All people are born with a “clean slate” in the category of the righteous. God is righteous, and every person is created in His image. This is where a person begins: innocent and undefiled.
The Glory of Fallen Man...
True, all men sin and fall short of the glory of God, but not all fall utterly or long1Psalm 37:24.
Glory means weight or value. Adam, before he fell, had great value, having been made in God’s image. When he fell, God’s image in him was marred, but not obliterated. This is very clear from what God said after Adam’s fall, and in fact even after the Flood:
“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.
And you, be fruitful and multiply; abound on the earth and multiply in it.”
Man still bears God’s image and has great value in God’s eyes, as He requires capital punishment for any who would fail to respect His image in his fellow man to the point of committing murder.
But beyond that, God commissioned Noah and his sons after the flood to be fruitful and multiply abundantly on the earth. If man was now worthless and totally depraved, why would a loving Creator want to fill the earth with such creatures?
So fallen man still bears the image of his Creator and retains intrinsic2intrinsic — belonging to a thing by its very nature. worth to the degree that he lives by the knowledge of good and evil, inherent3inherent — existing as an essential constituent or characteristic; in the nature of something. in his conscience. Even though he has an inborn inclination to sin, he is able and accountable to do the good that he knows in his conscience and to keep himself from the kinds of sins that would make him worthy of the second death.4Revelation 21:8; 22:15; Romans 1:28-32
Yet regardless of how carefully a man lives by his conscience, he will not do so perfectly, for he is a fallen creature. He will sin, and his sin must be paid for, as it is an inviolable law that the wages of sin is death. A man’s good deeds cannot save him from the consequences of his sin — the first death.
Although all people are born with a tendency to sin, they are also born with a conscience and the ability to obey it. This takes an act of the will. It takes determined effort to live by one’s will. A righteous person would never say that he is righteous. Humility and self-doubt are qualities they possess. They care for their neighbors as they would for themselves. They do not tear down others, but strengthen them. They are not partial. They are fair. It’s important to them to keep a good conscience and maintain their integrity. Deep inside, they know there will be a judgment. They know they are accountable for what they do. The righteous conduct their lives in anticipation of that day.
In marriage, a righteous man will work hard and honestly to provide for his family5Genesis 3:19, Job 14:14. He loves his wife and children and will sacrifice his pleasure for their welfare. He respects the image of God in others, and therefore believes a murderer should be executed6Genesis 9:6, voting only for candidates of public office who uphold capital punishment7Genesis 9:6, Romans 1:32. A righteous woman trustingly submits to her husband as head of the family, and her desire is for him, to build him up. She bears the pain of childbirth not attempting to escape the pain of delivery and continues to bond with and care for her children as they grow up8Genesis 3:16. This produces secure children who know they are loved.
People like this genuinely care about others and treat them fairly and respectfully. They do what is good, not to be noticed, but because they value goodness.
There are only a few truly righteous people left. Society does not make much room for them today. They are not going to hell, as many Christians think, simply because they did not believe in Jesus. They probably would have believed if they had heard about Him from someone who really knew Him. By their good deeds, the righteous made themselves worthy of a second life in the eternal kingdom of the nations. Righteous men and women must (and can) pay for their own sins in the first death9Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 20:13-15 Their names were found in the Book of Life, not “Blotted Out” as were the wicked. Psalm 69:28, but comfort awaits them after the judgment10Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 21:3-4 – As the dwelling place of God by His Spirit (Ephesians 2:22, Revelation 21:3), the Son of God and His Wife (the Church) will rule and reign over the Nations forever and ever.
They will be Righteous Still… Forever and Ever…
Scriptural References and Other Footnotes
|↑2||intrinsic — belonging to a thing by its very nature.|
|↑3||inherent — existing as an essential constituent or characteristic; in the nature of something.|
|↑4||Revelation 21:8; 22:15; Romans 1:28-32|
|↑5||Genesis 3:19, Job 14:14|
|↑7||Genesis 9:6, Romans 1:32|
|↑9||Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 20:13-15 Their names were found in the Book of Life, not “Blotted Out” as were the wicked. Psalm 69:28|
|↑10||Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 21:3-4 – As the dwelling place of God by His Spirit (Ephesians 2:22, Revelation 21:3), the Son of God and His Wife (the Church) will rule and reign over the Nations forever and ever|