|Volume 24 Number 8 August 2022
The Way of the Righteous
Gary C. Hampton
Every Christian ought to model – to wear – righteousness. Going into evil is a process. The singer of Israel wrote, “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1). The righteous man will not even walk by a questionable place (Romans 13:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:22). If the righteous happens to walk by evil, he certainly should neither stand nor loiter around it (1 Corinthians 15:33). Staying around evil will tempt one to sit down and become a part of it (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-27).
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17 NKJV)
The righteous man will turn to God and be blessed. He will read and study God’s law day and night (Psalm 1:2). His love for God’s Word will be apparent to all who know him (Psalm 119:97-100, 105).
The Almighty will bless the man who holds His Word in such high regard. He will be like a tree that has taken roots by the water (Psalm 1:3), which will, in turn, result in the production of fruit. Jesus said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8).
God will also cause the righteous man to be like a tree whose leaves always are green. They never wither from drought or fall off. In Psalm 34:6-8, the man blessed by God is described as a poor man whom the Lord heard. “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”
The Father will cause the righteous man to be prosperous in whatever works he undertakes. Jesus said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19:29).
We all need to immerse ourselves in God’s Word. It will show us the way to live a righteous life and to be blessed by God now and in eternity.
Christ and the Word
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16 ESV). Scripture commends itself to us as authoritative, as being the very word of God, of Christ via the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). The apostle Paul emphasized in Colossians 3:16 that the Word must dwell in us (imperative tense), a necessity defined as such by God. This is so, as there is no other work of literature like it among us; it alone is inspired, breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is the only book that offers us an abundant life today in the midst of trials as well as blessings. It alone offers us eternal life. The Word is integral to Christ Himself, as He is described as being the Word incarnate (John 1:1, 14). So, to better understand the role it should play in our lives, how does Scripture describe Jesus’ use of it? Surely if the Son of God made use of the Word, then it should mean something to us and to our walk with God.
Jesus believed Scripture to be given by God and was therefore authoritative. In the Sermon of the Mount, He pointed out, “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 5:18-19).
Jesus pointed out to the Jews of His day that Scripture is about Him. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). The Word focuses on Christ because of Who He is and what He came to accomplish. “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30). This is the basis by which He fulfilled the will of God to offer us salvation, as it is the will of God.
Jesus used Scripture to overcome the temptations of Satan. When tempted by the devil, three times He responded, “It is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). The use of the term “written” carries the idea of “to stand written.” As Isaiah wrote, and later quoted by the apostle Peter, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:24-25). Nothing else can make this promise.
If Scripture, the Word of God, was fundamental to Jesus fulfilling God’s purpose, then how can we deny it a role in our lives, to accomplish God’s purpose for us? It is not outdated, irrelevant, or boring but essential for knowing God, for finding life in the Son and for living for eternity. How tragic that it is readily available and yet easily ignored by so many. Spend time in the Bible, because as one person said, it is great for your soul. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).