Tag Archives: righteousness

Purity & Holiness

God desires righteousness and blamelessness from us. Therefore, purity would describe the level of attainment of that state whatever the thing we want to be pure in. Think of it this way: in nature, something nearly pure (like fine gold or diamonds for instance) has little if anything else mixed with it. The purer, the more desirable the object is.

We, in covenant with our God through the Christ, must be set apart from worldly behavior (be holy, by definition). It’s not a mere suggestion, but a mandate. Those who practice immorality and sinful behavior will perish; the righteous who pursue purity and holiness through discipleship and application will live and enjoy their reward.

Be an example through purity, which may come at least in part through understanding of the Word of God.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. —1Timothy 4:12-13.

As followers of Jesus, we should be ‘dead’ to immorality and impurity.

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. —Colossians 5:3-8 (see also Ephesians 5:19-5).

Be pure, and therefore set apart from wicked behavior.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. —2Corinthians 7:1.

So, just how do we learn and apply God’s ways in the pursuit of holiness?

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. —Philippians 4:8.

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. —2Peter 1:5-7.

Speaking of self-control in application of what we learn: Just as our belief in Jesus must result in obedience to be effective, our desire for purity must be put into action through self-control of the body and its desires. When we didn’t know better, it was easy to become slaves to lusts of our body. Paul had a lot to say about this in Romans Chapter 6 (definitely worth a read!). Other excellent Scriptures that highlight the importance of self-control in the pursuit of holiness include the following.

  • Exercise self-control to avoid being disqualified from the race and prize Paul equates to righteousness and eternal life. 1Corinthians 9:25-27.
  • Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • We should always ask whether what we’ll use our body for will be pleasing to God. 1Corinthians 6:18-20.
  • We must no longer be enslaved by our body and its lusts but the other way around. Romans 6:6 & 12-13.

Purity and holiness are possible when we learn God’s ways and apply them consistently. Like the body builder in pursuit of an exceptional physique, application can be difficult and painful at first; however, the rewards far outweigh the pain of achieving them.

What’s your pursuit?

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

The “A-B-C’s” of Repentance and Forgiveness

True repentance, which is a ‘change in behavior brought about by a change of heart’, is absolutely necessary for forgiveness. And, forgiveness is indeed necessary for salvation from God’s judgment to come. Therefore, as the Bible points out so well, repentance is necessary for salvation.

Is repentance a saying, “I’m sorry”? No (see 2Corinthians 7:9-10)! This is why we tend to repeat sinful behavior. Yes, we must be sorrowful as a natural component of the ‘change of heart’ necessary for repentance. But, we don’t truly repent unless we’ve taken action to remove whatever is causing us to stumble (Jesus discussed this in Matthew 5:29-30).

To reiterate, doing something that’s sinful can be remediated (and forgiven) through repentance – acknowledging that what we’ve done (or intend to do) is opposite of God’s ways and then taking action to ensure the act (or intended act) won’t be repeated. Do this and God will be more than willing to forgive the offense or intention to commit it.

“Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.” —Ezekiel 18:31-32.

“and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” —Luke 24:46-47.

 “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;” —Acts 3:17-19.

“You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.” —Acts 8:21-22.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1John 1:9.

On a related note, repeating sinful actions constitutes sinful behavior – something God has no tolerance for. In fact, we’re taught that He will leave us to our own rebellious behavior and execute wrath at His judgment if we continue to practice sin.

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” —Acts 17:30-31.

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS —Romans 2:5-6.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. —Galatians 5:19-21. (See also Ephesians 5:5-6)

So, ‘feel’ sorry, but turn that sorrow into action in the same way that ‘belief’ must result in action – obedience – to our God and Christ. Repent, obey, and live!

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

The “A-B-C’s” of Sin and Righteousness

What is righteousness? What is sin? What do the two have to do with each other?

~ Sin Defined ~

Make no mistake – there’ll be a reckoning at the end of this current age, or era. (Please refer to my book Finding the End of the World for details regarding the end of our world as we know it!) It’ll come as judgment and consequence both to those who were and are obedient to God’s instructions and those who’ve been disobedient. This disobedience, rebellion, or sin must be dealt with one way or another – either through a true change of heart that leads to a change of behavior (repentance) and resulting forgiveness, or by judgment and sentencing.

Many things are often loosely defined as sin because they contradict manmade doctrine even if there’s no apparent rebellion against God’s ways. Some core behaviors should be called sin but aren’t. Understanding what sin really is and how it often manifests itself will be crucial to avoiding it and keeping our eyes on the prize of eternal life with God and His Christ. Here are the primary forms of sin as identified by the Strong’s Concordance for the Old and New Testaments (‘H’ = Hebrew Old Testament; ‘G’ = Greek New Testament):

Hebrew or Greek Word for Sin Primary Meaning Strong’s #
khat-aw-aw’ offense Η2401
khaw-taw’ to miss Η2398
hamartia offense G266
hamartanō missing the mark G264

For the most part, sin is defined as an offense or ‘missing the mark’. But missing what mark? Offending whom? In this author’s opinion, sin is missing the standard (mark) set by God and is therefore offensive to Him. Wherever there’s sinful behavior, there’ll be something contrary to God’s ways or commandments. Let’s look at these standards and commandments in more detail in order to gain a better understanding of what we’re to strive for.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you’ll obey my commandments.” (cf. John 14:15 & 23). This implies that not keeping His commandments will reflect a lack of love, or rebellious behavior – sin. What were these commandments? That we love God appropriately and man charitably (cf. Matthew 22:35-40). He tells us that the Law [of Moses] and teachings of the prophets are summed up in those two statements. This makes sense since nearly everything we can think of to do is related to our treatment of God and man. Here’s an interesting and related tidbit: the first five of the Ten Commandments relate to our treatment of, and obedience to, God; the last five dictate some basic guidelines for how we should treat our fellow man. Everything we do – or want to do – should be measured against those two categories. Want to know whether a particular action (whether intended or carried out) is a sin? Just consider how it will affect God or fellow human beings. Is it really that cut and dry?

Scripture clearly teaches that there’s a distinction between an isolated rebellion against God (sinful action that we need to repent of and be forgiven for) and practicing sinful behavior. While the former can be resolved along the journey toward righteousness, the latter will bring clear separation from God and invoke judgment! Practicing sinful behavior, which certainly implies a lack of repentance, will, as I’ve said several times, result in God’s wrath at the end-of-the-age judgment to come (see 1Corininthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21, for instance).

We know that sin is rebellion against God and His ways. Sin without repentance and the practice of sin will lead to separation from God and ultimate judgment. But how do we gain an understanding of God’s ways – the standards by which we should compare all we think and do? We can only come to know the mind of God and His instructions through two ways: (1) Communication with Him through the Spirit that resides in us once we’ve truly believed in the Christ and His incredible gift of salvation; (2) knowledge of God’s instructions and ways through exposure to the messages and testimonies found in the Bible.

 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” —John 14:26.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. —Romans 10:17.

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:14-17.

~ Righteousness Defined ~

“ . . . for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:14-17.

By Strong’s definition, righteousness is ‘equity of character or action; by implication innocent and holy – just and right; right – justice and its execution’ (see the Strong’s definitions and related verses below).

Essentially, we’re righteous if we’re living right and are just in our actions. This is the opposite of sinful behavior. Sin and righteousness are incompatible – we can’t be both at the same time!

Want to be righteous? Learn God’s ways (again, see 2Timothy 3:14-17 and others that tell us to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures of the Torah – Old Testament – and letters and Gospel accounts of the New Testament to accomplish this).

The righteous will be rewarded; the sinful will be punished. Sheep or goat – which will you be in the last days?

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!