“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 John 3:7)
There is an old spiritual song that has the phrase “ev’ry body talkin’ ‘bout heav’n ain’t goin’ there.” That’s a good summary statement of biblical truth—and worth repeating. As our text puts it, the righteous man does righteousness. But there is more to this principle.
A Righteous Man Knows He Is Righteous: As a young man, King David was very conscious of his righteousness. David knew that he had “clean hands,” that he “kept the ways of the LORD,” and that he had neither “done wickedly” nor “departed” from God. David was also careful to put the “judgments” and the “statutes” of God out in front of his thoughts. “Therefore,” he said, “hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness” (Psalm 18:20-24).
A Righteous Man Loves Righteousness: The opening stanza of the majestic Psalm 119 makes this statement: “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways” (Psalm 119:2-3). The apostle John is even more succinct: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).
A Righteous Man Resolves to Live Righteously: “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person” (Psalm 101:2-4).