Proverbs & Our Union With Christ

30 May

Consider these verses from Proverbs:

“What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire ofthe righteous will be granted.”
-Prov. 10:24

“The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.”
-Prov. 10:28

“Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.”
-Prov. 11:21

“The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.”
-Prov. 12:5

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
-Prov. 15:28

“The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of therighteous.”
-Prov. 15:29

Each of these verses has something to say to–or about–the righteous.  These verses speak of the benefits of the righteous: their desires are granted, they will be delivered, the Lord hears their prayers.  These verses also speak to the ways of the righteous: they are joyful, just, and discerning.

The question is: Who is righteous?  It is easy for us to read into these verses a sense of moralistic duty.  I must make myself righteous.  And if we’re successful, we will reap the benefits of which Solomon writes in Proverbs.  So we jump on the treadmill of self-improvement and try to find a way to be righteous.  But there is one problem.  Scripture tells us that “there is none who does good, not even one (Ps. 14:3)” and “none is righteous. (Rom. 3:10)”

This leads us to another way we read into these verses: with utter despair.  I’ll never be righteous.  I cannot (and do not) do the things mentioned here, and I’ll never experience the blessings that come as a result.  This, then, leads to a life of defeat, apathy, and laziness with regard to God’s word to the righteous.

We need to view these statements in light of our union with Christ.  He was the only righteous one; the only one who ever kept the law and perfectly did the will of God.  Through Spirit wrought faith, we are united to Him, and thus, declared righteous by God.  So all of the statements regarding the blessing of the righteous are already true for us.  In Christ, we experience and receive God’s blessing; His  deliverance; and He hears our prayers.  In light of these truths, and their consequent blessings, we are enabled to pursue the ways of the righteous.  Being united to Christ enables us to pursue justice, and living justly.  Union with Christ motivates us to ponder our words and answers, showing discretion in each and every circumstance.  And having been united to Christ, we are led to continually trust in Christ, and depend on the Father to accomplish all that He has promised to do.  In Him we hope and find our joy.

Provebs presents us with another one of those “already, but not yet” situations in which these wise sayings and their promises are already true for us as God’s children, but not yet fully realized.  Though we have been declared righteous in Christ, we are still being made righteous by the working of God in us, and our working out of His work in us.  So, in light of your union with Christ, I leave you with this exhortation from the Apostle Paul, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. (Eph. 4:1)”

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