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(#44) The Proverbs of Solomon 11:20-21-Is Anything “Right or Wrong?”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 11:20-21: “Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their ways are His delight. 21 Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.”

The God-drawn line between right and wrong, good and bad, righteous and unrighteous, perverse and blameless remains clear to God, despite human efforts to cloud the issue. Other proverbs that teach this include: Proverbs 15:9: “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves him who follows righteousness;” Proverbs 15:26: “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, But the words of the pure are pleasant.” There are many who, in their arrogant wickedness, seem to be asking: “Who is the LORD, that He can tell me what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong?’” When the most powerful king of his day, “Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go’” (Exodus 5:2), then 10 plagues later, and after the destruction of his kingdom, Pharaoh had found out! No matter who challenges God’s “right” to rule, no one has been left standing who did!

God has been, and still is, always delighted with “the blameless.” “Blameless” simply describes the condition of not being condemned by the rules. Under Moses’ Law, priests in the temple were (Matthew 12:5); Zacharias and Elizabeth were (Luke 1:5-6); Saul of Tarsus was (Philippians 3:4-7). Jesus’ Cross and Gospel are to let sinners who obey become “blameless” (Philippians 2:14-16; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13; 5:23). Note that “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7), this last phrase is quoted by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:19 as still being true!

A union of sinners, expressed as to “join forces” (literally, hand to hand), cannot overpower God’s line of “righteousness.” This is repeated in Proverbs 16:5: “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.” God’s line between “right and wrong” has never, and will never be, outvoted, overpowered, outlasted, or outdone! There is no strength of numbers great enough to change, alter, shrink, or erase God’s dividing line of morals!

God finds abominable everyone who teaches otherwise! Proverbs 17:15:”He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” The prophet, Isaiah, was inspired to decry: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Jesus Christ reflected this teaching in Luke 16:15: “And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’”

The only hope for anyone is to recognize that there is a difference between “good and evil,” admit it if you are found on the wrong side, repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bad, #bible-study, #blameless, #good, #perverse, #proverbs, #right, #righteousness, #unrighteousness, #wisdom, #wrong

Create in Me a Clean Heart, Oh God

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, And blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:6-10 ASV).

King David had sinned. He had sinned by taking Bathsheba after lust found conception in his heart (James 1:14-15). He added sin to sin when he had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed on the battlefield (2 Samuel 11). Then, King David lied and attempted to keep the sins concealed.

He could not, however, conceal his sins from his own mind, neither could he conceal his sins from the people, and he certainly could not hide them from God. The text of Psalm 51 shows in graphic detail how the king’s sins had made him feel foul and loathsome because that’s what sin does.

David asked God for a clean heart and a right spirit. Sin destroys any cleanness of a person’s conscience. As demonstrated in David’s life, sin stamps out a right spirit and, instead, replicates itself until the entire mind is enslaved to it.

The only cure for sin is to turn from it in repentance and, as the king did in 2 Samuel 12, admit its existence in confession.

Unless we take steps to stop it, sin will continue to create more sins, just like bacteria reproduce and infect the body until an antibiotic is found to stop the process. The antibiotic for sin is obedience to the gospel of Christ.

The king was broken by sin, yet he was forgiven. The words of a hymn tell us, “Bring Christ your broken life, so marred by sin. He will create a new, make whole again.” This was precisely what David requested: “Create in me a clean heart, oh God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

#heart, #right, #sin

God’s Standard

A few years ago when we lived in Tennessee, the state’s legislature was busy trying to develop an ethics policy offering guidelines to help lawmakers.

The difficulty the legislature had, aside from special interests and other insidious things, was when the line between right and wrong was removed, just about anything is allowed.

When the only objective standard ― the word of God ― is ignored, then people do what is right to them (Judges 17:6). Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).

Philosophers have gravitated toward utilitarianism and humanism, purely subjective ways of attempting to understand ethics. Such attempts are unreliable and doomed to failure.

What are Bible ways of insuring proper conduct? Let’s rely on the right kinds of tests.

  1. The Scripture test: what does the Bible say? (Galatians 4:30)
  2. The Influence test: how will my conduct influence others? We are always obliged to consider others (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).
  3. The Conscience test: a conscience trained in the word of God will provide an alarm alerting us to right and wrong (1 Peter 3:16).
  4. The Evangelism test: Will my conduct impair my ability to teach the lost?
  5. The Association test: Christians are to shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15). Will my conduct keep my light from shining?
  6. The Stewardship test: Will my conduct prevent me from serving God wholly and faithfully?

If every choice was easy, there would be no need for a standard. God’s standards are absolute and discernible. Why not live up to Jesus’ standard of godly living?

[With thanks to Wendell Winkler]

#right, #standard, #wrong

The Last True Evangelist

It is tempting to begin this post with a line from a movie entitled, “The Right Stuff.”

Supposedly, Astronaut Leroy Gordon Cooper was asked, “Who’s the best pilot you ever saw?” He answered, “Well, I’ve seen a lot of ’em.” But, then, he gave his stock answer: “You’re looking at him.”

But instead of stooping to a movie line to answer, I’ll say someone you may have never seen. Perhaps, you have. His name is Charles Williams. He has been preaching for the New Union Church of Christ in Manchester, Tennessee for the last 30+ years.

Working together with his elders, Charles has built what used to be a little country church into one that has between 250 and 300 in attendance each Lord’s day. He taught and baptized most of them. However, that wasn’t enough. He set his sights on Panama and did some remarkable work there, and then saw the fields ripe unto harvest in Russia and began working there. Through his efforts, and those who helped him, two churches have been planted in Russia and several have been taught the gospel and obeyed it.

All of this has come at a high price for Charles and his wife, Diane. Some years ago, she was diagnosed with a painful disease, Lupus, I believe. There’s been hardly a day she hasn’t suffered. Charles could have used his wife’s sickness as an excuse to slow down, but hasn’t.

With all he does, he’s always a moment to listen to some poor, lost soul. I know. There have been times he’s listened to me.

Hopefully, the day when he finally lays down the book he’s preached so well will not come for many, many years. Who’s the last, true evangelist I’ve ever seen? You’re looking at him: it’s Charles.

#evangelists, #right

Truth

In a very real sense, right and wrong are NOT up for discussion.

#bible, #right, #truth, #wrong

Every man, at the bottom of his heart, w…

Every man, at the bottom of his heart, wants to do right. But only he can do right who knows right; only he knows right who thinks right; only he thinks right who believes right.

Tiorio

#believe, #bottom, #heart, #know, #man, #right, #think

It often requires more courage to dare t…

It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.

Abraham Lincoln

#courage, #fear, #right, #wrong

Recent advice I gave a Christian? I don…

Recent advice I gave a Christian? I don’t give much advice to fellow Christians, cause they have God’s Word for that, however, I do give this piece of advice to myself every day: “Stay on the course – don’t sway to the left, or to the right” (Deuteronomy 5:31-33; Deuteronomy 28:13-14). In the latter reading, I’m striving daily to stay the right course, allowing the Lord to make me the “head” and not the “tail” (Deuteronomy 28:13).

#advice, #course, #head, #left, #right, #tail