Living in Righteousness

“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 (NIV)

We live in an age where moral confusion has become a disease that has seeped into our culture like a poison. Abandoning absolute anGoogle+Photod universal moral values, we have adopted the position that morality is subjective and solely dependent on what the individual feels. Some might take this as a sign of progress; that such an attitude heralds an age of peace and happiness. But such a peace comes at a dire price. In the name of toleration and a wish to make everybody content, we have rationalized inherently evil practices as being acceptable, turned a blind eye to injustice, and have restrained ourselves from condemning both wickedness itself and the practice of allowing it to persist. If human society continues to degrade itself in this manner, we will silence the voice of truth, righteousness, and justice; instead becoming mindless slaves of our own depravity.

Humanity is meant to live under a set of guidelines. Without them, we have nothing to hold back our carnal nature. God, in His Word, set in place His righteous and pure standards for proper human conduct. These standards are not there to oppress us, but to protect us from the ravages of falling prey to our sinful nature. Yet if we try to obey God’s Laws, we will fail because His standards are too lofty for humans to attain through any action of our own. This is why in His love and grace, He sent His Son to Earth to die for us on the cross; so that by His blood and His glorious resurrection sin’s hold over us is broken and we can enjoy a restored relationship with God. When we allow Christ to work within our hearts, we will know exactly what is right and wrong for His righteousness will be worked out through us. Only through Christ’s indwelling in our hearts and our constant obedience to His voice will we be able to live according to God’s standards. Through Him we will be able to stand confidently for truth, righteousness, and justice; never forgetting that all are deserving of God’s love and grace and that all can achieve salvation from their depravity if they allow Christ to work in their lives.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

What Will We Reap?

“A man reaps what he sows.” -Galatians 6:7b (NIV)

Some have taken the Biblical idea of reaping what we sow as equivalent to the Hindu concept of karma. However, there is one fundamental difference. Karma is tied to the idea of reincarnation; that when we die we are reborn into another life on Earth. Under the idea of karma, the actions of our previous lives determine the consequences in our present lives. Not only is this unfair, because essentially we have to bear the consequences of wrong actions that were committed in a previous life that we cannot even recollect, but it also becomes hard to attach responsibility. There is no way to determine whether or not the consequences we face in the present, good or bad, are a result of actions committed by ourselves in the present, or by a former self in our past lives. The system of karma can also give license to someone to indulge in sin in the present, with the nominal acceptance that they will pay it off in their next lives. Thus, it can be easy to dodge responsibility for our present actions.

But the Bible is very clear. According to Hebrews 9:27 man is destined to die once and stand before God’s judgment seat. The consequences that we face in the present are not attributed to actions, pure and wicked, committed in a supposed previous life, but those committed in the here and now. Responsibility for our actions is squarely placed on what we have done in the single, present life that God has given us and we will pay for those actions in this life as well. It is paramount therefore that we be careful in our actions. If we sow the seeds of sin, folly, and wickedness in our lives, do not be surprised when the damaging consequences of our actions come knocking at our door. God allows us to endure the ramifications of sin now so that we would reconcile ourselves to Him. In doing so, we realize our need to pursue righteousness only by walking closely with Him and relying on His constant help and grace. Conversely, God rewards those who sow virtue and purity. We can take great comfort in the fact that He will bless the faithful who have been obedient to His Word and continue to persevere in living in love and integrity. When we walk closely with Christ, our eyes will be opened to what we are sowing and, with His wisdom and guidance, we will be able to reap a harvest of righteousness even in times where turmoil surrounds our lives.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Beat the Pressure

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’” -1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)

I was once told that nobody will punish you for doing what is right. However, as I became older and my awareness of history and the world around me grew, I realized that sometimes this is not true. In Germany during the Second World War, people who showed any compassion to the plight of their Jewish neighbors, and gave of themselves to shelter them during their persecution, were brutally punished by the Nazi regime. Today under tyrannical governments that have no respect for human life, there are those who suffer because of their struggle to defend fundamental human rights. Even in societies where justice and integrity are officially respected and promoted, people in power often bully or pressure others into doing that which is unethical and immoral. Under such intimidation it is easy to silence ourselves in proclaiming what is right, and though every fiber of our being wants to take a stand against such wickedness, we fail to do so because of our fear.

When we are called to be bearers of Christ’s righteousness we are not guaranteed an easy task. What we are promised is that we will be mocked and persecuted for His name. But why? What drives people to be so opposed to Christ and those who proclaim Him by their words and actions? It is fear. When we allow the Spirit of Christ to invade our hearts and allow His righteousness to be made manifest in our lives, it acts as a light dispelling the darkness. God’s holy standards expose the wickedness of men and naturally, those who bend to their innate depravity do not like this. They will do all they can to hide from the light and silence the voice of truth. However, when we have identified ourselves with Christ and seek to follow Him, we will not fear the light for it protects and vindicates those who dwell within it. Therefore we will not be afraid of allowing the righteousness of Christ to shine forth from our lives knowing that His truth will always triumph. Our obedience to Christ will ultimately serve towards the restoration of all who see Him through us; even those who stand against us.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.