SPEAK NOW!

We have had several deaths in our church family recently, and their absence from our presence is a heavy burden.  I realize that they no longer have pain and they no longer are suffering from a variety of illnesses and ailments.  I also realize that, as Christians, they are in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  What glorious blessings they are experiencing every moment.

David said in Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”  While we may grieve the loss of friends and family, we have to remember that we are not designed for this world … our death and transfer from this world to the next is precious in the Lord’s sight. 

But, in the here and now, God is with us and leads us as we seek out His will and as we are obedient to His direction.  David said it this way in Psalm 71:17-20:

O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.  So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.  Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?   You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.

Psalm 71:17-20

David says that God taught him from his youth, and that he is still proclaiming God’s wondrous deeds.  Even when he is old and has gray hair, David is asking God not to forsake him but, rather, to let him tell the next generation about God’s power and the wondrous deeds that He has done.

In Psalm 30, David speaks of death and the reality that one cannot praise God on this earth if they have died.

“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?”

Psalm 30:9

Of course, the answer to David’s question is “No!”  The time for praise and telling others of God’s faithfulness is NOW. 

We should make this a focal point of our lives, telling others of the goodness, mercy, and faithfulness of God.  Telling others of the wondrous love of the Lord and His sacrifice for us, while we were sinners and His enemies!  Telling others of the salvation that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ, and of the marvelous relief from the power of sin that this salvation works in us. 

Do this in such a way that it is embedded in your actions and speech.  You don’t need to give a sermon!  Fly a kite with your grandson and tell Him of the God that sends the wind at His word.    

Flying a kite, Grandfather and Grandson.

Take care of the animals and tell how God has taken care of you through the years.

Interact with the grandchildren and weave the story of your walk with the Lord into the conversation.  Let your life do the talking and then be ready to answer questions that may arise.

Have gray hair?  Are you aged?  Remember all the times that God preserved your during your youth.  Remember the times that God led you even when you had no idea where you were going.  Remember the times He protected you, aided you, healed you, loved you!  Remember the years gone by, and then thank Him for His faithfulness to you.  Do this by telling others of His great power and love, grace and mercy, and do it NOW!

Father, we get distracted by things in the world and we lose sight of what is truly important.  Help me to tell others of the mighty works that You have done in my life as I tell of Your glory and majesty, Your saving grace and mercy.  Give me boldness as I go about Your business today, so that my voice may be heard to Your glory now!

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD – RIGHTEOUSNESS

“Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.”

Psalm 116:5

Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?”

Psalm 71:19

To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. … Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice.

Daniel 9: 7, 14

The righteousness of God is one of the most frequently referenced attributes found in Scripture.  It is tied closely to God’s justice, and the word “just” is sometimes used where other translations will say “righteous” in reference to God’s character.  When the Bible speaks of God’s righteousness, it means that God’s character or nature always leads Him to do that which is right.  We know that God is holy, and righteousness is His holiness in action.

צְדָקָה

The transliteration of this Hebrew word is tsedaqah and its pronunciation is tsed·ä·kä’. This Hebrew word is translated as justice or righteousness.  Strong’s concordance says this in its definition:

  1. righteousness (in government), such as a judge, ruler or king, of the law, and of the Davidic king Messiah
  2. righteousness (of God’s attribute)
  3. righteousness (in a case or cause)
  4. righteousness, truthfulness
  5. righteousness (as ethically right)
  6. righteousness (as vindicated), justification, salvation
  7. righteous acts

δικαιοσύνη

This is the Greek word for righteousness.  The transliteration of this Greek word is dikaiosynē and its pronunciation is dē-kī-o-sü’-nā.  Strong’s concordance defines this term in the following manner:  

in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.  A) the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; B) integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting

Now, let’s consider some of the examples and scripture passages dealing with God’s righteousness.

Consider, for example, that God deals righteously with humanity.  Abraham expressed God’s righteousness in Genesis when he was speaking with God about Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

Genesis 18:25

God expresses His righteousness when He loves the things that are good and hates the things that are evil.  This attribute leads God to do only those things that are right.  Thus, because He is righteous, He must judge evil and sin cannot come into His presence. 

Righteousness is like goodness and holiness, but this attribute differs from others because it requires works to establish it.  God is good and God is holy, but He refers to Himself as righteous because He works the good as well.

This connection between works and righteousness is seen in the very first book of the Bible.  God was speaking to Abram and promising to make him a great nation, notwithstanding the fact that his wife was barren.  After delivering this promise, scripture says:

“And he [Abram] believed the LORD, and he [God] counted it to him as righteousness.” 

Genesis 15:6

A multitude of other scriptures reference the connection between our works and righteousness.  Consider these as examples:

“And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.”

Deuteronomy 6:25

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

Psalm 24:4-5

The Old Testament is not the only place where righteousness is discussed and commanded from God’s people. 

Jesus said:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Matthew 6:33 

Then Paul wrote to the Romans and said:

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 14:17

The connection between righteousness and action was expressed by James like this:

 “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness“–and he was called a friend of God. …  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

James 2:21-23, 26

While Christians are called righteous, we do not receive that commendation because of any ability to accomplish good works in ourselves.  Rather, we are considered righteous by our holy God because we reside in the righteousness of Christ.  In other words, Christ’s obedience is imputed to us and when we stand before God, God sees not us but the righteousness of His Son.

Paul expressed it like this:

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–“

Philippians 3:8-9

Righteousness.  It is an attribute of God and we are commanded to follow God’s lead in doing works of righteousness.  Not to earn our own salvation, but to praise Him for the gift of grace and mercy in the atoning work of our Savior and Lord.

Father, I praise You for Your righteousness.  Through Your Son’s sacrifice, You have imputed His righteousness to us, and have covered our sins with His atoning blood.  Thank You for Your righteousness and mercy.