Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

Q: Is there a difference between a “good” man and a “righteous” man?

A: The answer is yes, but I also have to point out it depends on what premise you are approaching it from. The world’s idea of a “good” man points to one who is decent, while in the case of God, He is the only One who is considered good (Matthew 19:17). The reason why is because in this text “good” points to that which is beneficial to all parties involved. Only what God does prove to be beneficial to everyone which includes redemption, where man’s activities are often tainted with selfishness, wrong motives, and self-serving agendas.

The word “good” also points to moral uprightness, but we know that man’s best is filthy rags before God for there is no good thing in the flesh. In fact, we are told that none are righteous outside of Christ and no one does good. Uprightness points to right standing in Christ. It is more about position in Christ because of His redemption than personal works and practices (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10, 12; 7:18; Ephesians 2:6).

The real difference between these two types of individuals comes down to attitude. The attitude of the world towards righteousness is that of mocking and when a “decent man” is challenged to stand for what is right, he will become embarrassed and ashamed to stand and will become almost apologetic because of his embarrassment or remain quiet. On the other hand, the righteous will do right, and if it requires them to stand as a light in darkness, they will stand realizing that to do so may be risking reputation and possible persecution. However, they can’t ignore what is wrong, smile at what is dishonorable, or remain quiet about what is unjust.

There is a saying that says much, “When good men do nothing, evil reigns.” For the most part “good men” want to get along with the world and not make any unpleasant waves for them to have to ride out. On the other hand, Proverbs is dedicated to reveal the difference between a righteous man who is wise, compassionate, upright in attitude, possessing a right spirit, and ultimately doing right, and a fool who insists on his own way. The contrast is clear that righteous men will stand and be the light that brings contrast in a dark world.

Let me end with this warning in Matthew 10:32-33, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

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The Goal of Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to make disciples in compliance with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).

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