The other day my wife, Kelly Clayton Rambo, showed me a meme that was on her Facebook page. I read it and immediately stated the corollary back to her…
“Righteousness, even if contrary to the traditions of men, is still righteousness, regardless of what everyone else thinks!”
While I have no idea who Russell M Nelson, the assumed author of the quote at left, is, I do know the quote is true. Scripture says so in multiple ways, but the most significant is,
Whatsoever thing I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add to it nor take away from it.Deut. 12:32
See? The two initial statements above, Nelson’s and mine, state in part the same truth. Let’s look at them in a little more detail.
“Sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin…” Man can’t change God’s Law by ignoring, overwriting, legislating or even erasing it. His Law is eternal and unchanging. To paraphrase God about some of His prophecies, ‘If you can make the sun stop coming up, or the sea cease to rush to shore, then you may be able to change the Torah.’ Murder is still murder, regardless of what the general populace believes, the government legalizes or how many copies of the Bible you burn. Murder (or, insert any other action condemned by God) is sin. Period.
The corollary for this is also true. Righteousness is righteousness, even if you don’t like it. Maybe people who keep the Feasts of the Lord, something He commands on multiple occasions, rankle you. Maybe it really irritates you that they choose to ignore, or even point out the verifiable pagan roots of some holidays. So? Keeping them is still righteousness, whether you like it or not. Same for Shabbat. Same for God’s everlasting dietary restrictions in Leviticus 11.
What is particularly interesting is when ‘believers’ don’t like a fellow follower of the Word because that follower actually does or believes what the Word clearly teaches. Imagine: someone studies the Word and sees that going to Jerusalem for the feasts is a commandment and begins to actually keep it while others, who may not understand or be convicted of that commandment, tear them down or separate from them. Does that action in any way undermine or change God’s commandment? No, it just exposes the sin and rebellion in the heart of the divisive.
How about a believer who separates from another because believing what the Bible says about a matter is ‘bad for public perception or public relations.’ Division and shunning is better than truth? Really? Pray tell what you think the Father’s opinion is of that course of action. I don’t see a single example of righteous men suppressing truth that ended well. In fact, the righteous in Scripture, prophets, apostles and the Messiah Himself, were willing to die for the hard truths, traditions and customs of men be damned.
Bottom-line: Sin is sin only if God says that it is sin. Righteousness is defined by Scripture, therefore, if Scripture calls something righteous, then we can’t call it otherwise. And, if God never calls something ‘unrighteous’ then we can’t either.
This really is simple stuff, yet people get wrapped around the axle. Do Bible stuff in Bible ways. Everything else is just religion and ‘religion’ is man-made rules for self-righteousness which, if based on man’s self made rules, is, by definition, sin!
So, do we instruct God in righteousness, or does He, the Lawgiver and Judge instruct us?
A very timely word for the challenging days that we are living in …Thankyou for sharing .
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Yes, indeed! A very timely word, Pete! This is exactly what our Pastor Gary Simons preaches!! We watch him every Shabbat in The Upper Room Sabbath Assembly! Thank you, & Kelly, for all you do! ❤
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Shalom Pete! I appreciate your thoughts as you search through the Word that gives us reproof, doctrine, correction and instruction in righteousness. Yes, instruction in righteousness. Hebrews 5:13 states “For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” Previously in verse 12 it says that we need one to teach us “again” the principles of the oracles of God. “Again?” When did we learn them? Heb. 6:1, 2 states that we are to go (grow) on from the principles of the doctrine of Christ to perfection. Then it lists these principles. There are seven listed there. These are established as God’s foundational instructions in righteousness. Throughout the scriptures these are repeated as YHVH tries to enlighten the eyes of our understanding. (He could do this instantly but His method is line upon line and precept on precept.)
These cycles of righteousness begin with the 7 days of creation. We again see them from a different perspective in the Exodus, the tabernacle, the feasts, Jesus life and many many other examples. I have collected about 40 scriptures where these are visible displaying YHVH’s beauty, consistency, justice, mercy, sovereignty and presence. All this leads to the 7 spirits of Elohim for we are His inheritance and we are to be filled with all the fullness of Him.
Years ago the Ruach HaKodesh gave me a melody to attach to Isaiah 32:17, 18: “And the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings and in quiet resting places.”
Working (doing) these 7 habitual exercises and experiences of our senses develops our ability to apprehend with discernment both good and evil (Heb. 5:14). This is how we grow in righteousness. This is preliminary to us entering into His rest (Heb. 4). YHVH’s perfection is not man’s definition of perfection. Neither is “peace.”
By the way “sin” is missing the mark (of the high calling in Christ) according to Strong’s Hebrew 2398 and Greek 264. We are in need of performing the work of the principles of the doctrine of Christ so that we are aiming at Elohim’s mark. The purpose that He has purposed.
Blessings! In His Presence, Elizabeth Vanier