Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's my standard?

I have for some time found myself in a discouragement so hidden I could not even identify it.  I could only tell that something seemed amiss.  Only my daily time in the Word has helped, as has my faith in the unswerving God.  If He loves me – no matter the trial – I can stand.  Yet my standing was without knowledge, without understanding.  And in that trial I could see a complete leaning upon Him.  Proverbs 13:6 unlocked for me a door of understanding: Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,
But wickedness overthrows the sinner.

As I read this verse, my thoughts turned to the wicked age in which I live and how righteousness is defined.  People today frequently, without having a moral compass to follow, use the government as a standard.  Most would recognize it as an imperfect standard, but accepted it for the most part, holding to a private ethic where the legal definition offends their sensibilities.  This all works fine for the most part.  One need not go to God for that standard – for that would also betray their great lack before His perfect moral standard.  In addition, one’s arguments are easily defended, if the government is standing behind you – so he need not wrestle about the intellectual oversights this ethic holds….
Until the law changes…

This house of cards quickly falls down as the legal definitions change from time to time and place to place.  In fact, today there are so many ambiguities in the government ethic that one will find himself a lawbreaker, no matter where he turns. 
I personally have struggled with this, not to say that I look to the government for my ethical standard – but that as a Christian – who does not want to pour shame upon my Lord’s head, and who seeks to follow the laws as my country had defined them, I found myself at odds more and more frequently, to the point that I despaired of even avoiding such entanglements. I am reminded of a quote from Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged, “One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt.”  Nevertheless the bottom line is that I am guilty – regardless of the right or wrongness of the law and I must pay.
And then the Lord had me read todays’ verse:  Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

And freedom is given.  Even though I seek to obey this world’s law, I had forgotten the cardinal standard of righteousness is not legality, but the moral truth of this most Holy God I serve.  And though found wanting before Him, there is an escape – the grace of God through Jesus Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross for me.   And I have freedom. 
Righteousness (true moral righteousness of Christ) really does guard him whose way (my way does not, but Christ’s life and death were substituted for me) is blameless.  Praise the Lord!

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