“A wicked man hardens his face, But as for the upright, he establishes his way.” (KJV).
“A wicked man displays a bold face, But as for the upright, he makes his way sure.” (NASB).
Righteousness or Wickedness:
We have seen that one of Solomon’s teaching tactics includes contrasting two opposing life choices, such as wisdom and foolishness, diligence and laziness, and humility and pride. In today’s Scripture, Solomon tells us that wicked people harden their face, or put on a bold face. In other words, they pretend to be okay when they are not. The upright, or righteous, on the other hand, establish their way, and make their way sure. They don’t have to pretend to be right, but by God’s grace, choose to do what is right.
Solomon tells us: “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death.” (Prov. 10:2). And “As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.” (Prov. 11:19). To choose a righteous lifestyle leads to life and blessing, and to choose wickedness leads to death and destruction. But – what is righteousness?
Righteousness can be looked at from two different perspectives. One is right-standing with God, and the other is acting in an upright, virtuous, moral way. Let’s take a look at these two different aspects to righteousness:
1. Right-standing with God – Putting Your Faith in Jesus:
The first time we see the word righteousness used in the Bible is in Genesis 15:6 where it says, “And Abraham believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Here we see that Abraham’s right-standing with God did not come from living a perfect, holy life (because indeed no one can or ever has lived a perfect life, except for Jesus). Rather, righteousness was credited to his account as a gift when he put his faith in the Lord.
Romans 1:17 teaches us this: “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (NLT). Do you want right-standing with God? Put your faith in Jesus, and trust Him to be your Lord and Savior, and forgive you of all of your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today!
2. Right-living before God – Acting in an Upright Manner:
In addition to our positional righteousness, which comes from a personal relationship with Jesus, there is also a practical righteousness, where we choose to do what is right and good – that is, we obey the teachings of the Bible. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33).
Lord, help us as your people to walk in righteousness so that we can establish our way according to your righteousness. In Jesus’ name, amen.