“When the righteous do well, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there is joy.”
A society flourishes when righteousness prevails. Righteousness and wickedness cannot coexist.
In what ways do righteous people bless a society?
Jesus told his disciples their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. What did he mean?
Righteousness is right doing according to the standard of God’s word (Psalm 119:160; 145:17). The Pharisees thought they were righteous —they were not— they thought they were righteous because of their ritual observance of the ceremonial law of Moses. They were, however, certainly unrighteous. The righteousness that exceeds that Jesus describes is one based on obedience to God’s word.
Today, many people don’t understand that obedience is what God wants. It is what he has always wanted. Righteousness is not “infused” in people. It is what they are because of obedience.
“(I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.) For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.”
Conversion defines our relationship to sin (separation) and to righteousness (decision to live right).
What is involved in presenting our members as slaves to righteousness?
Asking what the Bible means by the phrase “God is not a respecter of persons” shows at least a couple of things:
Read other translations of verses that state our studied principle, such as Acts 10:34 (which in the King James Version says, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”), and you’ll find,
The word translated as “respecter” (in Acts 10:34) comes from the Greek word “Prosopoleptes” which means, “an acceptor of persons” or “one who discriminates.” In the other places of scripture where the same basic phrase is recorded but a different specific Greek word is used, the meaning of the various Greek words are, for all practical purposes, the same (maybe think of it like the English words great, fine, good and well and their relation). But regardless, when one considers the definition of the Greek word under consideration in Acts 10:34 and then combines that with the way several translators use the word based on the context, it soon becomes rather clear what the phrase “no respecter of persons” means…it means that God has the same standard for every person – and that standard is his to decide and ours to live by accordingly.
Our position of authority upon the Earth, our fame, our heritage, our race, our height, our hair or eye-color, our wealth, our sex, our education (amongst many other etceteras)…none of these gain anything with God in and of themselves. Some of these things may impress others and buy us some favoritism upon this Earth, but not with God. Some of these things bring different responsibilities in God’s eyes, but none of these things mean that God requires something of us that he will ignore in others when it comes to his righteousness.
“Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.” (2 Chronicles 19:7)
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)
After 45-plus years of typing and keyboarding according to the proper system taught back then in the public schools, I learned that this too has a right-handed bias. I had always had a bit of problem reaching the number 6 with the index finger of the right hand. Recently, I tried it — against all True and Proper Doctrine of Typing — with my left hand. Problem solved!
But could I adapt easily to reaching the 6 with my left hand, after all these years of forcing the right? I found I could, after just a short time. Continue reading
I had the opportunity to have a small, but good, spiritual conversation with a stranger today. How so? It was all because of the clothes that I was wearing!
I had already started the conversation with small talk while I was waiting on my family. I was alone. He was alone. So I decided to try to be friendly. He decided to be the same in return.
After the small talk, the conversation led to the man saying, “I noticed the way you are dressed. Did you go to church today?” (He had also “been to church” by the way.) From there we were able to have a pleasant conversation about the Bible; and because of that conversation I was able to invite him to the church’s services. After my family and I left the restaurant I thought that it was neat that I got to talk about the Bible simply because of what my clothes said to him.
Now my purpose with this post isn’t to say that clothes make the person, that clothes determine the value of one’s soul, or that clothes are even close to being the first thing that we should allow to make a spiritual impression on us; far from it (James 2:1-4; Luke 20:46; Matthew 23:5). My purpose is simply this – no matter what language we speak, people understand what our clothes say.
Clothing is often worn to make an impression on others or because it’s made an impression on us…that’s why certain name-brand tags can double, triple, quadruple, etc. the price of a shirt or a pair of pants. So clothing talks, no arguments or doubt about it. Not only does the kind of clothes we wear talk, but so does the way we wear them. On top of that, the amount of clothing we wear says that much more!
Many Christians, both men and women alike, will be tempted this summer to wear “clothing” that is not fitting of God’s calling. If fig-leaf bikini’s didn’t work in Eden (Genesis 3:7, 21), then no bikini, regardless of the material that’s used, will work outside of Eden’s garden. God uses water to save us through Jesus (1 Peter 3:21), but God doesn’t use water to change wrong to right. The temptation to “look good” and the call to be dressed in and dressed with righteous isn’t the same thing! (Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 1:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:12; 1 Peter 2:24)
If we know that “dressing up” says something to the general public (and we know that it does), then by default we should know what the lack of clothing also says (and we know that it does whether we want to admit it or not). So don’t forget – when it comes to modesty, whether we think about it or not, when we’re in the public, people are ease dropping on what our clothes, or the lack thereof, are spiritually saying to them all of the time.
“I will be full of joy in the Lord, my soul will be glad in my God; for he has put on me the clothing of salvation, covering me with the robe of righteousness, as the husband puts on a fair head-dress, and the bride makes herself beautiful with jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)
One thing that I’ve noticed over the last several weeks, despite the media’s best effort to hide it, during the whole Kentucky clerk denial of marriage licenses’ to homosexual couples situation, is the vitriol hate and anger that has come from the side of those who support homosexual marriages. If you, like myself, have watched any talk shows on news stations with leanings that are left of the center line then you have heard one guest after another (several of which were practicing homosexuals) openly make fun of, ridicule and speak hatefully about Kim Davis. Behind the scenes, several sources have even revealed the threatening phone calls and other forms of communication that the Davis legal team received.
For people who are constantly trying to tell Christians how to practice their faith (with the whole “judge not lest you be judged” misquotation while at the same time being completely ignorant of the “judge with righteous judgment” teaching), all of this just doesn’t sound very “gay” to me! Or does it?
Reality is, since the beginning of the homosexual movement in America, we have been told that the homosexual community just wants to be tolerated and left alone. That has been their supposed doctrine. But now that the political pendulum has swung the other way the real colors of the rainbow are showing. The movement isn’t about being tolerated. The movement is about forcing others to accept, and even praise, their lifestyle…a lifestyle that was “legalized” by activist judges and not the law of the constitution or the vast majority of the states! What was whispered in the closet is now starting to be shouted on the rooftops.
For anyone who thinks that homosexuality is an innocent and harmless sin, think again. Homosexuality is like any other sin – it is aggressive and it despises righteousness in any form because righteousness will always remind its practitioners of its error no matter how many human judges wink at it; and additionally, it needs the grace of God that teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts so we may live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age (Titus 2:12).
Even though they have their gay marriages, to me it’s no surprise that homosexuals still aren’t happy with anyone who reminds them about the true definition of marriage. Truth is, they won’t be happy until every sense of a “traditional” marriage is changed and the speech that counters their “freedom” is taken away.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19)