The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
God is not lukewarm, neither about sin nor righteousness. He does not look upon us with indifference; he does not find sin humorous, nor does he regard righteousness mildly. He hates sin and will judge in his wrath the sinner; he loves the righteous, preparing for them a place of glory. Therefore pursue righteousness!
This proverb does not mean by pursuing righteousness an attitude of merely wanting to do right, but of actually doing what is right. But if we are captive to sin, of what hope do we have? It then becomes a message of despair, for “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:21-24a).
Yet there was one who pursued righteousness perfectly and who was declared beloved of God. And so, Romans continues: “Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Thanks be that “now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…[For we] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 7:21-25; 3:21-25)
Give thanks that Christ’s righteousness covers us, but there is more to the story, for now we have been made new creations who actually can pursue righteousness. We may not be able to pursue perfectly, but we may and must pursue it nevertheless. As Romans 6:10-14 explain:
“For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
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