Thursday, May 19, 2011

Proverbs 20:9 commentary

9 ¶ Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

The Bible makes it clear from the first that no one is exempt from sin. Solomon admits in 1 Kings 8:46 that there is no man who doesn’t sin.

But, what is sin? What does this word mean that we bandy about so carelessly?

1John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

So, there is no person that doesn’t sin and sin is a transgression of the law. This is a clear reference to the Law given to Moses by God which you can read in the second through fifth books of the Bible. It is more than simply the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.

There are hundreds of moral, ritual, and dietary laws that were given to the Hebrews to set them apart from the pagan world around them that engaged in everything from incest to bestiality to human sacrifice.

God makes it clear that if you break one of those laws you’ve broken them all. There are no gradations of sin.

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

What is the point of the Law for us today, Jew and Gentile? Paul said;

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

We know we can’t help but do wrong. Even at our best we will sin.

Isaiah 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.

The Proverb asks the rhetorical question, who can say that they have made their heart clean, that they have made themselves pure from their sin? Well, of course, the answer is no one. The law is set up that you can’t help but break it at some point if you’re human. Some Christians believe they are still bound by the Law and disregard what the Holy Spirit said through Paul. They don’t do the major wrongs like murder or stealing and they say “I am without sin”. Well, dumbing down the rules never really changed anything, did it? Is it not blasphemous for you to take it on yourself to rewrite God’s standard of right and wrong so you can fit in there somewhere without Christ?

We depend on Christ’s righteousness, not our own, to get to heaven, to live in a blessed state for eternity rather than sharing the common fate of all mankind in his natural state, a lake of unquenchable fire.

Philippians 3:9 ¶ And be found in him, 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:

Sin brings death, whether or not you choose to call something you’ve done sin or a wee little mistake or error in judgment.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We were all in bondage to sin and death at one time.

Ephesians 2:1 ¶ And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan, see 2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 2:14), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we are saved. It sounds simple but if it was that simple then everyone would simply trust Him. Obviously, Satan, your flesh, and the world don’t want to let go of you. But, here are the simple statements that show us what it means to be saved. The Philippian jailer was told;

Acts 16: 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

And Paul, in his letter to the Roman church said under the inspiration of God;

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

I have to wonder how many Christians think they are saving themselves by following some set of rules and regulations, which while short of the fullness of the Law given to Moses, fit the dictates of some church organization or a Pastor? You have to wonder, from experience, how many Christians put this impossible weight of behavior and works on new believers, crushing their faith and destroying their joy, burning them out by keeping them busy running around in circles for a God that these Christians have created who is not the God of the Bible.

You are not a tenth century BC Hebrew. Quit thinking that you have to perform like one was supposed to but few, if any ever did. And don’t put that burden, that weight on a new convert. Is the evidence of your salvation, the fruit of God’s working in you, something from the Law? Here, again, and I repeat it again and again because people aren’t listening, is the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

If your life doesn’t have any consistent evidence of these then you have a problem with your relationship with Christ. If your life is more defined by anger, wrath, paranoia, bigotry, implacability, fear, and hatred of all things and people that don’t look like and act like you then you need to get down on your knees and plead with God for forgiveness and to straighten you out.

Remember, though, you can’t save yourself. There is nothing you can do to make yourself acceptable to God except to trust in His righteousness to save you, to believe in, to believe on, and to trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, on the cross at Calvary, in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and in His righteousness, not your own.

Jesus Himself said,

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Don’t let anyone try to put you back under the Law or add one word to the requirement for belief in and trust in Christ for salvation. But, don’t for a second believe that you can say you’ve made your heart clean and that you are pure from your sin without Christ simply because you’re sure you are a pretty good person.

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