“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Righteousness a tree of life

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30). “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.” (Prov. 12:28). “She [righteous wisdom] is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” (Prov. 3:18). “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” (Prov. 10:11).

Genuine righteousness, natural not pharisaical righteousness, brings hope and encouragement to all who are not fully under Satan’s bondage. To the extent that the image of God remains in the sinner’s mind, he can appreciate righteousness when it is sincere, natural, spontaneous, and pure. Even the most destitute and despotic have been struck by conviction, even in the act of murder, by the surrender and gentle forgiveness of their victim. Isn’t that what saved Saul of Tarsus?

Isn’t that what redeemed Abel each time he sacrificed a little lamb? Isn’t that what saves us by what we see in Jesus while hanging on the cross? “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” (Is. 53:7). “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Lk. 23:34). Christ gave for the human race the clearest ever depiction of morality and goodness.

As righteousness exalts our spirit, so unrighteousness lays an ax to our heart. Beholding disrespect toward parents or hearing about murder, theft, prostitution, envy, and lying, all leave us sad and sorrowing and distraught. “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” (Prov. 10:1). “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Prov. 16:24). “A good report maketh the bones fat.” (Prov. 15:30).

The effects of righteousness and sin, commandment-keeping and lawlessness, are also felt on a large scale. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov. 14:34). “When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.” (Prov. 11:10). It affects whole societies if they have completely given themselves over to sin. Then law and order disappear and there is no conscience or disturbed hearts at the sights of every form of evil, and no one is safe. But until that point is reached, a sense of sorrow remains toward acts of sin and rejoicing continues toward unselfish acts in obedience of natural law.

So long as love abides in hearts righteousness will be appreciated and loved. The two, love and right-doing, exist together. “[Charity] rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” (1Cor. 13:6). Likewise do selfishness and wrong-doing. Christ spoke an eternal principle when He said, “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24:12).

Sin is distressing; to witness it brings no peace to the soul. Calm trust turns into disturbed unrest simply to be in its presence. Lot, residing in Sodom and having to live so close to wickedness, found it all to give him constant consternation. “That righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” (2Pet. 2:8).

The world, when it is given over to universal apostasy and full possession by Satan, receives the mark of the beast while God’s people who have no guile in their mouths receive the seal of God. (Rev. 13:11-18;14:1-5). The Old Testament type of this modern world’s recipe for destruction was typified in Ezekiel 9. There we see an angel giving a mark to save some from the avenging wrath of God. But it only spares those “that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst” of the land. (Ez. 9:4). Their disposition was distress and mourning toward sin; “for the end of those things is death.” (Rom. 6:21). “He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.” (Job 28:3).

Those who feed their minds on sin eventually die in their hearts. A young man in New York City lived in an apartment building and his elderly neighbor with whom he was acquainted hadn’t seen him coming or going for weeks. So she knocked on his door but got no reply. A day or two later she knocked again and still got no reply. But she heard the TV playing just like she remembered hearing it had the other time. So she turned the doorknob and the door opened. Going in, she found her young acquaintance lying on the floor unconscious. He would have died there had his neighbor not found him. The cause of his malady and near death? The withering effects of the media, especially television, that are broadcasting filth, heartlessness, and men’s cleverness (which is pure foolishness). “The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” (Prov. 13:9). “Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember Thee in Thy ways: behold, Thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.” (Is. 64:5).

“The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.
He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.
Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast.
How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.
They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.
For with Thee is the fountain of life: in Thy light shall we see light.
O continue Thy lovingkindness unto them that know Thee; and Thy righteousness to the upright in heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.
There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.” (Ps. 36).

“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Phil. 4:7-9).

The visions of the seeming endless reign of mysterious deceit and iniquity appeared so horrific that they broke Daniel’s health. “Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.” (Dan. 7:28). “I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” (Dan. 8:27). But, contrariwise, the end of the controversy which Daniel witnessed in vision and the final display of salvation were so sweet as honey, and it came as such a relief to John that he “fell at [the angel Gabriel’s] feet to worship him.” (Rev. 19:10). Though John was wrong in his action, what we can say is that the character of Christ in the soul “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” (1Cor. 13:6).

“And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Rev. 19:4-8). “For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” (Is. 62:5).


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