Today Solomon speaks of the righteous:
- “But righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 11:4)
- “The righteousness of the blameless will direct his ways aright” (Proverbs 11:5)
- “The righteous is delivered from trouble” (Proverbs 11:8)
- “But he who shows righteousness will have a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18)
- “As righteousness leads to life” (Proverbs 11:19)
- “The desire of righteousness is only good” (Proverbs 11:23)
- “But the righteous will flourish like foliage” (Proverbs 11:28)
- “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30)
- “The thoughts of the righteous are right” (Proverbs 12:5)
- “But the house of the righteous will stand” (Proverbs 12:7)
- “He who speaks truth declares righteousness” (Proverbs 12:13)
- “No grave trouble will overtake the righteous” (Proverbs 12:21)
- “In the way of righteousness there is life, and in its pathway there is no death” (Proverbs 12:28)
We have already learned that our righteousness comes from our faith in the Lord. It all started back in the garden in Genesis 3 after Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan and ate the forbidden fruit which brought sin into the world and broke man’s relationship with God. The Lord, however, did not leave them in brokenness without hope. He made them a promise to send a Savior to crush Satan. Then He killed an innocent animal and covered Adam and Eve with its skin. The covering of Adam and Eve in the garden with the skin of an innocent animal was a picture that pointed to the Lord’s promise of the innocent Sacrifice He is sending to atone for the sins of the world, His Son Jesus Christ.
The Lord established in the beginning of this Story that it is the shedding of the blood of the innocent that atones for the guilty. Throughout the Story, the Lord calls for His people to trust in Him and His promises. Those who have faith in the Lord are deemed righteous. We saw this in the life of the first patriarch, Abraham, when the Lord appeared to him and promised him an exceeding amount of descendants – “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).
People in the Old Testament were saved the same way we are saved today, by faith in the Lord as they looked forward to the day the Lord was sending the promised Savior. That is why all throughout the Old Testament, the Lord’s people observed the sacrificial system as a picture of what was coming through the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Today, we are saved by faith in God as we look back on what Jesus did for us on the cross, trusting in His completed work for our salvation. Jesus did for us what we can’t do for ourselves. He lived a perfect life and was offered up as the final sacrifice; therefore, our righteousness does not come from our works but from His. Paul will later say:
- “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).
- “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:22).
- “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
So when Solomon says, “In the way of righteousness there is life, and in its pathway there is no death” (Proverbs 12:28), this is only possible through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The righteous, the ones who trust in Christ as their Savior, will not experience eternal death. Although this world will be a struggle and we are all guaranteed to die and leave this broken world one day, there is something far greater awaiting those in Christ.
Jesus will later say to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” And Martha will respond, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:25-27).
What is your response to Jesus’s invitation? Do you believe? The answer is the difference between life and death. Martha responded wisely.