“Keep My Commandments And Live”

Persistent righteousness comes from obeying the Lord. Righteousness is primarily God’s gift credited by faith. Yet, if it does not yield fruit in its time, it has become stagnant. It demands works like speaking the truth, demonstrating love, service to the Lord and His people. And, its demand is realized only in obedience. It is an attribute God admires the most, since it carries His holiness. In fact, it is His first free gift for salvation to those who believed in Him. By it He makes them holy to Him. The measure of righteousness in a believer determines the measure of his or her confidence in Him. The more obedient they are to Him, the persistent their righteousness and the greater yield they bring Him. It is very true that without such righteousness it is impossible for them to see themselves as important to Him. It gives the right to be true before Him, the Almighty. One man exercised that right. For Zophar said to Job, “For you have said, ‘my teaching is pure, and I am innocent in your eyes’” (Job 11:4).

Each one is important to God. Still, knowing this is not enough, for in believing it righteousness pours forth. Believing is a jigsaw with a certain quality. It listens to God time after time so that it could delight in obeying Him. In this the commandments and the will of God are upheld. Hence, Job was able to consider himself important to God and exercised the right to be true before Him. When we see his testament from God, it says he was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. These qualities are fruit of obedience that denote persistent righteousness. Anyone bearing it cannot speak contrary to God’s wisdom and is innocent. The greatest advantage in it is that we can truthfully examine ourselves. In other words, we do not lie to ourselves. Job never lied to himself, even when he was suffering. This was the difference between him and his friends who tried to counsel him. For this reason, his teaching was pure and is innocent. Besides, he was a man who feared the consequences of disobedience. This was evident when he sent for his children and consecrated them by offering burnt offerings, because they feasted often. He was afraid they might have sinned against God.

Assuredly, we can say persistent righteousness prevails. Its defining moment is exercising the right to be true before the Almighty. We can always have the attitude of the wise man. “Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye” (Prov. 7:2). Often it has been said and we believe that God has called us to serve Him. Our service requires essentials. They are giving others our instructions and teachings born of the wisdom of God. What we essentially accomplish by this is showing the way of righteousness by the prowess God has given us. We present the expanse of truth. We lead people to the areas of truth they never investigated. We give them the choice to be convinced of God’s intent for them. Those that make the right choice will know that life is meaningful with commandments; and that our teachings from wisdom have brought them good. In essence, this is our ultimate goal. Corresponding to this, God gives to each a purpose and with it the necessary things. Thus, there are godly people that parent, lead, teach and do various services. Realizing this helps us believe each one is important to Him.

Persistent righteousness bears fruit. You see, when we are relating to others that which are born of God’s wisdom, it has to bear fruit. Or else, Jesus would have failed exceptionally. But it was not at all the case. For the Scripture testifies, “Many more believed because of His word” (John 4:41). His word is God’s wisdom. The wisdom of God does not see failure, because it is able to judge the unbelieving and reward the believing. There is only one reason that our persistent righteousness bears fruit. It is that we are God’s children in Christ. He has made Christ His wisdom for us and sent His Spirit so that we fully utilize His wisdom. So, if you are a parent, you will rear godly children; if leader, make godly decisions; if teacher, bring forth godly people and if serving in any other way, generate godly atmosphere. Listen, it was Jesus’ nature to sustain persistent righteousness. Because of it, He accomplished the greatest task there is, i.e. redemption to mankind with His blood. And if He is of any example to us, we ought to possess His nature.

Then it leads me to another quality of persistent righteousness, and that is sacrifice. It reflects God’s sacrifice to gift righteousness to us. It is of heavenly passion and thus, leaves us with a passion for God. It has the knack of reflecting the truth of Jesus. God too deliberates to create ways for it. We willingly accept them. No matter who we are, sacrifice that reflects the heavenly cause is a must. Who as a parent lets his or her children, or a leader and teacher allow the work God has given them to waste away? It is those who are without persistent righteousness. The basic form of sacrifice it holds is time. Yes, we sacrifice our time for the purpose of God. It is a practice of the godly. And Paul too did not abstain from it. So He prayed saying, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16).

You see, persistent righteousness desires the spiritual well-being of others, even that they prosper spiritually in more ways than few. In Paul’s wisdom the reason for it is simple. If the inner man is strengthened with power through God’s Spirit, there is no fear, failure or loss. Hence, it is not a surprise he did not pray for riches other than the spiritual. He knew with all his experience that to be strengthened in the inner man is the door for all things from God; purposely, the mind and heart will subject to God’s will. He would not have made such petition to God if he himself had not known it. So, persistent righteousness firstly has fantastic reward. It is God continually bestowing His riches on us. It is proof that what God is, i.e. righteous, that we are also in the world. This emboldens us to be true before Him, even as Job.

Remember at the start it was said that persistent righteousness comes from obeying the Lord. Well, this is obedience: “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8). No questions asked. To be precise, obedience does not question God’s purpose, will or ways to us. Instead, it delights in them. Hence, Abraham just went out, though he did not know where he was going. It was not as if he did not care, but he had no need to worry; for the light of his obedience is faith, which had God’s promise of inheritance. See, when we get the picture of what God is intending in and for us, there is no reason to disobey Him. Rather, a heart for persistent righteousness. Persistent righteousness has become rare among Christians. O, how important it is! I remember my mother laying great emphasis to it in her life. It had a great impact on me. It was not so much of her words, but the way she lived for Christ. She sacrificed her time praying for us and for the purpose God gave her. She taught and gave us commands with the wisdom of God. If there’s one thing that captures her life for God, it is this: obey God and He will take care of the rest. This motto in her, which she voiced, gave her persistent righteousness. It gave her the right to be true before the Almighty. She prevailed in a hostile environment.

Lack of obedience is the reason for not acquiring persistent righteousness. It turns people timid. They choose to cave in and seek ways of escape or happiness from within the world. What a pity! If their way is true, then Abraham was not all that wise to obey God, especially when he did not know where he was going. But see where his obedience stood him. Through him came the nation of Israel and the seed, i.e. Christ. Disobedience will have bad consequences. For the Word of God foresees it. “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!’” (Rev. 8:13).

If we entertain disobedience, we will suffer along with those that reject Christ. Our salvation God gifted us will not be annulled. Yet, we would live a stagnant life for God. This means we miss the riches of His glory and the strengthening of our inner man. Furthermore, we become a confusion to all those who obey God. The world employs us as an example to equate themselves with the children of God. We bring discredit to God and His kingdom. God being saddened with us will not prevent the consequences that befall. Conversely, persistent righteousness always pays. It is better to go through harm for it than to receive harm for lacking it. It always brings success and good consequences. Jesus knew it. So, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).

Posted in 2013, Archives.