Who Is A Righteous Man?

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye me be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:15 KJV).

 

During the Great Awakening of the 18th century, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, believed that justifying grace is only the door to salvation, and sanctification is the house.  The key to the spiritual revival in England and America, in his opinion, was for small groups of same gender people to come together in bands, and the meetings were known as band meetings.  The meetings were structured to allow for mutual accountability, where spiritual friends confessed sin without fear of condemnation.  The goal was not to offer judgement but rather to offer a time and place to pursue holiness together.  Members were given tickets after each meeting, which were necessary to attend church on Sunday.  The participants were regularly asked five questions of one another:

5 Questions to Ask During a Band Meeting
1.  How is it with your soul?

2.  What are your struggles and successes?

3.  How might the Spirit and Scriptures be speaking in your life?

4.  Do you have any sin that you want to confess?

5.  Are there any secrets or hidden things that you would like to share?

Confession was/is a key component of the band meeting.  James 5:16 links the power of confession to the strength of prayer.  A person that has confessed sin as an outward manifestation of an inner faith, is righteous in the Eyes of our Lord.   If we believe in God, then we certainty have faith in Him.   Genesis 15:1-6 describes how God viewed Abram, later to be known as Father Abraham, due to Abram’s belief in Him.

“After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:  ’Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.’  But Abram said, ‘Sovereign Lord, what can You give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?’  And Abram said, ‘You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.’  Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.’  He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.’ Then He said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’  Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness(emphasis added).

The Apostle Paul was directed by the Spirit to mention the connections between Abram/Abraham’s faith and righteousness in his letter to the church in Galatia.  So also Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Galatians 3:6, emphasis added).”  The true children of Father Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.

Our faith, not your actions, will determine our righteousness.  Our actions are a natural manifestation of your faith.   Hebrews 11, called the “Hall of Faith” or “Faith Hall of fame,” is a list of men and women who immense faith in God was manifested in tremendous action for the Kingdom.   These were deeply flawed people (cheaters, murders, prostitutes, etc.) but they had faith in God and that faith was the basis for their actions that helped advance God’s Kingdom in earth.  Also, their faith was the basis for their righteousness.   

I pray that you join me to step out in faith, confess our sins, and use our righteousness to draw ourselves closer to Jesus and to point others toward Him.  To God be the glory!

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for the blessing of righteousness that is available to use through our faith in You.  Help us to claim the promise of James 5:16 to use our righteousness to pray for ourselves and our family, neighbors, friends, enemies, those marginalized in society, those imprisoned by physical or mental walls, pastors, our political leaders, and all in need of Your favor of provision, protection, and pardon.  Lord, hear our prayer.  Amen and amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and a Certified Lay Speaker with the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is a Board Member for Gulf South Men, an Action Team member for The Kingdom Group, and a Board Member for the Lagniappe Country Walk to Emmaus.  Todd is a Past President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and remains active in this and many other local, regional, and international ministries.  Todd is the proud father of Emma and Kyle and resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Additionally, he’s the author of the inspiring book “Fathering A Special Needs Child.” Todd also enjoys filling the pulpit for pastors to share the Good News of our Lord and Savior.

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