:38) “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The eunuch had come to believe that Jesus was the Son of God and evidently Philip had taught him concerning baptism and he asked, “What hinders me from being baptized?” Indeed I find it strange that those who believe and know what they should do keep putting it off! Why won’t they step forward and do that which will make them “righteous” is a question I cannot answer. I promise that you will be a lot happier if you only do that which God requires of you. I base this upon the words of Isaiah: (Isa 61:10) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”

           Perhaps some are concerned that it will cost them too much to become “righteous”. If that should be what is hindering you, I have some good news; “righteousness” is free, it is a gift: (Rom. 5:17) “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)” Could anything be any better; that which will make you happy is FREE! Jesus Christ paid the price for our ‘righteousness” when He shed his blood upon the cruel cross. Instead of costing us we are promise to be heirs: (Rom. 4:13) “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”  

            There are those who teach that faith is all that in needed to be “righteous”. They teach and practice “faith only”. They probably refer to Romans 4:5 “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” But again he was not saved until he had obeyed the rest of God’s gospel plan for salvation. Have you done likewise? If not  would remind you of the Ethiopian eunuch; we cannot question his faith, he believed Jesus to be the Son of God. Was he saved, was he righteous? NO! He was not saved; he was not righteous what are you waiting for?