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“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other...Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.” Psalm 85:10, 13
Have you ever noticed that God is very practical? We like to talk of “spiritual” things like faith, love, peace. Of course, these things are important, but it is hard to measure such intangible things. We can easily deceive ourselves until we get into something tangible and measurable. It is interesting to note that the Bible mentions faith and its related words 341 times, love 448 times, peace 451 times, righteous 514 times, and holy 719 times. Where to you think God is putting His emphasis? God wants right living or holiness in His people and on the earth.
We tend to equate holiness with external things - hair style, clothes, jewelry, language, etc. [It is amazing how women seem to take the brunt of legalistic “righteousness.”] Holiness is total obedience to the Word of God. None of us measures up. If we accept the perfect work of Christ on the Cross we stand before God in the righteousness of Christ Jesus, not our own. If we reject Jesus Christ we will stand before God in our own holiness which must fall short of God's standard. We will then be sentenced to Hell.
Standing in the holiness of Christ; however, does not let us “off the
hook.” If we truly understand what God has done for us we will want to
live pure and righteous lives before Him. We are responsible to walk in
obedience in everything. This means
a] studying the Word of God to see what He really requires [the Biblical Law course helps in this] and
b] set aside our own opinions and desires if they are in conflict with God’s ways.
For example, our modern societies are built on theft and most people - including Christians - want it that way. If we truly want to live righteously there are many things we have to be willing to “unlearn” and many new thoughts and ideas we have to be willing to accept.
Everyone seems to desire peace - whether personally or nationally. However, righteousness and peace kiss each other. In other words, they go together. They are intimately linked. We will never have true or lasting peace until individually and/or nationally we are willing to live holy before God. Peace is a by-product of true holiness.
Most western Christians, I fear, are not willing to do this in the everyday, practical ways God requires. Yes, they will go to church, read their Bible, and pray. They may pay their tithes [although many stumble at that]. They may fight evils such as abortion, but are they willing to control their anger, envy, bitterness, and unforgiveness? Are they willing to sacrifice to keep their children out of the humanist churches [i.e. public schools]? Do they know or care what a truly Christian society would look like? What powers and limits would a Christian police force have? What would Christian criminal and civil law look like [actually God doesn’t make a distinction between the two]? Living righteously means throwing out all the humanist assumptions we take for granted. It means being willing to examine - in the light of Scripture - things we have simply accepted as “the way things are.”
Unless God intervenes in our nations we are moving toward a new “dark ages.” Then, when Christians get so sick of having their own way that they are willing to pay any price to walk in God’s ways, we will have a new Reformation. Do we want the moving of God? Righteousness goes before Him and puts us in His way. He won’t bypass us, but He will reach out His hand and together we will walk into a new future.