Don’t be so worried about
getting out of trouble
getting into righteousness
Don’t be so worried about
getting out of trouble
getting into righteousness
APRIL 1 – Truth and Righteousness
Psalm 85:11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
This is a beautiful picture of the meeting between truth and righteousness. Truth from the earth? Who would have thought of such a thing? Let me reference something that I am a witness to. A young man who was at the least an agnostic went to college and took horticulture. As he learned about plants and the intricacies of plant growth and plant food he finally saw that this could not happen by chance. He became convinced that there is a God. I must relate that he is saved. The truth came out of the ground.
Isaiah 45:8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
There is a testimony in the creation of God that testifies to truth and salvation. We have an illustration in the New Testament of seed sown in the ground and life from that seed. Here is truth derived from the earth in the seed re-generating into life. I Corinthians 15 speaks of the body as seed and sown in the ground and will come forth a new body. Truth from the earth.
Now we have the righteousness from heaven. Directly from God. Righteousness and truth meet together. We know this righteousness is of God because Romans 1:17 speaks of the righteousness of God. Romans 1:20 speaks of the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…. This creation reveals that there is a God and reveals that truth of salvation for men. The righteousness of God comes down to meet truth and convict man of that need of renewal, that need to be born again to experience everlasting life. We are told that even the rocks would cry out as a witness to the Savior and our need.
What a wonderful witness. May we be an even greater witness for our Lord.
PARSON TO PERSON
FREEDOM AND RIGHTEOUSNESS REQUIRES VIGILANCE
As the United States of America wades deep into its third century of being a free and independent nation, it does so without the mainstream of its citizenry possessing the values and resolve that initiated it and supported it through tough, sad, hard, and happy times. That loss is fundamental, so fundamental that the nation as it was framed may not much longer endure. What happened? Think with me! Solomon wrote: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” Proverbs 6:6-11. The greatest gift a nation could hope to possess in war with another, would be to find them all asleep in the day of battle. Vigilance has its virtue, and sleep its calamity! In the spiritual warfare, the forces of evil have succeeded in rocking this nation to sleep on toxic materialism. When a majority of the population finds it more palatable to abandon its talent, mental acumen, self determination and personal freedom in favor of whoever will put the biggest check in the mailbox, the devil himself has no trouble garnering the necessary votes to rule. Even when it is known, but not fully comprehended that his rule will be enslavement. Such induced lethargy and sleep provided from the labor of others wins in the battle of preferences in an unprincipled people. This weekend, much celebration will mark yet another year to celebrate the founding of the United States of America. What a God-sent it has been to His people who for centuries yearned to be free to worship Him according to the dictates of their conscience and understanding of Holy Writ! However, judicial actions of the past half century affords much to lament in witnessing its decline. The shinning. global example of freedom and blessedness of this nation is a story of bloodshed, principle, dedication, and hard work. Let all who love this country stand fast in these things and be a part of its grand story. Let us all give ear anew to the words of the wise man who so eloquently penned, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34
Man by nature likes neither grace nor truth. He is satisfied neither with perfect justice nor perfect goodness.if John the Baptist comes in righteousness, he is hated, and men say he is too harsh, and not human, but hath a devil. If Christ comes in love, He is taunted with being a friend of sinners. So when the righteous requirements of God’s law are preached, many people are apt to turn and say, ‘Oh yes, but that is too strict; you must allow a little margin for our imperfection.’ God says, ‘Make no provision for the flesh.’ Alas! it will take far too much; but allow it nothing. When a sanctified walk, separated from the world and all its belongings is insisted on, a certain class are sure to call this legal preaching. And on the other hand, when the grace of God is preached, man’s wisdom makes it out to be toleration of evil and lawless licence.
Dr. Dr. W.P. Mackay, M.A
“And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6.
Abraham’s faith was not a passive, motionless faith, it was constantly in motion. Abraham believed in God and he believed God. When God told him to pack his bags and leave the country he knew for an unknown country, Abraham did it. He did not fight with God, He did not drag his feet or slack in any way. He packed up and headed out.
Why do we lack faith in the promises of God? The Bible has the answer. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:18, 20, 26). Had Abraham believed that God would make him a great nation and, yet, kept sitting in Haran, his inactivity would have exhibited his faith. Oh, how our churches and mission developments lack the faith of Abraham as evidenced by excessive amounts of money drawing interest in bank accounts, churchless communities and missionaries struggling to get needed funds. Large bank accounts do not demonstrate faith, rather the lack of it. Remember the Lord and the talents? (Matt. 25:14-30).
God tells us to go and to grow and yet, too often we sit idly by doing nothing but talking about what we should do, not acting in faith. Sadly, when Christ returns, He will find many church pews empty but their bank accounts full. God wants us to follow Him.To do this, we must put feet to the ground and depend on Him. He will bless our faith in Him and count it as righteous.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went (Heb. 11:8).
“I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness,” Micah 7:9.
I once heard a deacon tell a congregation, “We’re just human. We can’t help but sin.” Jesus taught His disciples, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt.5:48). God did not give us a license to sin because we are saved. Our security is in Christ, but some nominal Christians find security a loophole to continue in sin. Paul presented a formula in Romans 6 for stopping sin before it stops us. (1) Know that we died to sin with Christ on His cross. We do not have to sin if we do not want to. (2) Reckon that we have resurrected with Christ to serve God in a newness of life. (3) We must not yield our flesh to Satan as a weapon of war to use against us, but yield our bodies to God as an instrument of righteousness to bless others as we glorify His Son. We must let our lights shine so that others will see the Father in our works. That is supernatural.
Yes, we will fail, but when we do, it is not God’s fault. He has given us all the tools we need to live above sin, and that is not charismatic; that is Scripture. We have no scriptural excuse for sinning after salvation.
If sin was not pleasing to the flesh, Satan would not have any customers. Focus on the wretched consequences of sin.
Previously, we mentioned the Hebrew seḏeq (H6664), which primarily speaks of conforming to a moral, ethical standard or norm, and is often connected to the term justice. As noted there, God is not only righteous in Himself—He lives up to the perfect moral and ethical standard of Himself—but He also produces righteousness in those whom He saves through Christ.
The question arises, however, how exactly does God produce this righteousness? Coupled with God’s grace is faith. In the NT, in fact, these two words appear together in twelve verses (most notably, Rom_5:2 and Eph_2:8-9). In contrast, the OT contains a unique word for faith, the Hebrew ’emûnāh (H530, ), often also translated truth. This word comes from the root ’āman (H539), a verb whose core concept is “certainty,” which is graphically underscored in Heb_11:1, which, of course, was written to Christian Jews. That verse declares that the foundation, the very essence of faith is an absolute confidence that while we can’t see something, we still know that it is real and that it is ours. Pictures in the OT include the certainty of a building’s “pillars” (2Ki_18:16), building a “sure” house (1Sa_2:35), and driving “a nail in a sure place” (Isa_22:23).
Spiritually, then, ’āman is the believing and receiving of something as being true and sure, as Abram “believed in the LORD; and [God] counted it to him for righteousness” (Gen_15:6; cf. Rom_4:3-5; Rom_4:9; Gal_3:6-14). A key OT text is Hab_2:4—“The just shall live by his faith [’emûnāh]”—the background of which is the conceit and arrogance of the Babylonians. “Lifted up” is ‘āpal (H6075), appearing only here in the OT and literally meaning “to swell”; the Babylonians were, indeed, swollen, puffed up in their pride and self-sufficiency. In stark contrast, God declares that the righteous person will live by faith. So pivotal is this principle that it is quoted three times in the NT. By quoting this text in Rom_1:17, Paul says salvation is by faith, in Gal_3:11 he emphasizes that that salvation is not by works, and in Heb_10:38 he adds that we now live by faith in all things. We will continue these thoughts tomorrow.
Scriptures for Study: What picture of certainty do we see in 2Sa_4:4 (“nurse” is derived from ’āman). What is the object of certainty in Psa_19:7 (“sure” is derived from ’āman)?
Clothing makes the man. May we be clothed in the righteousness of the Lord and not found in our own tattered and torn righteousness.
Addressing the ever-increasing propensity for redefining salvation and the gospel nowadays, no teaching is more prevalent today (or throughout history) than the one that insists that salvation is either wholly, or at least partly, the result of human merit or works. There is perhaps no more graphic verse in Scripture that speaks to the contrary, however, than Isa_64:6 : “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Rags is begeḏ (H899), which is the most common OT word for clothing and by itself refers simply to any kind of garment, as in its first appearance in Gen_24:53, where a servant brought jewels and “raiment” to Rebekah. When coupled with a qualifying word, however, it is used to refer to specific types of garments, from something as common as a widow’s clothing (Gen_38:14) to the specialized, holy garments of Aaron (Exo_28:2-4).
Our text, therefore, adds a very unique qualifying word to begeḏ. (We do not wish to offend any reader’s sensitivities, so we will say this as delicately as possible.) Filthy is beged (H5708), which appears only here in the OT and refers to a woman’s menstrual period, and therefore, the cloth that accompanies it when coupled with begeḏ. Does this not clearly demonstrate what all our good works are, what any “righteous deed” we might perform really is? All of them are as filthy and repulsive as begeḏ.
No truth is clearer in Scripture than that salvation is apart from any merit or works of men. Scripture repeatedly declares man’s uncleanness and depravity (Job_15:14-16; Job_25:4; Job_40:4; Psa_51:5; Rom_1:21-32; Rom_7:18; Rom_7:24; Eph_2:1-3) and that works cannot save (Job_9:20; Rom_3:20; Rom_3:28; Rom_4:5; Rom_9:11; Rom_9:16; Rom_9:30; Rom_11:6; Gal_2:16; Gal_3:16-21; Eph_2:8-9).
Sadly, every false religion, cult, and human philosophy teaches that enough works will result in salvation, “renewal,” “enlightenment,” or whatever concept they choose as their goal. Even some today who call themselves evangelicals are diluting salvation by insisting that works have a part in salvation. James makes it clear that works are the result of salvation (Jas_2:14-26), but it is grace (April 6, 7) alone through faith (April 9) alone that is the cause. Let us rejoice this day in God’s power, for that alone can save us.
Scriptures for Study: Read the verses cited above about depravity and the insufficiency of works, and then rejoice in God’s power (and willingness) to save.
Psa_119:1 also stands out as a verse that speaks of being blessed: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way.” The Hebrew here for undefiled is tāmiym (H8549), an adjective that speaks of being “blameless, complete, and without blemish.”
In more than half its OT occurrences, tāmiym describes an animal to be sacrificed to the Lord, whether a ram, a bull, or a lamb, since such animals were required to be “without blemish” (e.g., Exo_29:1; Lev_4:3; Lev_14:10). It is also used to refer to time, as in a “whole” day (Jos_10:13), a “complete” seven Sabbaths (i.e., “weeks,” Lev_23:15), and a “full” year (Lev_25:30). When used in a moral sense, as it is here, tāmiym speaks of truth, integrity, virtue, uprightness, and righteousness. It appears, for example in Psa_18:23, where the psalmist again declares, “I was also upright before [God], and I kept myself from mine iniquity.” Solomon echoes this principle in Pro_11:5 : “The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.” (See also Jos_24:14, “sincerity”, and Pro_2:21, “perfect”).
Added to this word is the word way (derek, February 23), once again a marked-out pattern of life. True bliss and contentment, then, come when our pattern of life is characterized by unblemished behavior. How ironic (and tragic) that the world looks for happiness in the exact opposite, pursuing it in lawlessness and just living their own way, but they will never find it there. Every young person should be challenged with this principle. They might think they will be happy by doing what they want, but they will not. Hopefully, they will not have to find out the hard way that true contentment, bliss, meaning, purpose, and peace will come by a life of unblemished behavior, a lifestyle that is characterized by purity. Charles Spurgeon put it well when he wrote in his classic The Treasury of David: “Doubtless, the more complete our sanctification the more intense our blessedness.” In other words, and let us mark this down: The holier we live, the more content we will be.
Scriptures for Study: Who is spoken of as being undefiled (“perfect”) in Gen_6:9; Gen_17:1? In Psa_15:1-5, what other traits characterize those who will abide with God (“uprightly” is tāmiym)?
“But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification,” Romans 4:24, 25.
Justification is the doctrine that God pardons, accepts and declares a sinner to be just (innocent) on the basis of Christ’s righteousness (Rom. 3:24-26; 4:25; 5:15-21).
Many years ago, a lawyer was contacted by a prisoner named Jim who maintained his innocence in the conviction of aggravated robbery. After careful examination of the evidence, the lawyer took the case back to the courts and the judgment was overturned. The court apologized to Jim for his false imprisonment, declared that all records be expunged of his conviction and a small monetary compensation was given to him. When the judge gave Jim time to speak to the court, he announced, “After all these years I am a free man. I have received justification.” Had the lawyer not acted on Jim’s behalf, he would have never been justified.
Jesus is the supreme lawyer. Every time one trusts Christ by faith as his Savior, Jesus goes before the great Judge (His Father) and declares that he is free from the penalty of sin. This is accomplished through the justification of Jesus’ death on the cross and completed by the resurrection.
Jesus died, as the sacrifice for sin for sinners, and He rose so that believers are justified or accepted by God (1 Peter 1:3, 21).