Category Archives: Just

The Way of Righteousness is Life

Biblical truth often conflicts with how we see people act in the world around us. One such example is the perception that discipline is only punishment. The Proverbs highlights that those who accept and embrace discipline will learn and become wiser. Having the right attitude makes a big difference. Of course it is hard for anyone to ask for discipline, but in fact in many cases they may be better off if they receive it and it helps them learn and avoid trouble later.

Proverbs 12

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

1Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid.

2A good man will obtain favor from the LORD,
But He will condemn a man who devises evil.

3A man will not be established by wickedness,
But the root of the righteous will not be moved.

4An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.

5The thoughts of the righteous are just,
But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

6The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.

7The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
But the house of the righteous will stand.

8A man will be praised according to his insight,
But one of perverse mind will be despised.

9Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant
Than he who honors himself and lacks bread.

10A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal,
But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

11He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.

12The wicked man desires the booty of evil men,
But the root of the righteous yields fruit.

13An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
But the righteous will escape from trouble.

14A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words,
And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.

15The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

16A fool’s anger is known at once,
But a prudent man conceals dishonor.

17He who speaks truth tells what is right,
But a false witness, deceit.

18There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.

19Truthful lips will be established forever,
But a lying tongue is only for a moment.

20Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy.

21No harm befalls the righteous,
But the wicked are filled with trouble.

22Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight.

23A prudent man conceals knowledge,
But the heart of fools proclaims folly.

24The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the slack hand will be put to forced labor.

25Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
But a good word makes it glad.

26The righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
But the way of the wicked leads them astray.

27A lazy man does not roast his prey,
But the precious possession of a man is diligence.

28In the way of righteousness is life,
And in its pathway there is no death.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Guidance for the Church

Looking inside the letters that Paul wrote can be fascinating. There is a mix of eternal truths we should try to apply and personal situations which really may not have as much applicability broadly.

1 Timothy 5:17-22

     17The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 19Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. 21I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. 22Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.

      23No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

      24The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. 25Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.

Clearly when we review this scripture, we can see elements which are still broadly relevant. When there is an elder with good reputation and a teacher or preacher of the word, let us not accept an accusation without two or three witnesses. This is just good sense to apply to anyone who has a good reputation. Sometimes people make false accusations or accuse them of something that is not true, even if the accuser believes it.  A good name, or reputation, is to be valued and considered.

He makes reference to rebuking publicly those who continue to sin. This implies that they continue to sin… after you have confronted them privately. Making the rebuke public for those who refuse to repent is important. We don’t do it much today and are the worse off for it. It is intended to discourage others from sinning. Today it seems we are always too concerned about offending the sinner, rather than about offending YHWH by accepting the sin in our midst. Publicly addressing it helps to highlight the sin to others in the congregation also. Failing to confront the sin also sends a clear message to the people that it is acceptable.

Do not lay hands on anyone too hastily. Before we pray over and bless someone as a congregation, let us take time to know them and use discernment. We are to be selective. If we bless and encourage someone who goes off and does bad things, we have some accountability for it, according to Paul.

Then there is a sudden switch over to talk to Timothy about something very personal and specific to him. He has a stomach condition and Paul recommends a little wine. This does not appear to be generally and broadly applicable, but rather specific to Timothy. Paul is not saying all of us need to drink some wine because all of us have stomach issues or are frequently sick.

The last few verses are very interesting as well. It is certainly true that some people are obviously sinners and everyone knows it. For others, they may appear in life to be good and righteous, but their sins may be discovered after they have died. Not everyone that appears righteous is so.

Ultimately though our sins may be concealed for awhile to man, they are never concealed before the Lord.

I encourage you to prayerfully reflect on this passage and consider how it applies to your life today. Think specifically about changes in attitude or behavior that you should make.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Resisting Evil People And Evil Deeds Is Crucial For A Righteous Society To Survive

There is right and wrong and it applies to everyone. YHWH sets the standard, not people who change their opinions over time and with the turn of generations. YHWH is eternal and He is just and holy as much as He is loving. Refusing to accept evil and those who commit it can help prevent generations of people from moving farther and farther away from YHWH and how He tells us to live. The more we accept sin and the more we normalize behavior that is wrong in the Lord’s eyes… the farther we get from living as He intended. It is obvious in watching our culture deteriorate over the generations… more and more schools and government and media try to ignore or reject YHWH and His ways and embrace worldly sin not only as acceptable, but honorable or preferable.  His people must humble themselves and pray and mourn for our nation and call our nation to repent and turn back to YHWH.  We must try to influence our culture to stop accepting or praising what is evil in the Lord’s sight. Do not be passive in accepting evil. Vote, encourage others, pray. Let the voice of YHWH’s people be heard.

Deuteronomy 17

Administration of Justice

      1“You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing to the LORD your God.

      2“If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the LORD your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, by transgressing His covenant, 3and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, 4and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly. Behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death. 6“On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7“The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

      8“If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the LORD your God chooses. 9“So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case. 10“You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the LORD chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you. 11“According to the terms of the law which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. 12“The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the LORD your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. 13“Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again.

      14“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ 15you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. 16“Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ 17“He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.

      18“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19“It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

I encourage each of you to read through today’s scripture again. The specific examples which are highlighted have significance. Dwell on each one. Do not think, “we have no kings, so that is irrelevant”, for we have many who make a living and career out of political office and ruling over the people without ever living amongst them. They do so for their own wealth and power, not for some charitable act of service.  These examples are meaningful and they challenge us to ask… “Do I accept what the world says is right or what YHWH says is right?”

Resisting evil people and evil deeds is crucial for a righteous society to survive.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Render That Which Is Just And Fair

Whether the relationship is master and servant or boss and employee… or really any situation in which someone has power or position over someone else… we are called treat them justly. Do not let earthly position or power lead us to sin by treating others unjustly.

Colossians 4:1

Fellow Workers

1Masters, render unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

Remember that all of us also have a Master, and we rejoice and hope in His just treatment of us.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.