A Cherished Legacy

By Irvin Himmel

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him (Prov. 20:7).

A just man, contrary to pictures painted by artists, does not go about with a halo over his head. He is a man who lives righteously and piously. The Bible describes Noah as a just man – one who was perfect or upright in his generations and one who walked with God (Gen. 6:9). Joseph, the husband of Mary, was a just man (Matt. 1:19). Simeon was just and devout (Lk. 2:25). Joseph of Arimathea, who buried the body of Jesus, was a good and just man (Lk. 23:50). Cornelius the centurion was a just man (Acts 10:22).

Characteristics of a Just Man

The following are some of the ways in which a just or righteous man shows that he is just:

(1) By generosity. Cornelius was charitable. He “gave much alms to the people” (Acts 10:2). Joseph of Arimathea was generous. He furnished the tomb for the burial of Jes s; it was a new sepulchre. In contrast to the greedy, “the righteous giveth and spareth not” (Prov. 21:26). “The righteous considereth the cause of the poor” (Prov. 29:7).

(2) By Mercy. “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous showeth mercy, and giveth” (Psa. 37:21). A just man demonstrates pity and compassion on the unfortunate.

(3) By speech. This just man is careful about what he says. He weighs his words. “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things” (Prov. 15:28).

(4) By truthfulness. The just man is honest. He refrains from deceit. “A righteous man hateth lying” (Prov. 13:5), and he knows that “lying lips’ befit only a wicked fool (Prov. 17:7).

(5) By wisdom. The just man increases in learning (Prov. 9:9). Consequently, “The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom” (Prov. 10:31).

(6) By justice. The just man has a deep sense of fairness. “It is a joy to the just to do judgment” (Prov. 19:15).

(7) By thankfulness. The just man is humbly grateful to God. “Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence” (Psa. 140:13).

The Walk of the Just

There are many ways in which people choose to walk. The following are some of them:

(1) In pleasure. Some live to serve “divers lusts and pleasures” (Tit. 3:3). They are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4). A fun time is all they think about. The just man does not walk in pleasure.

(2) In profit. A lot of people have dollar signs in their eyes. They are money mad. They walk in the quest for material gain. Their love is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10). This is not the walk of the just.

(3) In pride. Some are lifted up with vanity. They walk in self-esteem, ostentation, and conceit. They seem not to realize that “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Jas. 4:6). The just man does not walk in pride.

(4) In pollution. There are people who wallow in the mire of drunkenness and uncleanness. They are filthy before God. To use the language of Isaiah 28:8, they are “full of vomit and filthiness.” This is not the walk of the just.

(5) In poverty. Some walk in poverty because of their slothfulness. The Bible says, “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty” (Prov. 20:13). Some walk in poverty due to wasteful spending. “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty” (Prov. 23:21). Others may be in poverty because of circumstances beyond their control.

(6) In integrity. This is the walk chosen by the just man. To walk in integrity is to follow a course that is upright before God. The life is spiritually well-rounded. No part is lacking for the completion of the whole. There is sincerity, singleness of purpose, and soundness of heart.

Blessing to His Children

The children of a just man are blessed by his walking in integrity. His example of righteous conduct is worth more than lands and houses; it is a far better heritage than money, stocks, and bonds.

The father who influences his offspring by his life of integrity leaves a legacy of highest value. How blessed is the son whose father was a just man. Whatever may have been the father’s faults and shortcomings, if he walked in the integrity of a sincere and pure heart, he has bequeathed a gift that a sensible son can cherish all his days.

Thank God for just men who walk in integrity! They leave their children a cherished legacy.

Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 21, p. 660
November 1, 1990