I Thessalonians 5:20, 21

Do not despise expounding of scripture, but scrutinize all things. Hold fast that which is right.

Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

- I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery.


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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Righteous Are as Bold as a Lion

The wicked flee when no man pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.   Proverbs 28:1

Sometimes it is beneficial to read the text in more modern or contemporary English. Here’s one:

The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
    even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
    bold as lions.

     The wicked are not attacked “ no one’s after them,” because they are doing what their enemy wants; evil, sin. The wicked are all ready under captivity. The are right where their enemy, satan, the adversary, wants them. They are slaves to sin. “For when you were the servants / slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.” (Romans 6:20)

      But they do run away from an enemy: their conscious. They know they have transgressed the law written in their hearts, and feel the quilt.  Their guilt keeps them from godly action and is the cause of their turning tale even when no one is confronting them.

Jeremiah 31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

On the other hand, the righteous, when they transgress the law written, confess and turn from their sin, knowing that their God has forgiven their iniquity and does not remember their sin.
The righteous are not just bold and act with courage because they have not sinned, because if the say they have not sinned, they deceive themselves and make God a liar, and the truth is not in us; (I John 1:8 -10).

The righteous are bold because they know their sin has been forgiven.
Psalm 103:12: 
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

One does not have to be sinless to be used of God. Moses slew an Egyptian and hid him in the sand; (Exodus 2:12) and yet God used Moses to deliver His people out of Egypt, out of slavery. David, “a man after God’s own heart,” committed adultery (2 Sam. 11:4) and murder; (2 Sam. 12:9) and yet David is mentioned in Hebrews 11:32 as an example of faithfulness to God. Paul, before his conversion, “outraged the assembly, entering into each of the houses, dragging away men and women he delivered them into the prison. (Acts 8:3 Finck Translation) Saul/Paul was also present at the stoning of Stephen. (Acts 7:58).

God uses those who confess and turn away from their sin and understand that their sin has been forgiven.

But the heart of the matter sin goes much deeper than the confession/repentance cycle:  the men God uses are those who admit their sinfulness, their nature to sin, or as Paul explains in Romans 7:18: 
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing: for to will (to do right) is present with me, but to  perform that which is good I find not.”

The righteous understand the teaching of Romans chapters 5-8 which ends with Paul’s exclamation:

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?3 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

     With this mindset Paul was able to endure all the sufferings listed in 2 Cor. 4:8-10 and 2 Cor. 11:23-28, including fighting with beasts at Ephesus. I Cor. 1:32.
     This understanding of the truth and promises of God in relation to their sinful nature – and their sin - is what makes the righteous bold as lions.
     The temptation is all around us today more than ever. Many times we succumb to that temptation, and then fail to confess and turn from our transgression. Consequently we lose our boldness, we lose our willingness to fight the good fight of faith.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ….. he is the propitiation, the satisfaction for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole (Israelite) Society.” (I John 1:9; 1 John 2:2)

The fight we are battling in is one of faith, “against spiritual wickedness on high.” (Eph. 6:12) Believing the truth and promises of God regarding his faithfulness and promise to forgive us our sins is what will make us as bold as lions in this day of adversity. 

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.


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