PROVERB PRACTICALS righteousness for the asking, proverbs 12:28 audio
Proverbs 12:28, In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
Now inferred in this proverb is a contrast between the way of righteousness and the way of unrighteousness.
By saying in the way of righteousness is life and in its pathway there is no death the opposite of these must then be present in the way of unrighteousness.
Therefore in the way of unrighteousness is not life and in its pathway there is death.
God does not complicate things and therefore we are presented with two ways of life. Itís as simple as that.
Jesus said in Matt 12:30, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
So there is no middle ground, for you are either righteous or you are unrighteous and it all depends upon your standing with Christ.
Now we have been well taught that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God for there is none righteous, no not one.
We know that in me dwelleth no good thing.
So what man calls righteous has no standing with God for He says according to his standard of righteousness that we have none.
Therefore righteousness is an attribute belonging to God alone and cannot be attained by any good work or effort of man.
The Apostle Paul attained righteousness not by the law but as he said in:
Phil. 3:9, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
So all righteousness is based upon Christ and can only be had by faith in what he has done for you.
Any righteousness you have that is acceptable to God is imputed to you because you have bowed the knee to Christ and received him as your Savior from sin.
Only because of this transaction are we seen as righteous in the eyes of God and are now prepared to live in the presence of a holy, pure, separated, loving God, who, through Christ, is our righteousness.
Righteousness then in not defined by righteous acts.
Righteousness, simply put, is right standing with God.
God is holy and he says to us Be ye holy for I am holy and that occurs by right standing with God.
God defines what right standing means and He has said it occurs only through faith and dependence upon His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now with this right standing righteous acts will come but they are only righteous because of this relationship with God through Christ.
In Proverbs 21:4 we are told: An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
Why is plowing wicked?
It is wicked because it is not done in Christ.
It is not done for the glory of God, it is not done by one who is in a righteous standing with God.
Our actions do not determine Godís judgment as to our righteousness.
For right actions only come when there is a right standing with God.
God is clear to us that no matter what we do as a natural man is not acceptable to Him.
Isaiah 64:6 is boldly clear about this when He says about the natural manís righteousness: 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.
Satan has the world convinced that righteous acts make one righteous but this is the Lie to keep men and women, boys and girls from the gift of righteousness that only comes by the grace of God.
And that gift only comes from God to those who receive his Son for with His Son comes His Sonís righteousness.
As we are told in Rom. 5:17-18, For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
So righteous acts can only follow being clothed in the righteousness of another, the righteousness of Christ for with that righteousness comes a new heart, a heart that is equipped to do righteous acts in Godís stead.
For we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
Good works apart from Christ are not good works as we have seen in the plowing of the wicked proverb.
But this is not religionís position.
Religion only deals with the outward.
Religion only deals with that which can be seen.
Religion is what the Pharisees preached for their goal was to have men conform to certain acceptable and well defined behavior.
With this they were satisfied.
And with this many parents are satisfied concerning their children.
Behave in a certain fashion and I will be happy.
It is a kind of thinking that produces hypocrites for what is presented on the outside is not that which exists on the inside.
For on the inside God tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
This is a hard truth to grasp but this is Godís view of us for God does know the heart and he reveals this to us that we may know our true condition before Him and cry out for help.
But the Pharisees refused this assessment of Jeremiah and by their insistence to conform to their behavioral norms they produced hypocrites.
And Jesus, who is the Truth, denounced them for this position in:
Matthew 23:25-28, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
But Christianity continues to be filled with this idea of righteousness by display of the outward.
If we truly believe that righteousness comes from the person of Jesus Christ why do we think to promote righteousness by legislation?
Sometimes we are so concerned about making laws in order for people to conform outwardly to certain standards but Christ has given us a mission and that mission concerns the inward.
That mission concerns imputed righteousness, not the self-righteousness brought about by conformance to some standard of behavior promoted by law.
It is so easy to put on the robes of the Pharisees and make great efforts to legislate changes in social mores and customs and behaviors instead of doing what Jesus told us to do; that is the preaching of the Gospel.
For it is the Gospel of Christ to which Paul gave his life and said in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The only thing men can affect is the outward for what man can know the heart?
And that know means knowing enough to change the heart.
We are very good at applying makeup to manís problems, band aids to manís sicknesses, but God gets to the root of manís problem which is his heart to do evil.
And therefore as Godís agent it is a waste of time to engage in the makeup business, the cover up business, when we should be fully engaged in the Gospel preaching business and reaching men and women for Godís salvation with provision of a new heart.
The lie of the world is that a man can be righteous by efforts of his own but God does not measure man against a standard of man.
Godís righteousness and His alone is the standard by which all are to be measured.
There is no such thing as salvation apart from Godís righteousness.
And Godís righteousness is a righteousness without sin for it comes from Jesus Christ who is without sin.
In coming to our aid he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, he was wounded for out transgression, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
And it is a healing that the world, with all its modern medicine, can never match for it is a healing of the soul.
It is the giving of the righteousness of God to the unrighteousness.
It is pure grace on Godís part for we have absolutely nothing to return.
This grace gives the redeemed the same standing before God the Father as His Son Jesus Christ.
We are received on the basis of Christís righteousness which we now enjoy.
We can rest in this and not have a Christian walk thinking to impress God with our good works which if unchecked places us in a walk of self-righteousness.
We are to submit ourselves to the righteousness of God, never trusting in our own goodness and in doing so lessening Christís atonement for us.
Colossians 2:6 says, As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.
Our walk is to be in Christ Jesus not our works.
We are to glorify Christ, not our works.
We are to remember that our righteousness comes only from Christ, and none from our works.
For to lean toward our works as what keeps us in good standing with God will always bring a feeling of unworthiness for our works will never measure up to what Christ has done for us.
Satan is looking for those who trust in their own strength for their own strength is never enough.
We are to walk in the strength of Christ, a strength that will never fail.
That walk of the righteous man is so well described in the first Psalm.
Psalm 1, Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
So it says the delight of the righteous is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night.
The law of the Lord describes Godís entire word and in it the righteous man finds his delight.
This world is full of delights, delights for the eye, for the ear, for the taste, for the smell, and for the touch.
These delights are temporal but the delight of the righteous man is eternal for Godís word is eternal.
Family life can be a delight, working and playing life can also be a delight but the emphasis for the righteous man is finding delight in Godís word and that will be found by meditating upon it both day and night.
The righteous man ponders or thinks about the Word of God.
He reads the word of course, but he meditates upon what he read.
English Bishop of the 1600ís, Joseph Hall, wrote:
It is not hasty reading, but seriously meditating upon holy and heavenly truths that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee's touching on the flowers that gathers the honey, but her abiding for a time upon them, and drawing out the sweet. It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most on divine truth, that will prove the choicest, wisest, strongest Christian.
So the righteous man thinks, he contemplates, he considers, he ponders.
The righteous man or woman puts himself in a place to hear the word of God.
He forsakes not the assembling together with believers who exhort one another from the word of God.
The righteous man takes to heart Paulís admonition to let Christís mind be in him.
And to have Christís mind is to think like Christ and that thinking can only come from meditating upon Godís word.
The righteous man is careful to fill his mind with the word of God by studying it to show himself approved of God.
He desires to grow in the word by righty dividing the word, comparing scripture with scripture.
And Psalm 1 tells of the destiny of the righteous man as our proverb also tell of his destiny for his destiny is life, for in the pathway thereof is no death.
The righteous man shall be like a tree:
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
Abiding in Christ is abiding in life.
Wearing the righteous robes of Christ always brings one in the pathway whereof there is no death.