"Just and Righteous"
The Origin of Unrighteousness
Because God alone is just and righteous in and of Himself, all others must receive their rightness of being from Him. This includes both angels and humans. Those who the Lord creates must accept the source and purpose of their existence as received from the One who made all.
"It is He that hath made us and not we ourselves" (Psalm 100:3).
"Thou givest to all life and breath and all things… In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:25; 28).
Scripture teaches that unrighteousness originated in an angelic being named Lucifer. Created by God to serve as an important Light-bearer (the meaning of the name Lucifer), this angel determined of his own volition that he could govern himself and form a righteousness of being apart from the one true God.
"Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee" (Ezekiel 28:14-15).
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:12-14).
Note several facts about Lucifer in this vital passage regarding righteousness and unrighteousness. First, he is a created being. He was also a righteous created being, perfect in his ways until he sinned. Iniquity was found in Lucifer when he sought to ascend and exalt himself, and to sit in a place of authority for which he was not worthy or able to fulfill. Most consequentially, he sought "to be like the Most High." Rather than accepting who and what God made him to be as a creation dependent on the Lord for being and rightness, Lucifer attempted to become like the only One who dwells in self-existent righteousness. He attempted to be Light, rather than accepting his existence as his original name implied, a Light-bearer. This is an impossibility, a wicked futility that constitutes the very essence of unrighteousness and injustice. "Thou art God alone" (Psalm 86:10).
Adam and Eve partook of Satan's deception by succumbing to the temptation to "be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). Rather than fulfilling the righteousness of being for which God created them, our original forbears sought to be more and other than they were. Thereby they became enslaved - "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8:34). This "law of sin" passed down to all of their offspring through the ages, constituting every son and daughter born of Adam's fleshly heritage as slaves of unrighteousness (Romans 7:22; 6:17). By physical birth, human beings are not what God made us to be. Rather than being inhabited, enabled, and led by the Spirit of God, we are rather "alienated from the life of God" until we trust the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:18). Such emptiness, inability, darkness, and death constitutes our very being as unrighteous apart from Christ. Unbelievers act unrighteously because they are unrighteous (we will address the fact of unrighteous actions by believers in a coming message). They are not what God made them to be. Thus, they do not do what God made them to do.
Just and righteous are terms that first reference our being, that is, who and what we are in our hearts in relationship to the God of all righteousness. If united to Him through faith in the Lord Jesus, we are justified and and thus "right" in our spiritual being. The Spirit of Christ dwells in us, we "are light in the Lord", and are subject to God's guidance and leadership (Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 5:8; Romans 8:14). This is what our Heavenly Father made us to be, and in Christ, we are from the moment of our new birth and forevermore. Unlike the devil, our being is reconstituted by salvation into the righteousness of knowingly existing as a dependent being rather than the futile and unrighteous attempt to be something in and of ourselves. "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Proverbs 28:26). "Just and righteous" for human beings means that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. He is the life, the power, the light, and the executor of our justified and righteous being…
"Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us… righteousness."
(I Corinthians 1:30)
"Put on the new man, which is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Weekly Memory Verse
In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.