Saturday, July 2, 2011

Proverbs 21:21 commentary

21 ¶ He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

To follow after is to diligently pursue, to fervently try to catch up with, as is found in Genesis 44:4 and Exodus 14:4. For the Christian, though, we are not to make the mistake the Jews of old made as explained in Romans 9:30-33. We are to pursue these things not by our own will, not by our own effort, by but faith.

Christians have a curious inconsistency about their belief. They might realize that they can’t save themselves, that it is a total work of God, predicated upon their belief. Salvation is a gift from God (Romans 6:23). They might realize that their faith is not something they conjured up by their own will and some mythical inherent goodness of man. It, too, is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). But, rarely, rarely in this age do Christians understand that all their efforts at righteousness and mercy will fail if they do not permit God to apply His word to their lives (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26).

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Truly, when a person pursues and follows after righteousness and mercy he will end up with Christ. Is there mercy in Islam? Not, if you ask all the women who have been murdered in what is called “honor killings” by their own families. Is there righteousness in the religion of American Secular Humanism? Not if you were able to ask the millions of helpless infants sacrificed on the altar of abortion. Is there righteousness and mercy even among those who believe what we believe, in churches called Independent Fundamentalist Baptist? Not if you ask all of the young men and women who have suffered sexual abuse and violent, physical abuse in the group homes and by the pastors and youth pastors, Sunday school teachers and bus drivers of people whose names you can find on the internet on websites devoted to survivors of Baptist fundamentalist churches.

There is only righteousness and mercy in Christ. And if you follow after Him you will find eternal life, righteousness, and honor from God. Don’t expect honor from the world. Islam won’t honor you because you believe in the threefold person of God; soul, body, and spirit, God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit they will call you an idolater worshipping many gods. Don’t expect to get honor from American Secular Humanism. If your heartfelt desire is to glorify Jesus Christ in everything you do and in the way you live and the words you speak they will call you unsophisticated and superstitious as they turn the public schools of the nation into drug dens and brothels. Don’t expect honor from your own fundamentalist brethren. If you have the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22 coming from the Holy Spirit through your spirit and lead by example rather than by brute force and emotional manipulation they will call you weak and compromisers and run by your women and children.

Christ gave you life, eternal life and abundant life, when you followed after His mercy and His righteousness and God will honor you with blessings the world cannot even understand as you seek fellowship with the one who created you each and every day of your earthly life.

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