If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. 1 John 2, verse 29.
If we do what is right, even if we don’t believe in Christ, are we still righteous? And are even unbelievers ‘born of him?’ This seems like a luxurious topic to talk about. After all, there are starving people in Africa; I’ve seen them. There are homeless and jobless people in America; I know some. A million babies are murdered every year in America but we call it ‘a choice;’ incomprehensible and indefensible. Evil seems to be on the rise everywhere; just read the news. All this is happening and yet we’re talking about whether or not someone is righteous?
What’s more, not everyone knows this. Most people don’t. 2/3 of all the people in the world don’t believe in or literally don’t know who Jesus is. Most people don’t care. Yet most people are decent people who only want what’s best for their families and themselves. That’s not always a bad thing, right?
It’s a harsh fact that if we aren’t in Him, we aren’t really righteous. If we aren’t in Him, we aren’t born again, literally reborn, and we have no promise of all the redemption He is. If we know He is righteous yet we don’t believe He is, then we reject Him and we are choosing the opposite of love. If we know He is righteous yet we reject Him, then even if we live upright lives in the eyes of the world we are damned. Damned to hell forever in and after this life.
There is nothing right apart from God. Saving babies from burning buildings, helping old ladies pay their heating bills, working in the slums of Kigali and Mumbai, or volunteering in pediatric burn units to help the little children? All wrong. All worthless. All sin, in fact, if the motivation to do them isn’t to serve God. If we reject Christ then we reject love, forgiveness, and redemption. If we reject Christ, then nothing we do, think, or say can ever be right. Everything we would do would not born of Him; everything we would do would be of this world. Indeed, Jesus said “apart from me you can do nothing.” He meant it.
Please know this is tough love to share. We are only righteous because God Himself made us righteous through His love and atonement. We only really do right when we are motivated by the love He gave us. We love only because Christ loved us. Any ‘love’ apart from this, not a part of it, is only worldly lust. Know this, then, as the righteous truth: Jesus loves you. Nothing else matters.
Lord, I want to love others as you loved me. Teach me to be selfless, caring, faithful, and helpful. Forgive me when I fall and bless those who oppose me. Help me to love as You love.