Text: Psalm 18:21-26
Psalm 18:25 “…with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright…”
UPRIGHT: Physically: ‘Erect; perpendicular to the plane of the horizon; as an upright tree; an upright post. Among mechanics, plumb (Genesis 37:7)’ Spiritually: ‘…Honest; just; adhering to rectitude in all social intercourse; not deviating from correct moral principles; as an upright man…Conformable to moral rectitude…Conscience rewards upright conduct with pleasure.’ (Noah Webster, 1828)
UPRIGHTNESS: ‘Honesty; integrity in principle or practice; conformity to rectitude and justice in social dealings. The truly upright man is inflexible in his uprightness.’ (Noah Webster, 1828)
JUST: ‘In a moral sense, upright; honest; having principles of rectitude; or conforming exactly to the laws, and to principles of rectitude in social conduct; equitable in the distribution of justice; as a just judge…In an evangelical sense, righteous…living in exact conformity to the divine will.’ (Noah Webster, 1828) Also, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, JUST means: ‘morally upright, righteous in the eyes of God…fitting, proper, conforming to standards…just, righteous; sincere…equitable; in accordance with law, lawful; true, proper; perfect, complete.’
THE UPRIGHT ONE
The most upright—The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength…The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just” (Isaiah 26:1-7). The psalmist declares that the “righteous…shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (Psalm 92:15).
Essential Difference—The word of God makes a very clear and sharp distinction between God the Creator and the creatures he has made. The almighty and eternal “holy God” (Joshua 24:19) “made man upright” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) in his own image (Genesis 9:6; Romans 1:25). But by “the first man Adam” (1Corinthians 15:45) “sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12; 3:23). In great contrast to man’s fall into sin, “the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5) “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). By this we know that Solomon’s declaration: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20), cannot possibly pertain to the Lord Jesus Christ, for he alone is “the Holy One and the Just [the upright]” (Acts 3:14).
JESUS CHRIST IS:
The God man—He is God “manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1Timothy 3:16; John 1:14). In Jesus Christ “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). According to the scripture, the Godhead is “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1John 5:7). Jesus declared: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30; 17:11, 21). “…happy is that people, whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 144:15)!
The Just One—Paul testified before the people in the temple that, after he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, one Ananias came to him and said unto him: “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth” (Acts 22:12-14). Stephen testified to the high priest and his council: “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:52).
Jesus is “the Just One” who “hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (1Peter 3:18). Jesus Christ “is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). God “hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2Corinthians 5:21). He “was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (1John 3:5). The man Christ Jesus “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1Peter 2:22).
The Lord God Almighty—Toward the end of soon to come “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), John saw “them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name… sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:1-3). After the third angel poured out his vial to change the waters into blood, John “heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments” (Revelation 16:4-7).
Near the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ, “the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned” (Revelation 11:16-17; Matthew 28:18).
The great God and Saviour—Upright (justified) men today are “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The LORD commanded: “Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me” (Isaiah 45:21); and: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10; Isaiah 43:3; Jude 1:25).
When the Lord Jesus appeared to the apostle John, he said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
The faithful Creator of all things—By the Lord Jesus Christ “were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17; Genesis 1:1; Revelation 4:11).
All his words and works are upright—The psalmist declared: “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness” (Psalm 111:7-8). “Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments” (Psalm 119:137, 128, 144; 145:17). Jesus said: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). Therefore the Son of God “shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness” (Psalm 9:8). God has appointed a day, “in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
God makes believing men upright through faith—The apostle declared God’s “righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). A man is justified when God declares him righteous. Therefore, in light of the scripture which says: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), how then can God justify an unrighteous man?
According to the word of God and the previous definitions, the truly upright man is a just and righteous man. During the present church age, the “upright in heart” (Psalm 7:10; 11:2; 36:10) is a born-again believer who has received “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ…” (Romans 3:22). From God all believers receive “righteousness without works” (Romans 4:6). “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:6-7).
Because Abraham was fully persuaded to believe what God had promised, “it was imputed to him for righteousness [God’s righteousness was put on his account]. The righteousness of God is also imputed to us, “if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:20-25; 10:9).
The children of Israel, “being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3). All false religions are built on the sinking sand of self-righteous men who seek to justify themselves by good works: “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above🙂 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:6-9; Isaiah 53:11).
The LORD commanded the judges of Israel to “justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked” (Deuteronomy 25:1). The LORD himself said: “I will not justify the wicked” (Exodus 23:7), but God declares the believer to be a “just man,” having been “justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16; 1Kings 8:32). The just and upright man (Proverbs 29:27; Habakkuk 2:4) is hated by bloodthirsty and wicked men: “The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul” (Proverbs 29:10, 27). The Lord Jesus told his disciples to rejoice and leap for joy when men hate them, for their “reward is great in heaven…” (Luke 6:22-23; Proverbs 29:27).
Great blessings of the upright—Job “was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3). David prayed, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression” (Psalm 19:13).
Peace—The end of the upright “is peace” (Psalm 37:37; Romans 5:1), “For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright” (Psalm 11:7).
Fear of the Lord—”He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him” (Proverbs 14:2). The fear of the LORD, “his treasure” (Isaiah 33:6), “is wisdom” (Job 28:28), “is clean, enduring for ever” (Psalm 19:9), is taught to obedient children (Psalm 34:11), is “the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10), is “the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), “is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13), “prolongeth days” (Proverbs 10:27), “is strong confidence” (Proverbs 14:26), is “a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27), is “the instruction of wisdom” (Proverbs 15:33), “tendeth to life” (Proverbs 19:23). Upright righteous men walk “in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:31).
Strength—”The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity” (Proverbs 10:29).
A sure walk—”He that walketh uprightly walketh surely…” (Proverbs 10:9; Psalm 119:105; 2Peter 1:19).
Integrity—”The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them” (Proverbs 11:3).
Righteousness—The upright have received the righteousness of Christ through faith. “The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness” (Proverbs 11:6).
The LORD’S delight—”They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight” (Proverbs 11:20; 15:8).
The words of God do him good—The LORD asked: “do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” (Micah 2:7).
Eternal inheritance—”The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever” (Psalm 37:18; Hebrews 9:15). The upright in these last days “receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15) by believing the gospel of Christ, “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3-4).
Possess good things—”…the upright shall have good things in possession” (Proverbs 28:10).
Eternally present with God—David declared: “Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence” (Psalm 140:13); and: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Psalm 23:6; John 14:2; Revelation 3:12; 21:2). The church will soon be caught up “to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1Thessalonians 4:17-18). The eyes of the upright “shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off” (Isaiah 33:15-17).
EVERY MAN’S CHOICE
Passage from death to life—Ungodly men who reject the Lord Jesus Christ will suffer “the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7; Revelation 21:8). May this day be your “day of salvation” (2Corinthians 6:2), the day when you escape “the damnation of hell” (Matthew 23:33)!
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).